The decision between Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota was one Tampa Bay had on their minds back in the 2015 NFL Draft. Do they take the athletic quarterback or do they take the pocket passer? The Buccaneers ended up taking the pocket passer in Winston first overall and was ready to start a new era. Unfortunately, that era has not gone the way they thought it would. The Bucs have not made the playoffs yet with Winston at the helm and he hasn't exactly kept himself out of trouble either. This offseason, he was suspended for three games due to an incident with an Uber driver that happened a couple years ago. It was expected he would come back and be ready to go after that suspension. Well, he has looked anything but ready to go. Ryan Fitzpatrick was handling business as the starter and then had a rough start, giving the job back to Winston. After Winston's hard-luck start Sunday in Cincinnati, he was replaced by Fitzpatrick, who would lead them back into the game. And at that moment, it seemed like the run for Winston in Tampa Bay was over.
When he came in, there was so much hope for him. There was also a ton of concern. The incident with the crab legs from a grocery store along with the incident with a woman while he was at Florida State had plenty raising red flags about him from the beginning. While he has had some issues off the field, including his most recent one with the Uber driver, the biggest issues he has had come with his performance. Coming out of Florida State, he was touted as a leader of men on the field and a guy that could get it done when the team needed it. So far, he has not proven to be the leader of the Tampa Bay team he was expected to be. During his entire time, he has not ever seemed to have a pulse on his team or be the face of it. At this point in his career, he was supposed to be leading the team to the playoffs, not trying to figure out who he is on the field.
Along with his lack of growth as a leader on the field, Winston has also never grown as a consistent quarterback with his production. Some may want to blame that on the coaching he has received while being in Tampa, but Winston is the one ultimately that has failed himself. He has made some good plays, but he has also made some that make you scratch your head. Overall, Winston has thrown for 75 touchdowns over his career, but he has also thrown 54 interceptions, including the ten he has this season in only four games. Along with Winston not being very selective with the football, he has also not been able to utilize all the weapons he has, most notably DeSean Jackson. The veteran speedster and Winston have never really been able to get on the same page and as a result, the offense has suffered and so have Jackson's numbers. With the offense not opening up and Winston having issues not turning the ball over, it's easy to see why the time for him to leave has come.
Winston was highly-touted coming out of high school and college, but the success he had at those levels has not translated to the NFL level. At this point, it seems like he would do better with a fresh start somewhere else because things aren't clicking for him in Tampa and they never really have. The potential he had coming into the NFL has yet to materialize and the time has seemingly run out on him in Tampa.