Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is in a critical contract year and is learning a
new offense for the first time since arriving in Tampa Bay in 2015.
PewterReport.com will chronicle each one of Winston’s practices during camp
in the Winston Watch.
The biggest obstacle for Jameis Winston in Sunday’s practice wasn’t exactly something he could control. As Bruce Arians put it after practice, the Bucs defense threw the kitchen sink at Winston. And with it being the first day of full pads, it gave the opportunity for Tampa Bay’s defense to really get in his grill.
Even before there were full 11-on-11 drills, Winston wasn’t as sharp as he could possibly be. In the first passing drills indoors when it was only wide receivers against defensive backs, Winston got off to a fine start with a 15-yard reception to Breshad Perriman followed another completion for significant gain. He followed that up thought with an overthrow on one pass and an interception that should have been had if Jordan Whitehead had not dropped it. Winston completed the drill on a positive note with this completion again to Evans.
As practice moved along and outside to 11-on-11 drills, the unique blitzes increased and it made the offensive line stumble. Winston was always moving to create space for himself, or checking down for a short reception. When he did make some throws downfield, most of the time they were to Mike Evans, with the exception of a great 20-yard pass downfield to his former Florida State teammate, Bobo Wilson.
On Friday, Arians mentioned that he felt Winston over did it and threw the ball too much during his practices this summer at Florida State, and wanted to limit some of his reps early on. They may have been the case on Sunday as Winston threw just two passes during goal line drills – one incomplete to tight end O.J. Howard and one touchdown to a wide open running back Andre Ellington. The touchdown to Ellington was a sloppy throw and Ellington had to adjust to make a great catch despite no one being around him. It was the only touchdown pass he had on the day.
Winston probably had his best start to any of the sessions on Sunday’s practice when they moved to the 7-on-7 period. He started out with completions to Howard, Ronald Jones, Evans, and a big gain to Justin Watson. But again, he was forced to check the ball down plenty due to tight coverage from the corners, yet he was able to pick his spots. One of Wintson’s issues has been throwing the deep ball over the middle, and he had a bad overthrow on a pass intended for Chris Godwin that sailed at least five yards over his head.
The limited amount of reps carried over for Winston once the Bucs went to their second 11-on-11 session. Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin took most of the reps in this portion, with Winston throwing a small number of passes. That included a bat down at the line by Ndamukong Suh and just a screen pass.
In the final 11-on-11 drill that included a race against the clock where Winston had some ups and downs. He started off well with a long completion to Godwin, but then fell victim to a drive-killing interception by Vernon Hargreaves. Arians did confirm after practice that a bad route by Perriman was the culprit.
Winston ended the day on a positive note with a deep bomb to Evans down the right sideline. The two of them were clicking the entire practice.
On the day, Winston didn’t take too many shots down field, normally opting for the safe route. It was tough at times for him to get in rhythm with the defense really dialing up the blitzes. The practice was hard fought for all the quarterbacks. Yet Arians believed that Winston was consistent, given all that was thrown his way.