For the first time since 1987, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick and selected former Florida State Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. The area is abuzz with excitement for the Bucs news quarterback, one the fans and the organization hope becomes a franchise quarterback, and can lead the Buccaneers back to the playoffs for the first time since Jon Gruden roamed the sidelines at Raymond James Stadium.
PewterReport.com will chronicle Winston’s practice reports throughout camp, and his performances in the preseason games and during the regular season. Make sure to check back with PewterReport.com daily for our Winston Report.
Winston’s First Drive – Bucs 0, Vikings 0
On third-and-5 from the Tampa Bay 23, Winston’s pass to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who was double-covered, was high and forced the Bucs to punt. Winston had Russell Shepard open in the left flat and running back Charles Sims was open four yards past the line of scrimmage in the middle of the field and could have had a first down.
Winston 0-1 on the drive
Winston’s Second Drive – Vikings 3, Buccaneers 0
On second-and-10 from the Bucs’ 13, Winston tries to hit Mike Evans on a skinny post pattern, but the throw is behind him and sets up third-and-10. On the next snap, Winston was pressured and his deep throw to Vincent Jackson, who slipped on the play, was short and incomplete.
Winston 0-2 on the drive
Winston’s Third Drive – Vikings 9, Buccaneers 0
Winston is sacked on first down by Everson Griffen, who beat left tackle Donovan Smith with an inside spin move. On second-and-19, Winston scrambles for five yards. On third-and-14, Winston hit wide receiver Vincent Jackson with 40-yard gain to pick up a first down. Winston then hit Louis Murphy for 14 yards on an out route. Winston then threw two incompletions, one to a well-covered Seferian-Jenkins, and one to Jackson, who had the ball knocked away at the Minnesota 3. That incompletion forced a 32-yard field goal by Patrick Murray.
Winston 2-4 for 57 yards on the drive with 5 yards rushing
Winston’s Fourth Drive – Vikings 9, Buccaneers 3
On second-and-8 at the Tampa Bay 40, Winston’s pass to Evans was overthrown and intercepted by Vikings defensive back Antone Exum. Winston stared down his receiver, who was being held a bit, and it was an easy pick.
Winston 0-1 on the drive with an INT
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images
Winston’s Fifth Drive – Vikings 16, Buccaneers 3
On first-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 20, Winston’s deep pass for Evans was broken up, but the refs missed an easy pass interference call as the defensive back. On third-and-4 from the Tampa Bay 26, the snap from center Garrett Gilkey was wildly high, but Winston was able to recover the fumble for a 13-yard loss for Tampa Bay.
Winston 0-1 on the drive
Winston’s Sixth Drive – Vikings 16, Buccaneers 3
On second-and-6 from the Tampa Bay 14, Winston and Gilkey had a center-QB exchange issue and Winston picked up and proceeded to lose eight yards on a sack. On third-and-16, Winston scrambled out of the end zone for five yards to avoid pressure and was tackled at the Tampa Bay 9 to set up fourth-and-11 and a punting situation. The officials could have thrown a flag on Minnesota cornerback Trae Waynes, who hit Winston’s helmet with his forearm on the tackle.
Winston 0-0 on the drive with 5 yards rushing
Winston’s Seventh Drive – Vikings 23, Buccaneers 3
The Bucs replaced Gilkey with Jeremiah Warren at center for Winston’s seventh drive, which started with 2:41 left in the first half. On first-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 24, Winston hit tight end Luke Stocker with a gain of 18 yards on a short pass to the left flat. On first-and-10 from the Bucs’ 42, Winston hit Bobby Rainey with a 5-yard gain before finding Murphy with a 12-yard gain down to the Minnesota 41. On first down, Winston hit Murphy with a beautifully thrown 18-yard out route to the Minnesota 23. On second-and-5, Winston hit Murphy with a wide receiver screen pass for seven yards to the Minnesota 11. On second-and-7 from the Minnesota 8, Winston’s pass to a well-covered Kenny Bell sailed a bit high in the end zone. On the next play, Winston scrambled eight yards and dove into the end zone for his first touchdown to cap off a nine-play, 76-yard scoring drive. Tampa Bay went for a two-point conversion, but Winston’s pass to Russell Shepard, who was covered, fell incomplete.
Winston 5-6 for 53 yards and an 8-yard rushing TD on the drive
Winston’s Eighth Drive – Vikings 23, Buccaneers 9
The Bucs got the ball back at the Tampa Bay 36 after defensive end Lawrence Sidbury, Jr. recovered a fumble forced by defensive tackle Will Gholston with less than a minute left in the first half. On first-and-10, Winston hit tight end Brandon Myers for a gain of one yard on a play in which right tackle Demar Dotson injured his left knee. Winston’s next pass found running back Mike James for a gain of 13 yards to midfield. With one second left before halftime, Winston spiked the ball to stop the clock and then heaved a Hail Mary to the end zone that fell incomplete.
Winston 2-3 for 14 yards on the drive
Winston was done at halftime, and Bucs head coach Lovie Smith commented on his NFL debut, as he was interviewed by WFLA’s Dan Lucas.
“He finished strong,” Smith said. “Didn’t start exactly the way we wanted to, but then he threw some good balls and got us into position to get a couple of scores.
“You have to have a first game and you work through some of those things and that’s what he’s doing.”
Tampa Bay wide receiver Vincent Jackson was pleased with Winston’s performance in his debut.
“I have so much confidence in this kid,” Jackson said. “I think he’s going to have a great year. He’s just so smart. He’s picked up everything fast and he sees things on the field that a veteran sees. It’s a lot of fun playing with him. We work on a lot of things and communicate each and every day in practice and we are going to continue to make big plays. He’s an aggressive guy, he wants to stand there in the pocket. You can see he’s not scared to stand in there and deliver the ball down the field and that’s going to help us this year.”
