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 has chronicled Winston’s practice reports throughout training camp, and now breaks down his performances in the preseason games.

Winston’s First Drive – Bucs 0, Browns 0
Winston’s first pass was a check-down to tight end Luke Stocker and was incomplete due to an errant throw on second down. On third down, Winston took a coverage sack by Browns defensive lineman Desmond Bryant.
Winston was 0-of-1 and sacked once

Winston’s Second Drive – Browns 7, Bucs 0
On the first play of the drive, Winston hit Louis Murphy with a nice 22-yard gain across the middle out to the Tampa Bay 46. On first down, Winston was pressured and threw an incomplete pass. After a false start by Ali Marpet, the rookie right guard gave up a second sack to Bryant on second-and-15. On third-and-22, Winston threw a nice pass to tight end Austin Seferian Jenkins for 14 yards, but the Bucs were forced to punt on fourth-and-7 at the 49-yard line.
Winston was 2-of-3 for 36 yards and sacked once

Winston’s Third Drive – Browns 14, Bucs 0
After two handoffs lost one yard, Winston threw a really bad interception on third-and-11 as he was getting blitzed up the middle by Cleveland linebacker Christian Kirksey. Reserve cornerback Charles Gaines returned the pass, which was intended for wide receiver Russell Shepard, 18 yards down to the Tampa Bay 12.
Winston was 0-of-1 with one interception

Winston’s Fourth Drive – Browns 14, Bucs 0
After an 8-yard run by Charles Sims, Sims gained one yard on the next play, but Doug Martin was stopped for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1 at the Tampa Bay 28, which set up a punt.
Winston was 0-of-0

Bucs QB Jameis Winston  - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Winston’s Fifth Drive – Browns 17, Bucs 0
On first-and-10 at the Cleveland 45, Winston was poised in the pocket and tossed a 26-yard strike to wide receiver Vincent Jackson at the 19-yard line. On the next play, Winston handed off to Martin, who scampered off left tackle for a touchdown.
Winston was 1-of-1 for 26 yards

Winston’s Sixth Drive – Browns 17, Bucs 7
After a 10-yard run by Martin, Winston’s slant to Jackson was almost intercepted on first down. On third-and-6 from the Cleveland 45, Winston hung tough in the pocket and rifled a pass to Jackson across the middle for 12 yards and a first down. On second-and-3 at the 26, Winston’s pass to wide receiver Louis Murphy was nearly picked off by cornerback Tramon Williams. On third down, Winston’s pass to Jackson was broken up by Gaines, which forced a 43-yard field goal attempt that was missed by Connor Barth.
Winston was 1-of-4 for 12 yards

Winston’s Seventh Drive – Browns 17, Bucs 7
Winston’s first pass was a wide receiver screen to Murphy for a gain of four yards to the Tampa Bay 27. On second-and 6, Winston scrambled to his left and gained five yards to set up a third-and-1 at the 32-yard line. On third down, Winston’s pass attempt to Jackson was batted down.
Winston was 1-of-2 for 4 yards with 5 yards rushing

Winston’s Eighth Drive – Browns 17, Bucs 7
With just 20 seconds left in the first half, Winston’s ugly pass to Seferian-Jenkins was incomplete across the middle. Winston came back and found Sims for a 12-yard gain on a screen pass down to the Tampa Bay 42. On the last play of second quarter, Winston was sacked for a loss of 10 yards.
Winston was 1-of-2 for 12 yards and was sacked once

Winston’s Ninth Drive – Browns 17, Bucs 7
Winston came out for the first series of the third quarter. His first pass of the second half was on an out route to Murphy, who dropped it. On third-and-6 from the Tampa Bay 33, Winston was sacked for the fourth time right up the middle by safety Landon Feichter.
Winston was 0-for-1 and was sacked once

After the game, Winston discussed getting sacked and the pressure he faced. The rookie quarterback did not blame his offensive line for the breakdowns, instead saying that he didn’t call the right protections to combat Cleveland’s 3-4 defense, which was in a lot of Under fronts.

“I felt like the offensive line did good, but I have to get the ball out faster,” Winston said. “They brought a lot of pressure. We got a lot of different looks and we didn’t want to show a lot of our ‘get-it-outs.’ … My ankle is good. I just have to get better. This was definitely a learning thing.”

“I have another thing to learn from from a blitz protection standpoint. I have to see things and get us in the right protection calls. It’s a learning experience. … They came with a different game plan than what we expected. We had to go to different formation and go into 11 personnel in the game.”

Bucs head coach Lovie Smith seemed to blame the offensive line for failing to protect the team’s first overall draft pick against a ferocious Cleveland pass rush.

“I wouldn’t say there were many assignment errors,” Smith said. “They beat us up front. Yes, the middle was a part of that.”

As Winston’s preseason play comes to a close, Smith liked the progress the rookie made, but refused to suggest that he took a step back against the Browns.

“We like what he’s done throughout, but tonight he’s a part of a bad effort we had as a football team,” Smith said.

