Bruce Gradkowski: There's Still Hope With Bucs' Jameis Winston

NFL Analyst Offers Optimism Regarding Tampa Bay QB

Taz and the Moose
September 11, 2019 - 10:46 am
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) looks on as he was sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston struggled mightily against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. 

Winston was picked off three times throughout the 31-17 loss, completing only 20-of-36 passes. He also fumbled twice and was sacked three times, losing 20 yards, leaving the Buccaneers offense to remain stagnant for much of the contest. He managed to recover his second fumble, but threw an interception to 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman on the very next play. 

Former Buccaneers quarterback and current Sirius XM NFL Analyst Bruce Gradkowski doesn't believe it's time to give up on the once promising quarterback just yet. He reiterated on "Taz & The Moose" Wednesday what Winston needs to do in order to lead Tampa Bay in the right direction.

"The other day was tough," Gradkowski said. "It was a tough opening day. We see the stat line and Winston's turnovers and all that but what you don't see too is the Sherman interception, the pick-six, the running back goes a little too deep. It was kind of a miscommunication there. I don't put that on Winston. There's things like that offensively as a whole they have to clean up but I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet. I'm just trying to be positive for the young man that I think he can turn around. Yes, I think he has a lot of upside but he has to learn how to protect that football. They had opportunities to get back in that football game and they just didn't take advantage of it."

Winston led the NFC in interceptions last year (14), fifth in the entire NFL, while attempting the 14th most passes in the conference. He's thrown at least 10 interceptions in each year since he's joined the league in 2016. He's expected to take the next leap in his progression under head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who played ten seasons in the NFL. 

"Jameis Winston is that guy that has a high ceiling," Gradkowski said. "You can expect him to have a monster year at times. Then yes, you have concerns that he's not going to protect the football like we saw the other day. But I still think there's hope over there. I think there's hope with Jameis Winston.

"I think Bruce Arians is the guy with his new OC, Byron Leftwich. Leftwich played the game. He understands what quarterbacks go through. He was top round draft pick as well so he could get through to Winston. If there's anyone to get through to Winston, it's those guys."

Click the audio player below to listen to Gradkowski's interview in its entirety.