FSU Alums: Jameis Winston not to blame for 2017 failures in Tampa Bay

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24: Jameis Winston
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24: Jameis Winston /

Jameis Winston will conclude his third season with the Bucs on Sunday – and it’s time people realize that the down year was not his fault.

Entering the 2017 NFL season, there was a general thought that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – led by former FSU star and former first overall pick Jameis Winston – would be one of the teams playing well into the month of January. As things played out, the Bucs will end their season Sunday  where a loss to New Orleans would give them a third year of 12 losses in the last seven season.

Coming with all the success – and off field dealings – that he had in Tallahassee coupled with being the “savior” of the franchise when picked first overall in 2015, the blame from many is falling squarely on the shoulders of Winston. Doing that might just end up being the dumbest thing when you look at the numbers.

Let us not forget that this is the same Jameis Winston who threw for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons in the league, leading Tampa Bay to a 9-7 season (their first winning campaign since 2010) and within a game of their first playoff appearance since 2007.

This season, Winston still has been productive by ranking 17th in total passing yards (out of 40 quarterbacks) with over 3,100 yards so far – ranking him ninth in yards per game and in completion percentage. In essence, Jameis is doing is part and holding up his end of the bargain.

The rest of the Buccaneers? Well, that all can’t be said for other members. The rushing game in Tampa Bay hasn’t been able to bail Jameis Winston out at all, coming in 27th out of the 32 NFL teams by only being able to get 89 yards a game on the ground. It also doesn’t help that Winston has been sacked 31 times, which ranks for 13th most in the league.

Has the defense helped out this season? In a word, no. Through the first 15 games of the season, Tampa Bay ranks 31st in total defense – coming in dead last against the pass and tied for 24th against the run. The Bucs are currently ranked dead last in third down defense – after being ranked number one last season.

Why does Jameis Winston get all the blame? Well, it starts with being the top overall pick followed by a cynical world we live in where people love to make fun of the passion with which he plays while they sit at home typing on a keyboard. Add to that the people who believe he got away with crimes while at FSU and you have the perfect villain for people’s narrative.

Next: Former Noles in NFL bit by injury bug in 2017

As with most things, numbers never lie – and the numbers go to show that Jameis Winston may not be completely blameless for this season, but he for darn sure isn’t the sole reason.