Winston acknowledged that he wants to play in the fourth preseason game, but Smith indicated that he’s going to stick to his plan of not playing the starters in the finale at Miami next Thursday.

“Obviously, any time there’s football I want to play, but it’s going to be Coach’s decision,” Winston said.

PewterReport.com Analysis: Winston easily had his worst performance of the preseason, completing just 6-of-15 passes for 90 yards with no touchdowns and one interception against Cleveland. Winston struggled with pressure in his face as the Browns blitzed the A gap with linebackers and safeties. Winston was sacked four times and hurried throughout the game as center Evan Smith guards Logan Mankins, Ali Marpet and Garrett Gilkey struggled mightily in pass protection. You can bet that Tennessee defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will be blitzing the A gap plenty in the 2015 regular season opener until Tampa Bay figures out a way to pick it up and protect the interior pocket for the rookie quarterback. Winston also had a bad interception, throwing the ball blindly while being sacked, and could have thrown three or four more picks if the Browns defenders would have hung on to the ball. If Winston doesn’t play in the preseason finale, he enters the regular season without throwing a touchdown pass and with two interceptions.

Winston’s Final Stats: 6-of-15 (40 percent) for 90 yards with no TDs and one INT, 1 carry for 5 yards and was sacked four times

PewterReport.com Preseason Grade: D

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 spent six years 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: sr@pewterreport.com
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macabee
macabee
5 years ago

I’m not going to offer a ration of excuses for my Bucs tonight. While there were individual moments (Kwon and Gholston), plain and simple, they played badly on both sides of the ball. I do, however, want to emphasize two points that should be fairly obvious to anyone that watched the game. One, the importance of a disciplined O-Line cannot be overstated. The Browns have a so-so defense, but an excellent O-Line and it made McCown look like a pro-bowler at times. We can’t expect for any QB to perform without a reasonable degree of protection. Two, the word is… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  macabee
5 years ago

Well stated Mac as always. I didn’t get a chance to watch this game and I’m glad I didn’t. But from what I’m reading everywhere , it sounds like the line play on both sides was terrible. I then look at the starting offensive line unit and I see Evans Smith was starting. Why do I get this feeling he has a lot to do with our o-line problems? Again I didn’t see the game , but the only game that a defense hasn’t gotten fierce pressure up the middle was against the Bengals , who have a killer d-tackle… Read more »

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

I would play our starting OLine and DLine Thursday as they both need it. Coach said it all; we played poorly.

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Dbuc63
Dbuc63
5 years ago

Nah, why risk injury. WE need to take a good look at our 2nd team players. C’mon we should expect this from the Bucs this year. The Bucs will be inconsistent all year with 2 new OL and a rookie QB. This with an average secondary at best. We do not have a locked in DE for consistent pressure either. At times the Buc will look like a 12-4 team and other times they will look 4-12. The good news is we are getting better and another good draft like this one next year will put us in really good… Read more »

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

As I have for 40 years now, I don’t get too excited or disappointed over these exhibition games. It’s comical to me how we fans ride the Raheem Morris roller coaster every week. I’ll keep my emotions in check until the real games. That said, what I liked in the Bengals game most was the attitude the team brought to the game. Maybe inspired by his presence, to have some Simeon Rice swagger. This outing was just the opposite. Other than a few exceptions like Alexander, Martin and Gholston, the team looked like the Johnathan Martin bulling target of the… Read more »

surferdudes
surferdudes
5 years ago

They beat us up front. Yes the middle was part of that. EDS needs to be replaced by Warren. What good is Smiths experience if he keeps getting knocked backwards? Go with Warren, he’s bigger, more stout at the point of attack, and snaps the ball better then Smith. Winston stuggles with pressure up the middle, he did last year with the Noles till they moved the big Irving to center. Make the move Lovie.

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macabee
macabee
5 years ago

Another observation: I went back and listened to the Winston presser and 20 seconds into the tape, Winston acknowledged the problem with the blitzes, but said that they did not want to show all the ways they have to get out of them – as if there were plays that could have been called but were not for future game planning reasons (someone check out the tape and see if you heard what I think I heard). To that point, I thought OC Koetter’s play calling was somewhat odd in the face of steady blitzes. He did not run draws,… Read more »

surferdudes
surferdudes
5 years ago

Yeah Mac just watched his presser and frankly I don’t get it. There’s things we could’ve done but didn’t want to show anything. Don’t you need to practice what you’ll eventually do, and would you rather get your rookie Q.B. killed then show what you have? Makes no sense to me. Love Jameis not throwing his O line under the bus even though they played like they got run over by one.

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EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
5 years ago

Preseason is just practice fellas….they treated it like practice, repeating certain plays over and over (especially the ones they got wrong)…they didn’t show all of their tricks because there’s nothing to be gained….winning preseason games is for the bookies….Lovie is just trying to work on things, and to that end probably loved the steady flow of blitzes to which he could practice the OL….lord knows they need the practice!

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