The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans are on the verge of witnessing history as franchise quarterback Jameis Winston is about to break Josh Freeman’s franchise record for career passing touchdowns.
Winston has 79 passing TDs to Freeman’s 80, which may be broken when the Bucs face the Panthers on December 2 at home. It’s certainly not a guarantee given the team and quarterback’s tendency to underachieve. While Winston put up a commendable performance against the Niners, he’s far too unreliable, resulting in his benching beyond the four-game suspension in favor of the similarly struggling Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Winston’s franchise accomplishments are through 51 games, and Freeman’s record took place over a span of 60 games. It took Vinny Testaverde 76 games to get to 77 TDs.
Should we be happy that Winston will be the franchise leader in TDs and likely be the career leader in passing yards in 2019? Considering the love-hate relationship he has with the fanbase and the expectations of today’s league, it’s not so crystal clear.
Sometimes setting career marks at a position isn’t as important as some may feel it should be. Consider that the Bucs only finished within the top 10 in offense 3 years in their 43-year history. It doesn’t make the feat as amazing since it’s rare a Bucs’ starting QB makes it to a second contract. Would fans care if the Bucs finished at the top of the NFL in total offensive yards? Considering we don’t know what the offense and defense will look like come next year, the only sure thing is the uncertainty of a new coaching staff.
Why isn’t Winston praised more for his achievements? His off-the-field behavior at Florida State didn’t help and neither has his erratic play since being drafted from the Bucs. Add to that the fact that fans tend to blame the quarterback far more for a team’s losing tendencies than its other weaker parts. Until Winston stops becoming a reason the Bucs lose, the stigma will always follow him.
You want to know another player who set franchise records who fans couldn’t wait to get out of town? Ask Jay Cutler about his time in Chicago.