There were times last season when it seemed like Jameis Winston might not be back in Tampa Bay. The 2015 first overall pick was suspended for the first three games of 2018 and in his first four games back, the Buccaneers were 1-3 and Winston had six touchdowns against 10 interceptions.
It was enough to get him benched for three games — and for reasonable people to conclude that Winston might be elsewhere in 2019. Instead, coach Dirk Koetter was fired and replaced with Bruce Arians, who has had success with Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, Andrew Luck and the Colts, and Carson Palmer and the Cardinals. So it would stand to reason that if anybody could fix Winston, it would be B.A.
For starters, the silly turnovers have to stop.
“I talked to Jameis this morning about it and said, ‘You and I are going to have hard conversations about our football team,”’ Arians told the Tampa Bay Times‘ Rick Stroud days before Super Bowl LIII. “‘You’re not a rookie. So when I come to you, I want honest answers.’ We had those conversations earlier today.”
There’s also the issue of Winston’s mechanics, which have been sloppy in recent seasons and Arians — along with quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich — plans on correcting them in the coming weeks and months.
“I’ve studied a bunch of them,” Arians said. “Clyde has watched every throw he’s made since his rookie year and Byron, too. And it’s like you’re trying to look safeties off too long and your feet are crossed. So much of it is mechanical.”
Arians also believes the Bucs’ struggles don’t rest solely with Winston.
“Give him a running game,” the coach said. “Give him a defense and see how good he can be. I think we can limit (turnovers). Never get rid of them. There’s nobody that ever does it. But you can limit turnovers. And you talk about it. You talk a bunch about it on the practice field. That’s when it gets ugly. ‘What the (expletive) was that?'”
The Buccaneers went 5-11 the last two seasons and have had one winning campaign since Winston arrived. Arians plans on changing that by a) making Winston a more consistent quarterback and b) surrounding him with better players.
In related news, in our latest mock draft we have Tampa Bay taking Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams with the fifth overall pick.