Jameis Winston had the best under-pressure season in a decade in 2016
The Bucs quarterback knows how to handle pass-rusher.
Jameis Winston has had a really promising preseason, looking much more accurate than he has in the past two years. But accuracy is only one part of being a quarterback. Another part, one crucial in an NFL where great pass-rushers seem to be everywhere except on the Bucs’ roster, is how to handle pressure.
Winston really is Cam Newton’s doppelganger. They both throw the deepest passes in the league at over 10 air yards per attempt. They led the NFL in off-target throw rate, partially due to the difficulty of their throws. They love to make things happen under pressure, and Winston actually had the highest QBR under pressure of any quarterback season since 2006 according to ESPN’s database. They both need really tall receivers to bring down some of those high or wide throws. I think Winston has a chance to become a more consistent passer than what Newton has done through six years, but we’ll see. Winston really does throw some dumb interceptions, and we saw that this preseason as well.
Okay, that Cam Newton quote is a little eh….no. Newton’s a much better runner than Winston is, and has a much more powerful arm—he’s also not as good under pressure, and Winston’s a much better touch passer. There’s some similarities, but calling them “doppelgangers” is just weird. Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger are better comparisons for Winston.
But, anyway, that’s the least interesting bit of that description. The most interesting bit is where Kacsmar says Winston had the highest QBR under pressure since 2006, among all quarterbacks. That sure is something impressive.
It bodes well for the future, of course, but it also bodes well for the here-and-now. Because this means that if the offensive line doesn’t quite get to where the coaches think it can, Winston will be able to compensate to some extent—as he did the past two years. And that’s the kind of thing that can save a team’s season, and make the difference between success and failure.
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