It hit me as I was reading NFL Films' Greg Cosell's piece on the marriage between Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter yesterday. Cosell pointed out the concern that's on every Bucs' fan's mind. Can Jameis Winston have success behind a bad offensive line?
"One thing Koetter will have to determine is how good the offensive line is, because that will dictate how many deep drops he can call for Winston," Cosell wrote. "You can argue the Buccaneers had one of the worst lines in the NFL last season, and they addressed that a bit in the offseason. But the one thing you don't want to do with Winston, particularly because he's not a naturally quick-twitch athlete, is get him in a situation where he gets hit a lot. If you get hit a lot early in your career you might start to see ghosts. The last thing you want a quarterback to do is anticipate and perceive pressure that isn't there, so Koetter will have to keep that in mind with Winston."
While I do believe the Bucs' offensive line was horrendous last season, some of the blame can be placed on the Bucs quarterback play from 2014 as well. Josh McCown is notorious for holding on to the ball for far longer than any quarterback should, and Mike Glennon goes into the fetal position at the sign of any pressure. Even a good offensive line can look bad in that type of situation.
Jameis Winston can make the Bucs' offensive line better. One of Winston's strongest attributes is his anticipated throws. Having a quarterback that fully understands the offensive and opposing coverages, who also gets the football out of his hand, will lead to the offensive line looking much more competent than it did in 2014.
Winston's anticipation was a main reason he was only sacked 11.5% of his dropbacks, while Mariota was sacked 23% which was 6th highest in this past draft class.
The best example of Winston's anticipation was his performance in the 2nd half against Notre Dame in 2014.
The Bucs' offensive line has two new members in Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet, along with Winston's anticipation. There are plenty of signs that this unit will be much improved in 2015. Jameis Winston might end up being the most important aspect to their improvement.Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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