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.
Thursday’s camp saw the offense get completely outmatched by Todd Bowles’ defense, specifically the defensive backs. By the end of the team’s first 11-on-11 period on Friday it seemed as though it would be more of the same as Winston struggled to get much of anything going and finding completions few and far between.
After a short break in periods the team returned to 11-on-11 drills where it seemed that Winston had woken up, connecting on a deep ball to Breshad Perriman down the right sideline, with Carlton Davis in coverage, before adding nice completions to Evans, Brate and just missing Godwin over the middle.
Moving to the team’s red zone period, Winston was stellar. In the first rotation for the first-team offense, Winston threw three consecutive touchdown passes to begin the drill. He first struck O.J. Howard for six on a great throw with Devin White in coverage.
On the next play Winston hit Perriman over the middle of the field for another touchdown and capped it off by finding Howard in the end zone again. When he rotated in again, after the second- and third-teams took their run at the period, he hit Perriman again for his fourth touchdown pass of the drill.
Moving back to seven-on-seven drills Winston started to get shaky again. His completion percentage dropped back to mediocre, he was struggling to find a rhythm and it was capped off by a deep ball to a wide open Perriman that was left short and luckily knocked down for an incomplete pass as opposed to an interception.
In the final period of practice, the team’s simulated game scenarios, the wheels just seemed to fall off for Winston. He struggled early and shortly after his first drive began he sent a pass off the hands of Cam Brate and into the hands of M.J. Stewart for an interception.
With one chance left in practice Winston seemed to find a groove but it was squandered. In a late-game scenario with no timeouts left Winston dropped in a nice completion to Howard, a pass to Evans in the flat that drew defensive pass interference for a first down, two completed passes to Godwin that moved them down the field and a screen to Perriman.
Then it went downhill. Following the screen Winston telegraphed a pass to Evans that was read like a book, jumped and absolutely should have ended the drive with an interception by Vernon Hargreaves. On the next play he was chased out of the pocket and threw the ball away and then on fourth down he escaped the pocket again, stepped up and fired an interception to safety Mike Edwards to end the possession and the practice with a turnover.
Bruce Arians thought Winston’s performance was solid overall, particularly in the red zone. Arians spoke about the progress Winston is making, along with the progress that he’s seen from the offense as a whole, following Friday’s practice.