Jameis Winston is not the answer in Tampa Bay for the Bucs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Another Sunday, another Buccaneers loss and another disappointing performance out of Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston. Wash, rinse, repeat.

In Week 8, the Buccaneers saw whatever postseason hopes they held melt away by falling, 27-23, to the Tennessee Titans, taking them to a 2-4 record on the year. Tampa Bay had a chance — they always have a chance — but Jameis Winston’s struggles again lead to their doom.

Winston completed only 21 of his 43 pass attempts, for 301 yards. While he did have two touchdown passes on the day, he also threw two interceptions — the final on what he was attempting to make a game-winning drive at the end of the fourth quarter — and fumbled three times, losing two. He was also sacked three times, bringing his total to 28 (!) on the season. Winston’s ball-security issues were the story of the day, just as they’ve been the story of his season and of his career.

The miscues and turnovers now total 20 — 12 interceptions and eight fumbles. And while this is nothing new with him, the fact that it’s not a bug but a feature is a strong indicator that 2019 will likely be Winston’s final season with the Buccaneers.

The 2015 first-overall draft pick’s mistakes could be explained away earlier in his career: He’s young, he just needs to get comfortable, he needs coaching that plays to his strengths, he needs more weaponry or better protection. But now, in his fifth season, there is no more room for excuses or equivocation. This is who Winston is, and in turn he’s become a millstone around the Buccaneers’ neck.


 

Moving on is difficult; it’s possible that the Buccaneers could have done so a year ago, when they chose to pick up Winston’s fifth-year option rather than let him move on in free agency, but they didn’t, the fear of the unknown (another young quarterback) outweighing the risks of hitching their wagon to Winston for an additional season. But now, he’s set to be an unrestricted free agent in the new league year, and it would be wise for Tampa Bay to not give him his second contract.

If the last four years left any doubt about Winston’s abilities, this season has finally confirmed them. He’s a mistake-prone, turnover-happy quarterback who is holding back the Buccaneers. Now that Tampa Bay has a built-in out, they should be more than comfortable seeking a new signal-caller come the offseason.

Next: This play of utter sadness defines the Buccaneers season

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