Jameis Winston has led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 6-8 record this season – and yes, “led” is the correct word. After all, the Bucs went 6-26 over the previous two seasons.
What should our assessment be of Winston at this point?
“I think he’s exactly what we all pretty much thought he was coming out,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “That was an extremely gifted guy, charismatic, his teammates will follow him. The two issues I had with him when he came out were I thought he threw too many interceptors on a really talented team – balls he didn’t have to throw – and my biggest concern was off the field. As long as he takes care of himself off the field, I think Tampa Bay has got a winner for years to come.”
Winston has completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 3,422 yards and has accounted for 25 touchdowns (20 passing, five rush) and 12 interceptions this season. Seven of those interceptions, it is worth noting, came in his first four games.
“He started slowly, which didn’t surprise me,” Mayock said. “Threw most of his interceptions in the first three or four games, but I think he’s made steady progress. Again, as long as he stays good off the field, I think they’re going to have winner on the field.”
Aside from the interceptions, the only on-field knocks on Winston were his weight – he was sometimes a little heavy – and the quickness, or lack thereof, of his release. Neither has been a major issue for Winston, who las led the Bucs to several last-minute wins.
“When he was in shape, he was fine,” Mayock said. “Did he have a tendency to get a little bit heavy at times? Yes, and he worked on that release. He’s fine. I have no problem with his release. Any rookie that had problems in college, we always talk about these guys and I feel like the first year they’re on probation and they’re on their best behavior. I think the real test for some of these guys comes after they get a taste of the good life, they get paid a lot of money, things are good, they play well. Then where are they in years two, three and four? And right now, all the signs are pointing the right way for James Winston.”