Through four weeks Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has thrown the second most interceptions (eight) in the NFL, behind only Jets’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (10).
Winston, an unapologetically aggressive quarterback, said Thursday that he won’t change his style but emphasized a need to protect the football, reiterating that point in one form or another 11 times over a nine-minute press conference.
The good news for Tampa Bay is he’s gotten himself out of this situation before – threw just eight picks in the final 12 games of his rookie year – and replicating that success, he said, starts by going back to the drawing board.
“[It’s about] worrying more about self-development, technique and mechanics and stuff,” Winston said. “Doing whatever I [can] to make sure the ball [doesn’t] go back to the other team. Just keeping everything simple.”
Last Sunday coach Dirk Koetter said Winston made a “conscience choice” to protect the football after a rocky start in 2015, and on Thursday the second-year quarterback echoed his head coach.
“Everything is a mindset on a football field. It’s a choice,” Winston said. “I have a lot of decisions out there so my choice is I have to protect the football.
“I’m going to be the quarterback I think I need to be to win games here. One part of that is protecting the football and I have to be better at doing that.”
Winston will be the first to take blame for turnovers, but teammates and coaches will be the first to come to his defense. Offensive tackle Demar Dotson said there’s more that goes into an interception than the throw while coordinator Todd Monken called out the rest of the offense to “play better around” Winston. Monken then vehemently defended Winston’s maturation and praised his leadership.
Ultimately, the interception problem may just be related to over-excitement to start games. In an interesting take, Winston admitted that he actually benefits at times from being down, as the adversity allows him to “calm down and relax.”
“I probably do better in chaos than I do when things are just regular,” Winsotn said. “I embrace that. Adversity is something I always looked at as being one of my best attributes.”