The phrase “game manager” for a quarterback can be viewed as a derogatory term. It gives off a sense that a quarterback can’t make the big plays required to propel him team to be truly successful.
However, when you’re Jameis Winston and the last time you were a full-time starter you had 30 interceptions, adding some “game manager” tendencies to your game might not be the worst idea.
In an interview with Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter on the Huddle & Flow podcast, Winston said that he’s looking to be more of a game manager as he looks to earn the chance to quarterback the New Orleans Saints following the retirement of Drew Brees.
“I never wanted to be deemed a game manager,” Winston said, via Adam Maya of NFL.com. “… But really, that game manager is not a bad piece. That’s something that I think just comes with being a professional quarterback. Being able to not just only do the things that you can do, but being able to do the things that you should not do — like what not to do versus what can I do.”
Winston threw for a league-leading 5,109 yards during his last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019. But while he tossed 33 touchdown passes, it was the 30 interceptions that led the Buccaneers to move on from Winston after the season. For Winston, he can make any throw on the field necessary for a quarterback. The issue is realizing when not to take the chance of forcing a ball into a place it shouldn’t go.
“It may have been because of a new offense, it was maybe because I was trying to go out there and prove it, it’s maybe because I was playing for a lot,” Winston said. “It still puzzles me to this day. All I’m trying to do is focus on eliminating that. And what I came up with is — in the course of being an NFL quarterback, there are a lot of plays where when you have talent, you say I can do this, I can do that — but really learning how to manage the game.”
He’s got the statistics to back up the notion that he’s a capable NFL starting quarterback. That comes with the caveat that he cannot turn the ball over like he did during his final season in Tampa. If Winston can adequately roll back the risk-taking and strike a balance with his play, he might be able to produce brilliantly in Sean Payton’s offense with the Saints.