If I told you, you could have a QB who has thrown 58 touchdowns over 2 seasons, or a QB who has thrown 50 over those same 2 seasons, who would you take? Keeping in mind, both have had 40+ turnovers the last 2 seasons, you'd probably take QB #1. Well, what if I told you QB #2 had the best wide receiver of the bunch, a better defense to work with, and better coaching? QB #1 is looking even more attractive on an even playing field.
Remove the blindfold now. QB1 is Blake Bortles. QB2 is Jameis Winston. This isn't to say Bortles is better, I don't think he is, but it is to say -- Jameis has been just as shaky, but with less criticism from the national media, local media, and fans. Perhaps it's the benefit of the doubt because of what Jameis accomplished in college. Maybe it's the fact that Jameis went #1 overall (even though Bortles went 3rd)...or maybe it's the extra year Bortles has been stinking up the joint in the NFL. Either way, the truth is, they've both been less than stellar, and I'd argue Bortles has less to work with.
That last point is even more true now given the weapons the Bucs added in the offseason, drafting OJ Howard and signing D-Jax. Bortles now has Leonard Fournette to work with, so that ought to help, but we probably overrated the options he's had to work with over the years, and especially last year. Allen Robinson was exposed when he ran into double coverage, Allen Hurns was a one hit wonder, and Julius Thomas couldn't stay on the field. Oh, and the Jags had less than average running backs running behind a bottom 5 offensive line. Again, I'm not making excuses for Blake, he's been bad. I'm simply making the point that Jameis has as much to show us as Blake does entering 2017.
Let's look at the stats for Winston via CBSsports.com
- Only 2 QB's have thrown more interceptions since 2015 than Jameis Winston (33) -- Bortles and Rivers.
- Winston completed 34% of his 'deep-ball' passes in 2016, good enough for 20th out of 27 qualifying QB's
- Winston's career completion % is 59%, good enough for 33rd out of 43 qualifying QB's
This is a pivotal year for Winston and Bortles, but with the lofty expectations for the Bucs this year, Winston may be the Florida QB who's under the most scrutiny when the season ends in January.