Why This Is The Most Important Year For Bucs QB Jameis Winston In Tampa Bay

Buccaneers - Jameis Winston

By: John Mamola | @JohnMamola

(620 WDAE) - Welcome to yet another year of hype surrounding your favorite football franchise, it is June yes?  We're done with the off season free agency moves.  We're done with the senior bowl and showcased workouts and combine and pro days and, well you get the picture.

We're done with the actual NFL Draft itself.  We're done with the rookie mini camp followed by endless OTA workouts, and now wrapping up another mandatory mini camp.  The hype machine can finally take a break after six months of I told you so's and here's what I think's. 


As your favorite NFL franchise heads to their respective summer vacation, here are some things to know. 

#1 - Most predictions about your teams schedule will more than likely be incorrect

#2 - There will be that one or two members of your franchise that will get into some trouble over the summer break.  And if it doesn't happen, your team has a better shot at the playoffs!  Not really, but PREDICTIONS!

#3 - The next six weeks leading into training camp will be the longest six weeks of the NFL calendar, because they will be filled with BOLD predictions and BIG opinions.

So, let me offer this take for your eyes to behold.  

This is the biggest season in Jameis Winston's Buccaneers career.  

Buccaneers - Jameis Winston

I know what you're saying and rolling right now, and it's not a bowling ball or something that could really enhance this read.   And if it is that, please pass to a friend so they can read as well! 

The 24-year old signal caller is entering his fourth season as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer with a guaranteed fifth-year option already picked up before he even takes a snap in his fourth season in pewter and red.  How great is that?  Winston has proven in those three seasons he's durable (playing every regular season game but three in his career), productive (11,636 yards, 69 TD's, 60% completion percentage, 87.2 QB rating), and good for the community (see The Jameis Winston Dream Forever Foundation). 

Even amid being the subject of an NFL investigation into an allegation made by an Uber driver, who stated that Winston groped her crotch during a 2016 ride in Arizona. Winston denied the allegations through his agent, and his former college teammate, Ronald Darby, came to his defense as well.

Even amid all the issues Winston had as a national champion quarterback at Florida State including a sexual assault allegation, some vulgar comments that made headlines, and of course we all remember how famous Jameis made crab legs in the NFL.  

Stats and records aside, controversies and allegations in the rear view mirror, Jameis Winston has yet to prove one thing which leads me to this thought.   Jameis Winston has to take Tampa Bay to the postseason this season, or else he'll suffer the same fate many #1 overall picks have suffered before him.

Being remembered as irrelevant.

Buccaners - Jameis Winston

In the last 20 years there have been 15 quarterbacks drafted with the number one overall selection.  If you exclude this year's top pick in Baker Mayfield, five of the fourteen remaining quarterbacks have yet to play in a postseason game including Jameis Winston.

The ten quarterbacks that have made the post season are names that rhyme with Manning, Vick, Palmer, Smith, Stafford, Newton, Luck, and Goff.  The names in the same class as Winston?  

Bradford, Russell, Carr and Couch.  Names that make some NFL fans get bitter beer face without taking a sip.  The thing that makes Winston stand out from those four names however is that for the most part of his first three years in the NFL, he's been healthy.  Another thing is Winston has had at least one winning season in one of his first three seasons, which none of those four names ever did.  Winston also outperformed each one of those four names in nearly every statistic in his first three years.

Not to mention this is Jameis Winston's fourth year in the same offensive system under the same offensive coordinator with weapons as his disposal for another football season in Tampa Bay.  How many of those four names Jameis is included with can say that.  


And that's the point.  

Jameis Winston is a gifted talent, and has been given everything he's needed to be successful in his first three seasons in the National Football League.  He's been successful on the stat line, a winning season to boot.  He's got guaranteed money already barring major injury, so there's no contract pressure this year.  He's made a huge impact in the community after overcoming some baggage in college.  

But one thing Jameis Winston has yet to do is lead the Buccaneers to the postseason.  Isn't that the point of drafting a quarterback, the most important position in the game of football, number one overall? 

Believe in Jameis?  I do, but fans and Tampa Bay needs to see it and soon.  If there's no post season this year, you can assume the Buccaneers clean house with the coaching staff.  

Then what?  Are Buccaneers fans willing to continue and wait it out for another season with another coaching search and another new hire?  Another round of hype.  Another free agency period, combine, pro days, private workouts, draft, rookie camp, OTA, and mandatory mini camp.  

It's been a more than a decade since Buccaneers fans experienced playoff football.  Only the Cleveland Browns fans have waited longer, So say it with me Tampa Bay!  This year will forever mark Jameis Winston's playing legacy in Tampa Bay.

There is no time like the present.  Win THIS year!


John Mamola is the Program Director of Tampa Bay's Sports Radio 620 WDAE.   You can reach John on Twitter @JohnMamola or email johnmamola@620wdae.com

Photos Courtesy Of Getty Images

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