Posted on July 20, 2018, by Travis Pulver
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Jameis Winston with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, they hoped they were getting everything a team should in a No. 1 pick. Despite the off-field controversy that surrounded him, they hoped he could be the face of the franchise. Of course, if he won games, off-field antics would mean little.
Fast forward a few years and it is starting to look like the Buccaneers may be more interested in putting some distance between the team and Winston.
It seems that the Buccaneers decided not to use Winston in a recent slate of promotion videos. While they did have some of the more recognizable faces involved, Gerald McCoy, Mike Evans, and Kwon Alexander. But rather than feature the starting quarterback in the other, they featured the defensive line.
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Of course, they are just videos and nothing more. Winston’s exclusion from the videos probably means nothing. It could be that more is being made of it since there isn’t a ton of sports news to talk about right now.
But it could also be the team quietly toe-toeing away from someone who hasn’t lived up to the hype and has become bad for business.
In a way, he has played well on the field. But, at the same time, he hasn’t played well enough. Had he not missed three games last season he would have likely entered rarified territory by starting his career with three 4000+ yard seasons. His completion percentage has gone up each season as has his QB rating.
But there is one very important aspect of his game that is not up to par— ball security. He went from 18 turnovers his rookie season (15 interceptions, three fumbles) to 24 in 2016 (18 interceptions, six fumbles) to 21 turnovers last season (11 interceptions, ten fumbles).
When it comes down to it, the team hasn’t improved where it needs to most, the win column (six in 2015; 9 in 2016; 5 in 2017).
While it would be nice to see more wins on the board, that isn’t entirely Winston’s fault. But the PR messes he has been involved in is his fault. After being investigated for sexual assault in college, you would hope he had learned his lesson. But it appears he didn’t during a ride with an Uber driver. As a result, he is going to miss the first three games of the season.
To compound that problem, just like his immaturity took center stage in college, it did so again recently. A local reporter chastised Winston for the “JAMEIS AGAINST THE WORLD” shirt his trainer wore in an Instagram video. Rather than take it for what it was— someone just turning something in to kill time until the season starts—Winston felt the need to comment.
You could say his comment was just like the team’s promotion videos—no big deal. But you could also wonder why he isn’t just keeping his head down and doing his job. Why bring attention upon himself with the t-shirt in the first place?
He screwed up and got suspended. Dallas Cowboys fans would say he should feel lucky he didn’t get a six-game suspension.
But maybe he isn’t mature enough to realize when it is okay to make things about himself and when it needs to be about the team. Perhaps he isn’t mentally ready to be the leader of an NFL team or the face of a franchise.
Maybe there is more to his exclusion from the videos than anyone that knows will admit (or maybe there isn’t…).