Palmer, who was the quarterback for Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians from 2013 to 2017 with the Arizona Cardinals, believes another year in Arians’s system is the best thing for Winston. He doesn’t want the Buccaneers to cut bait just yet, due to the complexity of Arians’s offense.
“You don’t have that experience in Year 1,” Palmer said on “The Rich Eisen Show” Thursday. “You need Year 1 to go back and watch the film and see yourself doing it wrong and the receivers seeing themselves doing it wrong and then Year 2, really things start to click.
“That chemistry starts to develop and that trust and that confidence in the offense starts to develop. If Jameis is back in Tampa, I would expect Year 2 to be a massive year for him.”
Palmer certainly knows from experience what a difference Year 1 to Year 2 makes under Arians, as the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback revitalized his career in Arizona. After throwing for 4,274 yards, 24 touchdowns and 22 interceptions (83.9 rating) in 2013, Palmer was one of the best quarterbacks in football over the next two seasons. He threw for 6,297 yards, 46 touchdowns and 14 interceptions over the next two years (22 games) as the Cardinals went 19-3 in Palmer’s starts. Palmer made his final Pro Bowl in 2015 while leading the Cardinals to the NFC Championship Game, compiling a 101.9 rating.
There’s optimism the Buccaneers should have hope for Winston, despite his shortcomings at quarterback. Winston had a career year in his first season under Arians. He has completed 60.7% of his passes for a league-leading 5,109 yards with 33 touchdowns and a league-high 30 interceptions. Winston became the first quarterback to throw for 450-plus yards in consecutive games and was the first quarterback in league history to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a season. His seven interceptions returned for touchdowns is an NFL record.
Turnovers have plagued Winston throughout his five-year career in the NFL, as Winston has thrown 88 interceptions and had 50 fumbles in just 72 career games. Winston has completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 19,737 yards and 121 touchdowns in his five seasons, posting an 86.9 rating as the Buccaneers have gone 28-42 in his 70 starts.
Palmer wasn’t a success story in Arizona overnight, another reason he wants the Buccaneers to have patience in Winston. Palmer was also 34 in his first season in Arizona, slightly past his prime years as a quarterback. Winston just turned 26.
“It takes years,” Palmer said. “It takes years for the quarterback and it takes years for the guys outside because there’s multiple opportunities where receivers have the opportunity to run one of two routes and they don’t make that decision and make that cut until they get to the top of the route. And that’s just something, you need time, you need experience within that system and that’s something you don’t have.”