TAMPA – When new regimes come in, all bets are off the table. Everyone’s job is usually at risk because the new regime has no allegiance. No loyalty to many of the players that are on the team prior to the new arrival.
So, it’s no surprise Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is no longer with the squad. When Bruce Arians and staff took over, Winston was in the final year of his contract. He had to make a strong impression on Arians for him and general manager Jason Licht to re-sign him. While Winston made an impression – leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns, he also threw for 30 interceptions – a 30-30 of the wrong kind.
Enter Tom Brady
No one faults Arians or the Bucs for signing Tom Brady. The guy is a proven leader, and no one can argue his six Super Bowl rings.
What’s interesting is what Arians said to national radio host and NFL Network’s Rich Eisen on the Rich Eisen Show earlier this week. When asked about the Winston situation, Arians said he called a couple of teams to speak about Winston.
Arians said he told the teams, “you’re going to get one of the hardest workers you’ve ever had and a great young man. It didn’t work out for us only because Tom Brady was available, and we had Teddy Bridgewater if that would have worked out. If not, we were going full steam ahead back with Jameis.”
Arians went on to tell Eisen that one team wasn’t interested and another thanked him for his call, whatever that means.
A Head Scratcher
While this does sound unusual for a coach to campaign for a player he has tossed aside, the fact he would say this publicly alone is a head scratcher. But what Arians said later really was an eye raiser. When asked by Eisen what happened with Winston, he said this:
“I think it was that regression in those last two ball games after he had made such good progress,” Arians said of Winston. “You don’t throw for 5,100 and 30 touchdowns and don’t have no talent. Those numbers are amazing in themselves. Those turnovers in December made us look to see if there was someone better behind door No. 2.”
So, that last pick-six from Winston in a meaningless game was the final straw, huh? If you believe that, there’s some fertile land in South Florida selling for a great low price. Buy now before it dries up.
The Odds Were Stacked
Let’s be real. The last two games weren’t the reason Winston is leaving Tampa Bay. Winston went into those last two games with a knife going into a gun fight. In the final two games, his top two receivers – Mike Evans and Chris Godwin – were both on injured reserve and Evans did not play in the game prior to that because of injury.
Take the top two players at a position on any team, especially at receiver and there will be a drop-off. Look what happened to Brady once Antonio Brown AND Josh Gordon were gone. Without weapons, even a future Hall of Fame quarterback can look ordinary.
While it is agreed that Arians is generally a good guy among the players, his saying Winston’s last two games were the reason is just spin, as is telling people he spoke to teams about Winston. Thing is, no one faults the Bucs for looking for another quarterback and when Brady became available, this was a no-brainer. But to say it was the last two games that sealed the deal for Winston is not right.