QUESTION: Will the Bucs regret letting Jameis Winston go?
ANSWER:I assume you’re referencing Jameis Winston’s five-touchdown debut as the New Orleans starter in the Saints’ 38-3 win over the Packers? The short answer is that time will tell if letting Winston go will cause the Bucs to regret their decision. If Winston is the quarterback in New Orleans for a decade or more and wins Super Bowls and beats the Bucs regularly from now on, then yes, there could be some regret – in the future.
But the longer, more complicated answer is that there is certainly no one in their right mind questioning the Bucs’ decision to let Winston go after the 2019 season and sign Tom Brady as his replacement. While 44-year old Brady will only play a few more years in Tampa Bay due to his age, he won a Super Bowl in his first season in Tampa Bay. And was the MVP of Super Bowl LV, too. And Brady out-dueled Patrick Mahomes in the process. And because of Brady all 22 starters are back with the Bucs this season to try to defend their championship and win it all again.
A quick look around the NFC South shows the Bucs leading with two Super Bowl titles in two tries. The Saints have one in their lone try. The Falcons and Panthers are each 0-2 in their quest for a world championship. The fact that Tampa Bay won a Super Bowl trophy last season is complete validation for parting ways with Winston.
We’ll see how Winston fares the rest of the season before anointing him the NFL MVP. Maybe Sean Payton has finally gotten the INTs out of Winston’s system. I personally like Winston and hope he lives up to his potential in the NFL. But the reality is that Winston came to the Bucs in 2015 knowing that he had to eliminate turnovers and stop forcing the ball into coverage.
He had five years – five years! – to stop throwing interceptions. That’s on him for trying to do too much and not taking care of the ball despite that being preached to him for five years under three different coaching staffs.
What happened to Winston in his fifth-year option season in Tampa Bay? He threw a career-high 30 interceptions and became the first NFL player to throw for 30 TDs and 30 INTs in the same season. Bruce Arians, the guy named “the Quarterback Whisperer,” didn’t think he could salvage Winston and sought an upgrade in Brady. I wholeheartedly trust Arians’ opinion on QBs. That was undoubtedly the right call last year.
Super Bowls are incredibly hard to win, and who knows what the future holds? The future is always uncertain. What is certain is that Brady helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl last year in Tampa Bay and Winston failed to help the Bucs even get to the playoffs.
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