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Favre on Winston: There is tremendous upside

The Hall of Fame quarterback touches on the future of the Buccaneers’ signal caller.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Many in and around football have tried to compare Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston to some of football’s greatest to ever play.

One of them, is Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

People have often compared Winston to Favre and his gunslinger mentality throwing the football. But that mentality often got Favre in trouble.

In 2005, Favre threw 29 interceptions. On his show on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday, Favre was asked by his co-host Bruce Murray about comparing all those interceptions to Winston’s 23 interceptions this season.

“I think with Jameis, there is such a huge upside. We dont get to see much, but i just think that there is a tremendous upside and you are willing to work through that,” Favre said. “I think [Bruce Arians] will do a wonderful job. He is super productive aside from the interceptions. I’m sure Bruce is scratching his head, he knows Jameis doesn’t mean to do it and not doing it on purpose so he’s trying to find that happy medium.

“Maybe Bruce is saying ‘maybe call plays that are less likely to expose him to an interception’ and i know that may sound crazy to the average fan but like if Mike Holmgren — if it were third-and-12 for example, I’m in Year 2 and he calls a play that has a three-layered route. You have a deep over let’s say 15-18 yards, a medium seven-yard route, and you have a short drag route, I’m throwing the deep one. That was my mentality. My arm strength was a huge asset but it also hurt me.”

And it has hurt Winston, too.

His gambles have often cost the Bucs field position, and even games. It has been enough for people to say that it’s time to move on from the former first overall pick. But the Hall of Famer talked about a potential solution.

“You call a play that restricts what gets him into trouble,” Favre added. “I think Bruce is trying to find that but also be productive. You don’t want to get the ball out of his hands too much. You want to teach him patience. Sometimes it’s OK to not get a first down and that took me a long time to digest. There are ways to get around that without handcuffing him too much.”

But Favre acknowledged that the decision heading into the future for both the Buccaneers and Winston will be a tough one to dissect.

“It comes down to the most important element of them all: are you winning. Throwing five touchdowns and three picks or four picks and losing the game that is happening more and more frequent, sometimes you have to cut your losses. But, if you’re winning and occasionally have a loss saying ‘had he not thrown that one we would have one’ then you can deal with it. The ultimate goal is to get to the Super Bowl and if he can get them there and still make some of these bad mistakes, then you can live with it.”

The big problem from some is that this isn’t Year 2 for Winston. The other side of the argument too is that this is Year 1 under a new offense for him where he has been able to put up incredible numbers.

The decision will ultimately come down to what Favre said. Can the Bucs live with what they have?