The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking for immediate signs of growth from Jameis Winston under new head coach Bruce Arians. In 2007, Arians became the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers and helped coach Ben Roethlisberger to his first Pro Bowl season. Many have compared the two quarterbacks since Jameis was in college.
New Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has given himself the nickname “The Quarterback Whisperer”. He has worked with many great players such as Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer, and Ben Roethlisberger. In Tampa, he gets a very talented player in former first overall pick Jameis Winston and now the two have to show what their talent brings in the form of touchdowns and wins.
Big Ben’s 2007 Season
In 2005, Roethlisberger led Pittsburgh to their fifth Super Bowl win in his second season in the league. The Steelers brought a strong defensive attack and had a good running game that helped ease the load on Ben. He threw for 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the season to go along with 2,385 yards. Good numbers, but he rarely had to do the heavy lifting in his early years. In 2006 he had his first inconsistent year as he threw for 3,513 yards, but just 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Bruce Arians was promoted to offensive coordinator the following season after being the wide receivers coach since 2003.
Looking at Roethlisberger’s 2007 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be excited for what Arians can do with Jameis Winston. Roethlisberger threw for 3,154 yards, 32 touchdowns, and just 11 interceptions, completing 65% of his passes. He led the Steelers to 10 wins while earning his first Pro Bowl nod.
In one season, Bruce Arians helped coach Roethlisberger to his highest touchdown total and best completion percentage since his rookie season. Big Ben looked like a much better passer one season after throwing 23 interceptions. The season led to the highest passer rating in his career with a rating of 104.1. That is still his highest passer rating to date.
Jameis Winston = Big Ben?
Coming out of college Winston was most often compared to Roethlisberger and statistically, it has shown to be pretty spot on. Through four seasons Roethlisberger had amassed 84 touchdowns, 54 interceptions to go with 11,673 yards through the air. Jameis has thrown for 88 touchdowns, 58 interceptions, and 14,628 yards.
In a stylistic form, they are very similar as they both possess great size for the position with both standing above 6’4″. They both do their best work when scrambling around and manipulating the pocket. Both signal callers have shown the big arm that franchises crave in their quarterback. The biggest difference between the players has been wins. Roethlisberger had arguably the best start to a career with winning a Super Bowl in his second season. The year before he had a 15-0 record as a rookie starter.
Weapons in the Bay
Roethlisberger has always been blessed to have great receiver play in Pittsburgh with players like Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and Antonio Brown. He has never had a group as talented as the one in Tampa though. Both Winston and Coach Arians are blessed and ready to work with them all.
Bruce Arians will have arguably the best group of pass catchers in the league to work with now in Tampa Bay, especially if he can convince Desean Jackson to stay for the final season under his contract. Mike Evans has proved to be amongst the six best wide receivers in the league. Number three wide receiver Chris Godwin has progressed enough in his second season and looks to become the number two in Tampa. Tight end O.J. Howard was looking primed to be a Pro Bowl player before being shut down in 2018 due to injury. He will easily be the best tight end Arians has ever coached.
The real question is how will Winston do in his fifth season under center? Playing in what is essentially an interview year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job as well as many others, Winston needs to display the talents that warranted the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Bucs, and fans alike, should expect Winston’s first 30 plus touchdown season and about 4,500 yards which should be the easier feat considering his past success.
The main concern has always been his penchant for turning the ball over. Fumbles are hard to predict and can be attributed to the offensive line, somewhat. The interceptions are directly attributed to the decision making of the quarterback in which Winston needs to improve. I truly do expect Winston to take care of the ball like he did when he returned from his benching in 2018. He has improved his consistency and will continue to show better poise in the pocket. If he can keep his interception total below 15, it should be considered a success. Along with better defensive play on the other side of the ball, the Bucs can be a playoff contender.
Bruce Arians will bring a successful offense to Tampa, and everyone’s hope is that Winston will have a career similar to Roethlisberger’s. Roethlisberger has two rings with three Super Bowl appearances. Winston has shown great promise as a thrower while passing for over 4,000 yards in his first two seasons to start his career. He has thrown for more touchdowns than interceptions in every year he has played and has never thrown for more than 18 interceptions.
Winston has also accrued five comeback wins and has none game-winning drives in his four seasons in the league. He has shown enough to continue as the starter in Tampa and his fifth season will be the one that shows the world he’s the guy for the future as well.