Tampa Bay Buccaneers second year quarterback, Jameis Winston, heads into this season with loads of confidence. The former Florida State Seminole has completely taken control of the team and is the definitive leader of the clubhouse. Coming off a rookie campaign that saw him become a Pro Bowl selection, Winston is looking to further silence his doubters. With a plethora of weapons around him, and an improving offensive line, the former Heisman trophy winner is set up nicely for a breakout season. The front office did a masterful job this off-season of adding pieces to a young and developing defense. Additions like Brent Grimes in free agency, and draft picks Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence bode well for the immediate success of the Buccaneers pass coverage and pass rush. Meanwhile, Winston and the offense are poised for a big year.
2016 Will Be Jameis Winston’s Breakout Season
Winston’s off-season included spending a lot of time with third year wide receiver Mike Evans. Evans has already made quite the name for himself in his short career with the Buccaneers. Looking back at his college days it’s apparent to see how much of Johnny Manziel’s collegiate success stemmed directly from throwing to Evans. Seriously, look at where they are now. Evans has elite talent at a position with so few elite playmakers. If Winston’s growth as a quarterback influences Evans’ growth as a receiver, fans could be in for something special this season.
Doug Martin rushed for over 1,400 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. All he has to do is remain consistent with this sort of production and the sky’s the limit for Tampa Bay’s offense. Winston’s ability to lean on the run game as a rookie was paramount to the success he had. However, as much of a quick study and gym rat as he is, Winston will look to accelerate his progress as quickly as possible. If he has to turn away from the rushing attack after falling behind early in a game, Winston should be more capable of thriving in that situation during his second season. After producing up and down numbers since his rookie year, surely Martin would like to repeat last season’s performance as well.
In January of 2016 the Buccaneers shook up their front office by promoting Dirk Koetter to head coach. Last season, as offensive coordinator, Koetter developed a great relationship with Winston and was able to develop a game plan that they could both work with. Koetter hired Todd Monken as the new offensive coordinator a week after he became the head coach. Monken worked with Koetter in Jacksonville earlier in his career. However, Koetter will retain play-calling duties this season and the offense should be very similar to last season’s. The plan is to allow Winston to become more comfortable and familiar with his reads during his second year. The hope being that the play-calling head coach and the young quarterback can propel each other to new heights.
To conclude, Jameis Winston has an opportunity to join the elite tier of quarterbacks this season. All he has to do is maintain his current trajectory as a professional; considering his pedigree as a former Gatorade Player of the year, Heisman trophy/National Championship MVP, and first overall draft pick. Scouts and analysts have often compared him to the likes of Cam Newton and Russell Wilson, but Winston is his own breed of play maker. There’s no reason to believe he can’t throw for 4,600 yards and 30+ touchdowns this season, while rushing for six or seven scores on the ground. Nonetheless, preparation for Winston’s second season has Buccaneers fans everywhere excited for the first time in a very long time.