After Six-Turnover Game, Bruce Arians Still Believes in Jameis Winston

Luke Easterling

Has there ever been anything more frustrating for Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans than the Jameis Winston era?

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Winston was the first quarterback in NFL history to start his career with back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons. At 25 years old, he's already the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns.

But he's also been a turnover machine. Since entering the league in 2015, no quarterback has given the ball away more times than Winston, who has thrown 68 interceptions and fumbled 43 times in 62 career games.

Winston struggled in Week 1 of this season, tossing three picks in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, two of which were returned for touchdowns in a 14-point loss. But between that game and Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers, Winston had tossed 10 touchdown passes to just two interceptions over a four-week span.

Then came Sunday's seven-turnover outing in London, a game in which the Bucs still somehow only lost by 11 points.

After the team returned home Monday, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians acknowledged his concern about the turnovers, but made it clear that Winston's previous years don't count when it comes to his evaluation.

"Five games for me," Arians said. "I know the history." 

Arians admitted he was concerned by the performance, and that he'd become even more concerned if such an outing happened again this season. But he stopped well short of expressing any doubts about Winston being the team's quarterback of the present and future.

When asked what makes him believe Winston's roller-coaster performances will end in the future, Arians again cites the responsibility of the entire team.

"I think just him playing better, the guys around him playing better, coaching better, the whole thing," Arians said. "I think as we continue to grow together, I think it will get better. And these games will be one in a million, not one every five."

It's understandable for Arians to want to give Winston a clean slate, but it's hard to imagine him not considering the fact that a fifth-year quarterback is still turning the ball over at an alarming rate. With Winston playing on the final year of his rookie contract, the Bucs will have an expensive decision to make this offseason at the game's most important position.

For now, it looks like Arians is still prepared to ride with Winston.