Clyde Christensen on reducing Jameis Winston miscues: “We try everything”

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Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has spent plenty of time making excuses for quarterback Jameis Winston and his propensity to turn the ball over, with 22 in 10 games this season. Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen was far less charitable when recently discussing the situation.

Appearing Tuesday on Buccaneers Radio (via, Christensen delicately placed blame on Winston for his miscues.

“We obviously haven’t found the right answer but we try everything, you know,” Christensen said. “It’s kind of, I feel like we’re rephrasing it in a different way, looking at it from a different angle every single week. We do different things. Some of the new things we’re doing, we’ll watch the turnovers in the league. There’s usually 15 or 16 quarterback fumbles a week in this league, which is shocking to me, even. You know, you just don’t think that. But balls are getting popped loose and guys are careless with the football and it’s usually the teams that are losing. . . . So we look at those, what caused them, how they were preventable. We do the same with the interception reel. We watch often [Jameis’] interception, what could we have done different. You know, and then we just talk about it a lot.”

Those efforts haven’t made a difference, culminating in four interceptions against the Saints on Sunday.

“[W]e haven’t gotten them fixed,” Christensen said. “It has to get fixed. And he knows it. I know it. We all know that. And I think the hardest thing to teach in this league is a quarterback who can get himself out of trouble and make some plays. . . . When do you cut your losses and get rid of the ball and punt it? These guys are wired such that it’s hard for them to give up on a play. You know, I get frustrated like [Jameis] does, like fans do, like everybody does. . . . That’s a hard teach, just because of how they are wired. It’s hard to just give up on a play. It’s a skill that has to be learned.”

Christensen is right, but at some point a quarterback either learns it, or he never does.

“We should be learning it now,” Christensen said. “It’s the fifth year. We’re not a rookie any more. And slowly but surely I think he’s got better on the protection thing and not taking the sacks and just being able to throw the thing out of bounds. But we still have the turnovers. We had the four this week. And they’re not all on the quarterbacks. Ours are unit-wide, but certainly, you know, our [quarterback] part is significant and we have to cut them out.”

Every team could blame a large chunk of its quarterbacks’ turnovers on others. But the turnovers still belong to the quarterback. And if the receivers are running bad routes or tipping into the air passes that should be caught, it’s on the quarterback at some level to demand a higher degree of accountability. Some quarterbacks (like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) know how to do that, which contributes to reduced turnovers that would have been the fault of someone other than the quarterback.

The proof is in the numbers. Russell Wilson has 23 touchdowns and two interceptions. Kirk Cousins has 21 and three. Patrick Mahomes has 19 and two. Aaron Rodgers has 17 and two. Quarterbacks can move the ball effectively, without generating interceptions that are or aren’t his fault.

This season, Jameis Winston has 19 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions. In year five of his career, that’s not good enough to make him a franchise quarterback. While he has the skills to be a franchise’s quarterback next year and beyond (because there simply aren’t enough competent quarterbacks to go around), it’s safe to say that he has arrived at his ceiling, and that his ceiling keeps him from being regarded as a top-half-of-the-league quarterback.

Because there’s a bottom half of the league, too, it means he’ll have a job next year. But no one should expect him to suddenly become a better quarterback than what he has become during his time in the NFL.

14 responses to “Clyde Christensen on reducing Jameis Winston miscues: “We try everything”

  1. The Bucs have as much talent on offense as anyone and Winston can’t get it done. If he was on an average offense he would have been benched by now. Put Rodgers on that team and it is an all time top offense.

  2. all they have to do is run the ball. winston cant have the load of the offense on him. teach him to be a game manager, a point guard. keep it simple stupid

  3. He doesn’t have the mental capacity to be a decent quarterback in the league. He is essentially a child in a man’s body. In every aspect of his life, you see impulsivity and and lack of common sense. People like him need to be sequestered to a home where we can color and draw while not having to interact with actual humans.

  4. marco crawford says:
    November 20, 2019 at 11:04 am

    all they have to do is run the ball. winston cant have the load of the offense on him. teach him to be a game manager, a point guard. keep it simple stupid

    That was the point his coach was making. He can’t be taught. He is a turnover machine. 5 years in and he has shown no improvement. That’s who/what he is.

  5. Clyde was a joke the first time he was here, and now they think this is the guy to fix Winston?

  6. I’m not making excuses for him; he throws too many picks, period.

    That said, the team he plays for is an absolute perfect storm to make the problem worse. To wit:

    1. The defense is terrible, and never gets off the field. This leads to fewer possessions for the offense, and more anxiety to score on every one. Of course, this also leads to the opposing defense to tee off on the QB because they know the Bucs have to pass.

    2. The offensive line is below mediocre. They don’t protect Winston well, leading to him throwing desparate passes. They also don’t run block well.

    3. Speaking of running, the rushing game is terrible. Peyton Barber runs hard, but has no breakaway speed, nor can he make a man miss in space. Ronald Jones DOES have breakaway speed and can make guys miss, but still thinks too much and finishes his runs soft. Plus, the aforementioned offensive line.

    4. Bruce Arians’s scheme doesn’t properly utilize the TEs, so Winston’s favorite safety blankets are sometimes pass blocking, sometimes the fourth option and sometimes not on the field at all. And they’re both amazingly talented!

    5. This is an all-new offense, so there is STILL miscommunication between the QB and WRs, leading to balls being thrown directly to defensive backs while receivers were running a completely different route.

    Again, I’m not making excuses, as Winston has to take his share of the blame. But if he leaves the Bucs next year and goes to a team that doesn’t have ALL these problems, he’ll probably still throw more picks than he’s supposed to, but a lot less than he has this year. And he’ll win. Just like Brett Favre, who always had a good defense and supporting cast, and played in the west coast offense all of his career.

  7. its called being coachable. there are a lot of QB’s in the league who just get by on ability alone and never get beyond that level with coaching. They never learn or get better and keep making the same old mistakes. cut him and move on!

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