First stop on the Winston roller-coaster ride: what does he do well?
If there is one word to describe Winston, it’s fearless.
He ranked second in the NFL last season with a 10.5 average depth of target, per NFL Next Gen Stats. That means that he is constantly giving his receivers a chance to make plays by constantly throwing the ball down the field, which is the most valuable intended throw.
This is the type of “upside” that allows you to throw for 5,000 yards. As Pro Football Focus alludes to in the below clip, his 31 big-time throw ranked 4th in the NFL:
Chris Godwin and Mike Evans was quite the big-play tandem in Tampa Bay, but it’s not like Winston won’t be supported in New Orleans. Michael Thomas isn’t seen as a deep threat, but his efficiency numbers when working down the field have always been strong- he simply hasn’t had the opportunity.
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Sanders, Jared Cook, Deonte Harris, and Tre’Quan Smith all are talented players capable of generating as well, and we know that running back Alvin Kamara is as much a receiver as a running back.
While Winston threw 30 interceptions, it is also worth noting that has a lot to do with the game script.
More from Who Dat Dish
- 3 teams that Jameis Winston can torch with his arm in 2022
- Bradley Roby sees Super Bowl comparisons in New Orleans Saints
- Saints Training Camp: 5 players who had us talking after Day 9
- NOLA Saints should have passed on LB Kiko Alonso
- Saints HC Dennis Allen compares Taysom Hill’s role to the Joker
The Bucs were consistently losing and in a lot of shootouts, and Bruce Arians’ offensive scheme demanded that Winston takes risks. Thus, simply from being on a better team and not needing to play “hero ball” in the fourth quarter, I’d expect Winston’s interception rate to be cut in half.
Despite having just a high average depth of target, Winston’s accuracy is generally not a concern.
His completion percentage above expectation was right around what his actual completion percentage was, which means that he completed as many passes as he should have. There is also not questioning his arm talent, which is a major reason why he was a #1 overall pick.
The main positive for Winston is that he may have been held back in Tampa Bay.
Head coach Bruce Arians hasn’t exactly impressed as a play-caller this season, as his early-down pass rates are generally too low, he doesn’t incorporate play-action passes, and his offense consists of a lot of long-developing plays.
That won’t be an issue with Sean Payton in New Orleans, and there is a lot to be intrigued about regarding his prospects in an offensive system that actually puts him in a position to succeed.