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Jameis Winston: You’ve got to take the simple play

Jared Allen, Jameis Winston, Star Lotulelei


When Jameis Winston was on his way to becoming the first overall pick of the 2015 draft, one of the negatives that analysts picked up from his college days was his habit of throwing interceptions.

Winston threw one every 26 times he put the ball in the air while at Florida State last year and things haven’t improved upon his entry into the NFL. Winston has thrown seven interceptions this season, which works out to one in 19 passes and is obviously too many for any quarterback to succeed over the long term.

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said it wasn’t a “news flash” to see a rookie quarterback struggle with turnovers and said that you can’t “base the whole rest of Jameis’ career on that.” Both are true, but there are changes that Winston needs to make and he identified one of them while meeting with the media on Wednesday.

“We’ve got some great players around me on this team that can make plays,” Winston said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “I’ve just got to protect the football. It really is that simple. You’ve just got to take the simple play. Give it to your back and let him make a big. You can’t put everything on yourself. Sometimes, they make good plays. ... There are only so many ways you can sum up an interception, but at the same time, you’ve got to limit those.”

The Bucs play the Jaguars this weekend and Jags quarterback Blake Bortles said that not putting everything on his own shoulders was an important lesson he learned as a rookie last year. There will be others, but the Bucs may not have the ball often enough for Winston to learn them if he can’t get the interceptions under control over the rest of his first professional campaign.