Six weeks or you’re out

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Opinion Editorial

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers look like the teams of old sitting an abysmal 3-7 record. Hopes of a different year for Tampa Bay have all but faded with six games still remaining on the schedule. Bruce Arians has seemingly lost track over the team’s excuses for their bad play week in and weeks out. Or should I say inconsistencies?

Something about this 2019 Tampa Bay team just doesn’t seem right. All signs in the offseason pointed to a team that would be at the least 8-8. So what happened? Even Arians is finding it hard to believe the current record is at all indicative of the roster talent. In an interview with local media Arians would go on to say:

“I never believed in sports psychology before, but I’m starting to…There’s something missing when you have talent and it doesn’t show up on Sunday. It’s a focus issue.”

Two-time AP Coach of the Year was brought in to help change the losing culture – check. Best wide receiver duo in the league – check. A top-five rated offense that can push the ball downfield at will – check. The upgraded defensive line and a top-five ranking against the run – check. So what in the hell gives?!

People will combat this take I know. The Buccaneers secondary gets torched for 300+ yards a week. Alex Cappa is your starting right guard. There are zero running game threats (sorry RoJo, one more year). And thus, Winston is constantly playing from behind. That’s fair game. But this is year five, folks — plenty enough for a decent sample size. Winston is as he always has been; a quarterback who makes plays that will literally leave your jaw dropped, but a propensity to throw untimely interceptions.

Among all else, I can only remember Winston having a decent half-season (eight games) stretch of quarterback play once in five years. It’s what he will, unfortunately, be remembered for. A great player who could never cross into the elite threshold.

Time To Move On

This brings me back to my point with inconsistencies. The Buccaneers are not a bad team. The Buccaneers are an inconsistent team. The type of team that will put up 55 points against last year’s Super Bowl team just make the win look like a facade the next week. The one common denominator in all of this, however, (outside of a young, rebuilding secondary) is the captain of the football team: Winston. Truthfully, unlike Arians, I don’t believe sports psychology will solve Tampa Bay’s woes. I do believe moving on from Winston will. And here’s why.

Jameis Winston is what I like to call a “tease” quarterback. He’s an average starter, by NFL standards, who are circus game numbers keeps just enough faith from the fanbase that’s he is indeed franchise-caliber and just enough for the front office in order to keep his job. The thing is…they’re not translating to wins.

For every late fourth quarter heroic comeback, Winston leads, there are two turnover-filled games that lead to losses staring right back at him. After five years of watching his every game, I concluded that Winston is the inconsistency in Tampa Bay. Not knowing if your “franchise” quarterback will come out looking like Brett Favre or Ryan Leaf on a week to week basis is unsettling. 400 yards or four picks. Almost seems as if there is no in-between.

Where I Stand With Winston

He has six weeks of football this season to prove to Arians and GM, Jason Licht, he’s worthy of a contract extension. And this time, stats won’t matter. If he can’t lead the Buccaneers to at least four wins on the back nine of a much easier schedule, the writing is on the wall for Winston.

Photo credit: buccaneers.com

 

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