The Growth of No. 1 Overall Jameis Winston


Aug 6, 2015; Tampa Bay, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws the ball as he works out during training camp at One Buc Place. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of the NFL’s training camps, the media raved about No. 2 overall Marcus Mariota. The word is  he’s quickly learning the footwork of dropping back from under center and all that. And in the process, he’s been extremely accurate in camp and has yet to throw an interception.

Meanwhile, the early word on the much more advanced No. 1 overall Jameis Winston has been “unimpressive.” He’s struggled at times the Bucs aren’t trying to teach how to be and NFL quarterback.  They’re too busy preparing him for the blitzes he’ll see this season from NFL defenses.

USA Today’s Lindsay H. Jones reported, “As the No. 1 pick of the 2015 draft continues his first week of training camp, coach Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier have been drawing up complex blitzes and a variety of pass coverages—in part to prepare their own defensive players, but more to make sure Winston is being challenged every snap.”

That caused him to throw three interceptions in short time span early on in a training camp practice. The Bucs haven’t tried to hide Winston from the media or public in this process so he hasn’t looked like a world beater right away. But Bucs fans shouldn’t worry because he’s starting to get things down and look like the 2015 No. 1 overall.

Not knowing what the Bucs were doing with Winston, NFL Media reporter Jeff Darlington said of the progress he saw, “I have a confession to make: While watching Jameis Winston’s first several NFL practices (from rookie minicamp until now), I was extremely underwhelmed. Admittedly, I’m not a football scout — but Winston seemingly did nothing special. Nothing that popped.

“Nothing that made you say, ‘That’s why he went No. 1 overall.’ And hearing all the glowing reports coming out of Tennessee about No. 2 pick Mariota, I was kind of left scratching my head. Suddenly, however, something seems to have clicked. This past weekend, Winston strung together two solid practices [notching five red-zone touchdowns in one day] leading up to the practice I watched on Wednesday.

“Winston certainly looks like he’s found his rhythm. He’s throwing with more authority and, as a result, more accuracy. He looks more poised—his passes have more zip. This all makes sense, no doubt, since it’s perfectly fair for a rookie to take his time understanding the NFL. That’s the reason I never criticized Winston upon those earlier observations. And I’m glad I didn’t. Winston just needs some time. I’m now more convinced that he’ll be just fine than I was only a few weeks ago.”

So look for him to be ready for the blitz when the season starts.