Time To Reevaluate Jameis Winston

Quarterback is the most difficult position in sports and only a few can cut it at the NFL level. All the greats from Tom Brady to Joe Montana had a select set of skills that propelled them to glory. They were the total package—arm talent, work ethic, high football IQs, and most importantly, exceptional leadership. Jameis Winston, the quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is no Joe Montana.

Winston has shown flashes of great arm talent and exhibited the work ethic required to be remarkable. He can spin the ball with the best of them, but his performance has been inconsistent at best. He rarely plays at a level that demonstrates why he was the number one draft pick. It’s extremely frustrating to watch him throw unsuccessfully to a burner in Desean Jackson and one of the best wide receivers in Mike Evans. Until this year, I didn’t even know it was possible to consistently overthrow an open Desean Jackson.

Admittedly, Winston is a young player—it’s only his third year. Quarterbacks often need time to develop, but they need to show signs of improvement. Winston appears to be regressing. He is currently rocking a completion percentage of 61.4 percent and an atrocious QBR of 39.5. He has thrown ten touchdowns this season but has managed to throw six picks and fumble the ball eight times. He has had big ball security issues in the past, and it’s not getting any better. If you watch him play, it’s not hard to figure out why. Winston hasn’t improved in a key area—decision making.

The ability to process information and make good decisions will make or break a quarterback. The game is fast-paced and players on the opposing defenses are world-class athletes. Quarterbacks have to be able to go through their progressions and read what the defense is giving them. Winston is not showing signs of developing this skill set. He consistently refuses to go through his reads and often throws into double and triple coverage. He is a gunslinger who lacks the ability to consistently place the ball in a spot where his wide receivers have the best chance to make a play. This inability to make sound decisions with the football is one of the leading causes of the Bucs’ offensive struggles this season.

Winston’s lack of leadership was also on full display in their matchup against the Falcons. Sidelined with an injury, he came off the bench and started an altercation with the Falcons’ cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Mike Evans came to Winston’s defense and was suspended. The incident is further proof that Winston has not developed the maturity and judgment required to be a team leader.

Some will say he is only twenty-three and still maturing, but we need to stop letting grown men off the hook. He is a professional athlete at the highest level and needs to act accordingly. If a twenty-three-year-old accountant picked a fight in the break room he would be disciplined.  The rules shouldn’t be different because Winston’s workplace is a football field. A quarterback needs to be the ultimate professional in order to succeed. He needs to grow up and fast.

Winston can’t be the fall guy for all of the Bucs’ failings. There are coaching issues and a lack of a run game in the second half that holds the team back as well. However, given the amount of talent on the offensive side of the ball, he needs to make plays when it matters, which isn’t happening. We have witnessed flashes of Winston’s greatness but they are fleeting. If he does not improve his performance on the field and continues to shirk his duties as a team leader, the Bucs need to start reevaluating his position on the roster. The team is too talented to rely on an immature and unreliable quarterback.