With the last two games as the sample, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is trying so hard to buy into Jameis Winston.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went to 3-6 with a 30-27 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, as quarterback Jameis Winston led a clutch drive and finished with 358 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
In the final year of his contract, it has seemed like a foregone conclusion Winston is playing his last games for the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2015. It’s also been just as inevitable that head coach Bruce Arians is stuck with him for the rest of the season, barring injury, since not even a six-turnover game in Week 6 got him even close to being benched for Ryan Griffin.
But via Peter King’s Football Morning In America column, Arians praised Winston’s effort over the last two games and opened the door to the idea Winston will remain the Buccaneers’ quarterback next year.
He’s taken us down the field to win or tie the game the last two weeks in the last two minutes,” Arians told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America. “That’s the maturity of a young quarterback you’re looking for. If he plays like he has the last two weeks for the rest of the season, I’d say there’s a really good chance.
Winston has topped 300 yards in all three games since Tampa Bay’s bye. But he also thrown four interceptions and fumbled five times (three lost) over that span, and the Buccaneers have lost two of the three.
Overall this season Winston is completing less than 60 percent of his passes with an 83.8 passer rating, a 46.4 QBR (48.3 ESPN QBR), a 17:14 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 10 fumbles (four lost). He is third in the league in passing yards entering Monday night’s game (2,765), but he’s also third in attempts right now and his other numbers are lower tier among qualified quarterbacks. He also taken a league-high 34 sacks.
Maybe Arians legitimately thinks Winston is progressing and maturing. But a two-game sample against most of a career is not enough to buy into that notion. So Arians seems to be trying to convince himself Winston has turned a corner, while also engaging in a bit of coach-speak to prop up his quarterback.