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?