While it wasn’t a meteoric crash of epic proportions, QB Jameis Winston did fall back to earth a little on Friday. Of course duplicating his terrific success of Thursday would be asking a little too much from a rookie. And in the case of the media, we may be making way too much of both the highs and lows of Tampa Bay’s rookie signal-caller so far in camp.
On Friday, as practice began, Winston – along with Mike Glennon and Seth Lobato – spent the first part of the day working with QB coach Mike Bajakian practicing some simple play-action drop backs from under center and finding the running backs in the flat. Next came straight drops from under center and working with quick seam passes with the tight ends. All three quarterbacks did well in the drill.
Bajakian tried to affect the throws by swatting at the QBs simulating pressure from the edge in the next drill. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter got in quite the workout as well, as he played a simulated linebacker role and used paddles to try and affect the throws from the quarterbacks as well.
The general theme for Winston has been slow starts. Of course in most of the practices the defense is, by design, working to make his job incredibly difficult, throwing different looks and blitzes his way. No one could even begin to make a reasonable argument that the Bucs coaching staff is trying to baby Winston. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Lovie Smith have thrown everything but a training tub full of cold ice water at Winston, in an attempt to rattle the young quarterback, and at times it has created some problems.
During the first 11-on-11 period the Bucs sent Lavonte David, and Bruce Carter on blitzes, and even a corner blitz from Alterraun Verner to try and give Winston problems. And it was Winston’s least productive period as he only went 3-of-7 with an interception on his first pass attempt of the day on a long ball that was picked by cornerback Johnthan Banks.
Winston talked about his interception following practice.
“Just single high,” Winston said. “I gave my man a shot and the other guy – I mean, those guys are good over there. But like I said, it’s not about that. It’s about going out there and competing, it’s about getting better. Obviously it was three (interceptions), two and one, and, you know, hopefully it’s zero.”
In the next period Glennon took over with the first team working on Field 1 on power running and Winston went to the south end of the middle field where he worked with the receivers and cornerback going 1-on-1. Winston was equally unimpressive in this period as, finishing just 2-of-8. But as we have seen over the last six days, Winston would eventually get in a rhythm, and that is what next happened in the 7-on-7’s.
The Bucs defense was determined to make Winston be patient and for the most part he took the check downs instead of trying to force things down the field. Winston’ most impressive pass of the period came late when he hit tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on a deep cross moving right to left. The second year tight end caught the perfect pass in stride, but as he approached the sideline fumbled the ball before recovering it himself. Winston finished 8-of-11 in the drill.
Winston kept his accuracy up in the final 11-on-11 period going eight of ten including a nice deep ball to Mike Evans on scramble and roll to his right. Winton also had a fumbled snap that he picked up but still found Tavares King for a short gain. While it was a nice improvisation from Winston, in a game, trying to complete a pass after a fumble, normally leads to disaster. All Winston needs to do is call former Bucs QB Josh McCown to verify that.
Winston’s final numbers were affect by his receivers having some issues holding onto the ball. There were at least five legitimate drops on Friday.
Winston talked about his day following practice on Friday, and was asked if he felt he was learning something every day.
“Absolutely. I have no choice. We are installing new plays every single day. Different reads, different progressions and I’m throwing to different people all the time. So I have no choice but to get better every day. If I chose to take a day off, it wouldn’t be smart.”
Final Stats (unofficial): 21-of-36 (58 percent) with one interception
PewterReport.com Practice Grade: C