There is this huge misconception floating around that cites Jameis Winston as being the main reason the Buccaneers finished 5-11 last season.
That would mean the blame is laid at the feet of Winston for the 48 points the defense gave up in Chicago.
It was Winston’s fault the Bucs had an abysmal running game? It was the fault of Winston that the offense line was absolute crap and the worst in the NFL last season?
It was Winston’s fault that Ronald Jones and his rookie season was a bigger bust than quarterback Jamarcus Russell’s rookie season in Oakland in 2007, too, right?
In 2018, this Buccaneer offense scored 396 points, which was good for 11th in the league. Every team that scored more point than the Bucs made the playoffs except for two: Pittsburgh, which scored 428 points, and Atlanta, which scored 414.
The Bucs also averaged 415 yards per game, which was third in the league behind two of the best offenses in NFL history: the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Buccaneers had the No. 1 passing attack in the league last, season averaging 320 yards per game. Pittsburgh was second at 313 yards per game.
Sure, Ryan Fitzpatrick played the first three games at quarterback when the Bucs shocked New Orleans and Philadelphia in the first two matchups with Fitzpatrick passing for over 400 yards in each game. Fitzpatrick also put up over 400 yards against Pittsburgh in a Monday night loss.
The 2018 Buccaneers had the most prolific offense in the 42-year history of Buccaneer football and Jameis Winston was a big part of that.
Winston has 88 touchdown passes in his career. No one has had more at this stage of their career than Dan Marino, who had 98 touchdown passes at the age of 25.
Winston has 14,628 passing years. Drew Bledsoe is the only quarterback to have more passing yards at age 25, with 14,642.
Winston has 58 interceptions at his age which ties him with a couple of guys you may have heard of before: Peyton Manning and Terry Bradshaw.
Fran Tarkenton had 68 picks and Joe Namath had 70 by the time they were 25. That was also in an era where the running game was more of a priority offensively than the passing game.
Winston has a lot more pass attempts at his age than did Namath and Tarkenton and has less interceptions than these Hall of Famers.
Although wins and losses are not part of the quarterback stat lines, Winston is 21-33 as a starter.
There is no quarterback in the NFL who would have a winning record playing with that offensive line for years and a less than mediocre running game.
Winston is only 25 years old and his best football is still ahead of him. This will be his fifth year of starting for the Buccaneers.
New head coach Bruce Arians loves Winston and thinks that he can be a top quarterback in this league. Arians would not have come out of retirement to coach a below average quarterback who had no potential to reach the playoffs and ultimately have no chance at winning a Super Bowl.
With Byron Leftwich as the new offensive coordinator and Clyde Christensen the new quarterbacks coach, Jameis will be working very closely with coaches on his decision making and reducing his turnovers.
The Bucs offense has some good weapons around Jameis including wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, along with tight end O.J. Howard.
The Bucs told DeSean Jackson he was not welcomed back and he signed with the Eagles. At the same time, Adam Humphries signed with the Tennessee Titans; that loss will be felt more than the Jackson loss.
The Bucs signed another burner wide receiver in Breshad Perriman to replace Jackson and his speed. Perriman has just never been able to stay healthy. A change of scenery and a fresh start may help his game.
The Bucs also have Justin Watson and Bobo Wilson back from last year’s team. The Bucs also drafted wide receiver Scotty Miller, the speedy receiver from Bowling Green.
Cameron Brate is back along with Howard at the tight end position, as is Antony Auclair.
The Bucs are going to score points … that is a given. With some new voices in the coaching room, look for Winston to take that long awaited step in his career to that next level.
This is a very important year for Winston as he needs to show the organization that he can be the quarterback for the long term when they need to decide on wether they will offer Winston a second contract.
The Bucs offense does not need reviving. It is not on life support. This offense will be among the top five offenses in the league in 2019 led by the quarterback everyone loves to hate, Jameis Winston.