It was a weird 2017 season for the Bucs, not only in their disappointing record of 5-11, but also in the performance and lack of health and availability of some of their top players.

One of those players, of course, was quarterback Jameis Winston, who dealt with a shoulder injury for most of the season. Winston initially hurt his shoulder in the Arizona Cardinals game in Week 7. He went on to try to play through the pain, but was eventually replaced due to the need for healing after the Saints game just three weeks later.

Winston returned when the team traveled to Green Bay after three weeks of rest and finished out the season as the starter. In those games, you could tell that Winston’s shoulder was healthy for the first time in a long time. Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders took notice, as did Evan Silva of Rotoworld. Both noted that Winston’s performance in 2017 was pretty good, when playing and healthy.

“Winston was only 12th in conventional completion percentage (63.8 percent), but that doesn’t account for the fact that he is one of the most vertical passers in the game. His average depth of target in this study came at 10.7 yards, second only to [Deshaun] Watson (10.9). In fact, each year Winston’s passes get a little deeper, but he has done a great job of improving his plus-minus. He has gone from -14.5 as a 2015 rookie to +3.2 in 2016 to a similarly big increase in 2017.”

Winston has improved steadily since coming into the league in 2015, but Bucs fans are still waiting for him to take that big leap into becoming a playoff quarterback.

Was Winston’s 2017 worth noting the way Silva described it?

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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Jlog
Jlog
4 years ago

No he came back and played like Winston. Doesn’t matter what your starting opinion of him was, after recovering from the injury it was about what it was before the injury.

Buc10
Buc10
Reply to  Jlog
4 years ago

Couldn’t be more wrong! Go back and look at the stats man. Winston was on fire! Typical comment from a hater

Jlog
Jlog
Reply to  Buc10
4 years ago

Sure if you ignore the interceptions and fumbles. In 2017 Winston had 11 interceptions and 15 fumbles and that earned him 30th ranking for turnovers. Hard for me to overlook that on a team that only had 5 wins.

Darin
Darin
Reply to  Jlog
4 years ago

You overlooked the fact his 10.7 yards per target is second longest in the league. Translation….Dirk isnt making it easy on him. Much lower percentage pass plays and 7 step drops out the wazooooo. Those usually equal more fumbles in the league. Telegraphed plays equal more INTs. To say Winston is even a part of the problem for this team is an incredibly inaccurate statement. How many times did you hear last year the bucs were the most predictable team in the league, both sides of the ball? Dirk needs to fix alot of the offensive issues and of course… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Jlog
4 years ago

And yet you ignore everything else that amounted to those 5 wins like the worst defense in the NFL. Or maybe the 32st ranked run game. But you go ahead and focus on Jameis. And his last 5 weeks after Injury was fantastic. But keep hating.

Charlie
Charlie
4 years ago

Until he at least makes the playoffs…not really…

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Charlie
4 years ago

So just the qb makes the playoffs? This statement makes football look like tennis and is just such a blanket statement. 22 players start on this team, not just Jameis.

fredster
fredster
4 years ago

I thought he wasn’t great at all early on. After came back from injury he played pretty good considering the defense was crap and couldn’t run the ball with any consistency.

Nobody
Nobody
4 years ago

That is one hyperfocused statistic that doesn’t put in nearly as much work as the author of the piece is portraying. You know what else increases the depth of your average throw? Either making the wrong coverage read or misprioritizing eligibles and throwing a covered Bow route on one side of the field rather than throwing the wide open Flat route on a Spacing Bunch concept that eats up C3Zone on the other side of the field (especially when it’s 3rd and 5). Or eschewing throwing the underneath Whip route to Hump (when he’s killed his man) who could catch-and-run… Read more »

EricNV
EricNV
Reply to  Nobody
4 years ago

You make some good points, and Winston most definitely has to improve his reads, but if the Bucs wanted dink-and dunk passes, they could have gone after an Alex Smith-type QB instead of Winston.

Nobody
Nobody
Reply to  EricNV
4 years ago

True enough (although Alex Smith’s 2017 campaign was all-world and hardly dink and dunk with 8.6 Y/A and 11.9 Y/C). But there is a giant excluded middle between “dink-and-dunk” and “gunslinger” who takes far too many high-risk throws when low-risk/high-reward throws are available and contextually appropriate. As a passer, Jameis throttled back the latter identity without becoming the former in 4 of the last 5 games last year. and put up his best football (sans the last game against NO and sans the Fumbles in those 5 games). Hopefully he continues charting and successfully navigating that course to start this… Read more »

Ken - Kfromfla
Ken - Kfromfla
4 years ago

I’m sure that the 32nd ranked Defense and 27th ranked Rushing game had no bearing to the win-loss record.

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

When are we going to focus on the Defense?
Why are we always looking at Winston?

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

Because that’s what ignorant biassed fans always do. They blame the QB because that’s who they choose to blame regardless of the contributing factors. No doubt Jameis had an issue with fumbles, but interceptions, at least statistically, were no more an issue that any other QB. Here in Bucville, there’s always a scapegoat and/or whipping boy chosen.

Mike.Seven
Mike.Seven
4 years ago

What are 5 wins are you people talking about?????????????
Jamies Winston won 3 games out of 13 and in those 13 games had 11 INTs and 15 fumbles 7 lost fumbles
The backup quarterback won 2 games out of 3
and in 1/2 half of the AZ game outscored AZ 33 points to 14
The defence under Fitz with QB that had ball and clock control performed better with a little rest while offence stayed on the field.
My god people take off the blinders

Horse
Horse
Reply to  Mike.Seven
4 years ago

Even green could have won those two games that Fitzpatrick won; when he win against a good team he got hammered. How about you taking off your blinders? Our defense couldn’t stop anybody; that makes a big difference.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

Mike.Seven just likes to be critical because he thinks that makes him look smarter than the rest of us my friend. He’s right in there with BF47 and other cyber naysayers who look down their noses at anything their supposed favorite team does. Anyone who has a clue and looks at the team knows the lack of defense, horrendous placekicking and virtually no running game were huge factors in the won-loss record.

Mike.Seven
Mike.Seven
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Mike.Seven is critical because he thinks it is much more enjoyable to watch Bucs win and go to playoffs than to be at the bottom of the division and lose games, to watch a lot of turnovers then come on pewter and read all about how Bucs lost. He thinks to watch a well-coached team with smart talented players win is a lot of fun. He thinks a team at the bottom of the division that won 5 games and those 5 wins came from 4 really bad teams and a seeded playoff team and any game against a team… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Scubog, right on!

plopes808
plopes808
4 years ago

It appeared to me that Winston’s decision making was much better after his injury. I believe watching Fitz play gave him a better understanding of “take what the defense gives you.” Also, at the beginning of the season, Winston hadn’t developed any chemistry with Godwin and Howard yet. Once he developed that, his options were wide open.

Now that he has a run game (knock on wood) he will be able to step his game up to the next level.