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Winston struggles vs. Pats
Well that was an interesting Thursday Nighter. The Patriots just edged the Bucs 19-14 in a game that Tampa should’ve gone ballistic. While kicker Nick Folk deserves a fair share of the blame here, fingers should also be menacingly pointed at Jameis Winston.

Winston played quarterback on Thursday Night the same way that your little brother plays Madden ’18. Going for it on first down, not throwing it away, mismanaging the play clock every chance he gets…it’s unbearable to watch at times.

Over the course of the game, I talked to a colleague and we wondered aloud if Winston would put up good numbers if it wasn’t for Mike Evans. I mean, Winston just doesn’t look like a guy a team should invest in.

Now is the time that the Bucs will consider whether or not to offer a $100M+ extension for their quarterback. Isn’t this the game where Winston should’ve blown up the world and proven that he’s worth it?

Everyone has been laying waste to the Patriots, who entered the Thursday Night Football Game allowing 32.0 points against on average over four weeks. And then Jameis Winston got a home field advantage, with a great performance by running back Doug Martin and still couldn’t do a damn thing. I mean look at how he compares to everyone else who has skewered New England this season:

Week 1 Alex Smith (KC) 368 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT, 80.0%
Week 2 Drew Brees (NO) 356 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 60.0%
Week 3 Deshaun Watson (HOU) 301 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 66.7%
Week 4 Cam Newton (CAR) 316 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT, 75.9%
Week 5 Jameis Winston (TB) 334 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 56.5%

If you watched the game like the rest of America, you probably didn’t even realize that Winston threw for 334 yards. It didn’t matter. In fact it’s worse than you think. Drew Brees was mauled by the Patriots in a blowout and still had a better game. Winston couldn’t even complete two-thirds of his passes and it’s not like he didn’t have plenty of opportunities.

Trust me, this gets way, way worse. Look at these two mystery players (spoiler alert – one of them is Jameis Winston):

Player 1 – 58.4 CMP % / 1.37 TD / 0.06 INT / 50.9 QBR
Player 2 – 60.7 CMP % / 1.6 TD / 0.05 INT / 56.4 QBR

Take a billion guesses at who “Player 1” is. I bet you’ll never imagine that it’s Josh Freeman’s averages over 57 games as the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the length of his rookie contract. Winston’s sample size is over the entirety of his career, which is 35 games. Brace yourselves. This is about to get even weirder.

In 2016 during his sophomore campaign, Winston threw 4,090 yards, 28 touchdowns and 18 picks while completing 60.8 percent of his passes. It was virtually identical to his rookie season. During the 2012 season, Freeman threw for 4,065 yards, 27 touchdowns and 17 picks while completing 54.8 percent of his passes. Basically, Freeman and Winston are identical in production, and a few other things.

Josh Freeman had the world at his doorstep before he came off his career-best 2012 season and got benched three games in to 2013. People were openly talking about how much money the Bucs should pay him through an extension, and before Freeman could throw another crappy pass, his career was basically over. The team cut him after Week 5 because he became so petulant.

This by no means suggests that Winston has the same attitude problems that crushed Freeman, but their numbers and playing styles are eerily similar. Like Freeman, Winston needs a volume based approach to be effective and it’s really not a great look for him. In 2015, Winston hauled 535 attempts and had a completion percentage of 58.3. In 2016, the Bucs upped his usage to 567 attempts and he completed 60.8 percent of his passes.

Through the last two games, we’ve seen Winston make a series of inexcusable decisions. Against a pathetic Patriots defence that’s been chewed up by every opponent, Winston couldn’t even convert third-downs at a decent rate. Both the Pats and Bucs converted on third-down just four times Thursday night, but at least Brady had the excuse of not having Gronkowski. What’s the excuse for Winston? That he sucks?

I get that a lot of people like Winston’s character. He’s a leader. The guys love playing for him. He works his tail off. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but we said all the same things about Josh Freeman.

Nothing epitomized Winston’s performance more than the final play of the game when he threw the ball behind O.J. Howard. The rookie tight-end hadn’t even turned around to look for the ball, meaning that he was instructed to turn once he’d crossed the goal line. Beyond that, the pass was batted down pretty easily by New England. Either way, the whole thing seemed absolutely rushed. Winston had time since he only had three defenders applying pressure, and he decided to unleash the pass before it had even developed.

Combine that with his comical overthrows, the fact that he never checks down to gain chunk yardage and that he doesn’t have the athleticism to get things done on the ground the way people think he can and you have a package that’s not worth extending if you’re the Buccaneers.

That was an almost inconceivable possibility at the onset of the 2017 season. Instead, we’re 13 games away from Winston not only sharing the same statistical metrics as Freeman, but also the same unfortunate fate.

Get to the sportsbook to hedge those long-term Bucs bets you made in the futures by attacking the NFL Week 5 lines at!

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