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Jameis has to carry over the momentum

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Jameis Winston has done some great things this preseason, but he has to find a way to pick up where he left off a month from now.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Jameis Winston has had a phenomenal preseason. No turnovers, three touchdowns, and his lowest quarterback rating was 99.4 in the game against Miami. He’s looked sharp, he’s avoided mistakes, and he’s hit receivers in stride.

But now, he waits.

The Buccaneers wait.

The fans wait.

Jameis won’t see another snap until he takes the field in Chicago on September 30. He won’t practice for three weeks once the final preseason game is in the books. The biggest question is, can he carry this momentum he’s built over into the fourth week of the NFL season without practicing?

It won’t be easy, but we can hope.

The biggest thing to watch for is the way Winston has protected the football. Although he will make something from nothing and have jaw dropping plays, he also has those boneheaded moments where you wished he had just thrown the ball away. Koetter spoke to the media about Winston’s ability to protect the football thus far;

“He’s done a nice job of it. I don’t think of our top three quarterbacks we have any interceptions in the preseason. I think you can just tell, in Jameis’ case, how you can really see him moving in the pocket keeping two hands on the ball. When does either step up or break contain to run, he’s just doing a good job of protecting it. Even on that wilder play there in Tennessee when he got spun around, he still at least had two hands on the ball. That easily could have come out because the [defender] did take a swipe at it. As I mentioned earlier, I just think Jameis had done everything that has been asked of him under the situation as we are facing it right now.”

The Bucs would love to see Jameis make that leap in his career. To be more self-aware and protect the football. When he does, the offense has all the pieces and makings of one of the most prolific and dangerous in all of football.

They just can’t afford for Winston to regress back to his knack for forcing throws that aren’t there in order to try to make something happen.