After the game, Winston discussed his first preseason game.
“It was my first NFL preseason game – it was fun,” Winston said. “You have to get better every day, and getting your first real-live rush with guys not coming off you – the opportunity to play real-live football was helpful. Our goal is to get better every day. You’ve just got to keep playing and we turned around and did some good things.”
Winston talked about the offense’s success with the hurry-up offense prior to halftime where he completed 5-of-6 passes for 53 yards and rushed for his first NFL touchdown.
“We’re good at playing fast,” Winston said. “When we picked up the tempo, everything started rolling. The offensive line did great. Everyone around me did great. When we pick up the intensity we see what we are capable of.”
PewterReport.com Analysis: Winston started off the game slowly, completing just two of his first nine passes and throwing an interception. Then the rookie caught fire during the two-minute drill, completing 5-of-6 throws for 53 yards before rushing for an 8-yard touchdown. Winston was sacked a few times, and didn’t get much help from Gilkey, who had two errant snaps. Winston never appeared to be rattled, and got hot before halftime. But slow starts were a part of Winston’s game at Florida State, and that absolutely cannot continue in the NFL. Being down 23-3 in the first half is a tough mountain for a young team like Tampa Bay to climb.
Winston’s Final Stats: 9-of-19 for 131 yards with 1 INT, four carries for 18 yards and a TD
PewterReport.com Preseason Grade: C
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grade seems a tad high honestly.
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I agree grade looked high. What bothers me the most is his really slow wind up. Safeties in the NFL close so fast. In addition, he didn’t see at least 6 open receivers. I’m hoping we didn’t waste the number pick on a guy with a great smile and questionable skills.
I thought I was watching Byron Leftwich.
Winston was the least of my worries, he’s going to be fine. Gilkey on the other hand has no business being in the NFL. Our other 2 picks Smith did good after giving up that first sack. I attribute that to not having to go against a good D end in practice, because we don’t have one. Marpet also got better as the game went on.
I’m not worried either, surfer. But both Winston and the Bucs media should chill on the ‘Man of steel” mantra and that he is not fazed by anything. He acted as one would expect for a young, rookie QB in his first NFL game to act – nervous and excited. He’s human and looked it last night.And that’s okay with me. As the game went on he got into a rhythm and as games (plural) go on, he’ll start with a rhythm. Now that secondary is a whole notha story!
Always wise thoughts from you macabee. Unlike some, who are already questioning the rookies after but 1/2 of a meaningless exhibition practice.
SCUBOG- Who’s questioning Winston? He stunk period! Will he improve absolutely but last night he STUNK. There’s a difference between today and tomorrow as there is Winston sucked last night and being more improved in future. I truly think he has the tools to succeed but any grade better than a “D” last night is about expectations in future not about last night. He’s a rookie and played like one. I think he’ll be average at best this year. (hope I’m wrong)Very few QB’s have a good rookie year and we have more growing pains this year. It’s hard for fans to be patient…we have stunk for so long now.
IT was a rough night on both sides of the ball. I didn’t get to see the 2nd half, but the Defense really looks soft. I guess they cleaned up things in the 2nd half.
Agree with surferdudes, macabee, scubog. Winston needs to keep his arm warmed up while on the sidelines. I’m going to harper on this until it happens. He always starts slow because his arm is not warmed up enough. Many QB’s throw a few tosses before going in to have their arm loosened up.
C’mon SR, really? Winston a C? I believe your grade is about future expectations as well in factoring his grade last night. Winston led the troops for 1 touchdown, great, but also threw a pick that resulted in a touchdown so that’s a wash to me. Looking at everything else he did isn’t really all that impressive. He was outplayed by Shaun Hill for God’s sake! I 100% believe he gets better, a lot better, but not last night. So much for objectivity…
The lack of objectivity is stunning. To be fair, I didn’t favor drafting Winston because of his character flaws. Still, he’s our guy and so far he hasn’t shown and regression to his behavior and character issues. That being said, he looked awful last night–about on the same par as last year’s highly touted first quarterback taken, Bortles. He has obvious technique issues and he simply wasn’t sharp. McNown was good in the two minute offense too. And the Vikings had more subs playing at that point. This performance was a D or D+ giving the benefit of the doubt. I don’t blame fans for wanting Winston to be a savior. But he ahs a long, long way to go. Patience will be called for and this site needs to evaluate with much greater objectivity. I have serious doubts about Winston but I’m a BUCS fan and am hoping to be wrong.
Actually, for those truly paying attention, a C is a perfect grade. So much more to the game of football than just the surface and the stats. Let’s look at the really strong things that Winston showed last night: Started the game with his back against the endzone and checked (twice) to the correct run play at the line for an eventual first down to give his offense room. For those scoring at home, Mariota turned it over twice inside his own 20 resulting in 10 points. Was Jameis totally accurate in ALL of his throws? Absolutely not. But, his INT was actually not as bad as the twitter experts and ESPN would have you believe: he had single coverage with Mike Evans down the seam … ball was probably overthrown … meanwhile, a flag for defensive holding probably should’ve been thrown, too, though. BUT, that’s the kind of throw our FRANCHISE QB needs to have the courage to toss every week. The type of throw that McCown/Glennon/Mariota would be too afraid to attempt. Winston controlled multiple drives from a no huddle offense and showed command of the field when doing so. That is above average play from a rookie in his first ever NFL action. Seriously, gang. There are a lot of positives to take away from his performance. Mariota – based off of those two horrendous turnovers alone was a total disaster (his INT looked like a kid who was panicking and was way out of his league so he just tossed the ball to get rid of it … unacceptable). Winston looked more like a rookie. Which is fine. Because, you know … he is one. The grade of a C is perfect here.
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