Jameis Winston had his typical game throwing three touchdowns…two of those happened to be thrown to the San Francisco 49ers. The Bucs disappointing home opener was supposed to be a culture change, but the only thing that changed was the defense not giving up 500 yards combined in the loss.
The defense did put some pressure on QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but it wasn’t enough in the 31-17 loss. Credit the Niners defensive line for exposing what many already knew to be a liability in keeping the pressure on Winston and providing key turnovers. Keep in mind, Winston didn’t single-handedly lose the game but ended up a major reason why the Bucs did.
Bruce Arians in typical coach-speak said the obvious saying, “We’ll be pretty good when we stop beating ourselves.”
Meaningless QB Records
So what exactly did Arians, QB coach Clyde Christensen, OC Byron Leftwich do to help Winston reduce his turnover issues? Fans have been suffering patiently to see if Winston can evolve beyond the mistakes that turn into liabilities. So far, the team still has nothing to show for it. Winston’s worn out his welcome among many Buc fans already. They want to jettison him like the QB whose records he’s about to break in Vinny Testaverde.
Like Testaverde, Winston hasn’t seen the playoffs. He also hasn’t improved on being flustered when dealing with a stout defense. The same issues that have been plaguing the unit that forced the team to play catchup in most of 2018 don’t look like has improved. Two would-be touchdowns to TE Cameron Brate were nullified on penalties.
So what does the team do at this point? One takeaway is the defense is stepping up, but traveling to face the 0-1 Carolina Panthers and castoff-turned rival Gerald McCoy chomping at the bit for revenge, the team will have to muster some grit and contain Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey. Both are more intimidating forces from the backfield than what the Niners had on Sunday.
Minimizing Winston’s Liability
While there is hope for the running game, it seems like the only way survives the year as starting QB is taking a page from Trent Dilfer. Christensen’s familiar with Tony Dungy’s vanilla offense ways serving as his QB coach and OC. Winston needs to be a game manager and stop being a liability. As much as those delusionally love to put Winston on the pedestal, fans have to face the fact that the franchise can’t rely on him to put the team on his back. Raw talent and athleticism don’t mean squat when you can’t hit your receivers efficiently. Arians doesn’t have a Warrick Dunn-Mike Alstott combo to ride, but Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones are being more productive from the backfield.
Winston should be on a short leash with Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin ready to step in if he doesn’t perform at Carolina. The team can’t afford to have Winston play desperate, because the stat padding during his time here hasn’t done ANYTHING for the fans. Speaking of the hot seat, Brate should be starting TE until O.J. Howard fixes his issues with ball control.