Winston’s struggles? Or has Tampa Bay always struggled?

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Opinion Editorial 

This franchise was started in 1976 and has been around for 44 seasons. The Buccaneers have a franchise-record 263-422-1, including going 27-47 from 2010-2015. The Buccaneers have gone through multiple head coaches in that six-year period. From Raheem Morris to Greg Schiano to Lovie Smith to Dirk Koetter and now Bruce Arians. Tampa Bay has also had several starters at the quarterback position in that time-span. Names like Josh Freeman, Josh McCown, and Mike Glennon.

Enter The Rookie

Jameis Winston was drafted 1st overall back in the 2015 NFL draft. In those five seasons, he has a win/loss record of 28-46. Winston has never lost at anything in his entire football career until he was drafted by Tampa Bay. So why is that? Tampa Bay was the worst team in the NFL in 2014. Winston came to a team that had been struggling for a long time. There were no quality veterans at quarterback to learn from or sit behind for a season or two.

Winston, like many others at his position, was drafted to struggling teams. Winston’s will to win is so strong he forces turnovers to make up for others that cannot make plays. Winston has come along way from being drafted at 20 years of age. Asked to be the face of an NFL franchise at age 20 isn’t unheard of, but also not typically an instant success. Only time will tell if the organization will can or will make the right moves to put a legitimate team around Winston. Winston is currently first in the NFL in thrown interceptions with 18 but third in the NFL in passing yards with 3,078. Winston’s stats can show you how good he really is and how bad he can be.

Where Is The Middle Ground?

The shortest route to the “middle ground” would be to not get behind early so they can establish the run and not force Winston to throw 50+ times. That inevitably leads to being sacked and pressured more which logically leads to more turnovers.

[ photo credit: Tampa Bay Times ]
Having some type of third WR option would definitely help here. Winston wouldn’t always have to fit balls in small widows if there were more than two legitimate options to throw too. Having the highest-paid center in the league play like he’s being paid would help, too. Ryan Jensen needs to cut costly mental errors.

Take the easy throws to let the receiver do the work, be the point guard and just distribute the ball to others. Byron Leftwich finding ways to have a third or fourth option and receiver and not allowing opposing defenses load up the box and double Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Winston has his own struggles to deal with but for him to be successful he cannot take on the burden of others not being able to put the team or themselves in a winning position to help the offense.

The Skinny

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for the second season in a row, will give up over 30 points a game leaving the offense no choice but having to score every possession. That’s a lot to ask for with any offense. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph the Bucs have drafted franchise QBs in the past, but seldom keep them. Why? I can’t imagine what the real reason behind it was but I can tell you what I’ve seen over the years in the NFL. Good NFL franchises make the right choices when picking up players to build around your franchise quarterback.

If you want to win with anybody at quarterback you build within your trenches! Start in the front of the house and work backward. If Tampa Bay wants a pocket quarterback then you must draft players who can solidify the pocket for one to stand in. When you build a strong offensive line, you can pass or run. When the line blocks they aren’t there to get in the defense’s way, they are there to move them. The last time an offensive lineman was drafted in the first round in Tampa was 2005 with the selection of Davin Joseph out of Oklahoma. The last time an offensive lineman was selected to the Pro Bowl was in 2011 and it was Joseph.

If Tampa Bay dominates in the trenches they will win more games.

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