TAMPA – Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston may or may not feel as if he was supported properly by his coach while he fought through his recent shoulder injury, but he certainly can’t complain about a lack of support from his offensive line.
With one notable exception, that coming a week ago during a 24-21 loss at Green Bay, where the Packers plowed through a make-shift line to rack up seven sacks and 13 hits on him, Winston has been protected rather well this year.
That was the case again on Sunday against the Lions as the same make-shift line that included third-team center Evan Smith and third-team right tackle Caleb Benenoch bounced back rather well to allow nine quarterback hits while keeping Winston clean on 33 of his 42 dropbacks.
The problem was that Winston didn’t do a very good job of taking advantage of those clean pockets. He threw both of his interceptions (and nearly a third) while completing just 23-of-32 passes for an 81.1 passer rating when kept clean, according to Pro Football Focus.
Even worse was Winston’s performance throwing the ball downfield. Despite working from a rather tidy pocket most of the day, Winston completed just nine of the 17 passes he threw 10 yards or more downfield for 154 yards, the two picks and a passer rating of 44.3, per PFF.
That’s rather typical for Winston, though. For the year now, he has completed just 73 of the 154 passes he’s thrown 10 yards or more downfield for a 47.4-percent completion rate, 1,349 yards, 10 touchdowns and all eight of his interceptions.
That adds up to a passer rating of 78.1, which suggests that throughout the course of the season, Winston has more or less failed to take full advantage of the rather good work the offensive line has done in keeping him clean.
This third year in the league was supposed to have been a breakout year for Winston. It hasn’t worked out that way and judging by these numbers he certainly can’t blame it on a lack of support, not from his offensive line and probably not from his coach either.
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