Jameis Winston's pre-season NFL debut wasn't as strong as team had hoped.
Jameis Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, started slowly in his NFL pre-season debut against the Minnesota Vikings Saturday, but the team and coaching staff say they are not worried.
An article in usatoday.com quoted Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith as saying, “You would like all of your players the first time they’re going to be on the field to be perfect and get off to a good start and have it go that way throughout, but that’s not the case.”
Despite a slow start, Winston led the team to a pair of scoring drives in a 26-16 loss to the Vikings. He finished the night going 9 of 19 in passing for 131 yards and one interception, including a 40-yard completion to Vincent Jackson.
Coach Smith said he was impressed with the rookie’s composure, despite being sacked twice, fumbling a snap and throwing an interception. Winston also missed a couple of wide open receivers early, but settled down. Smith added that Winston made the right checks and looked comfortable in the pocket, especially at the end.
Winston remained composed in the waning moments of the first half, leading the team on a 76-yard, nine-play drive resulting in a touchdown. He went 5-6 in passing on the drive, and scored the
TD on an eight-yard scamper.
Winston was noted in college as being able to remain calm and direct the offense in situations when the team needed to score.
No doubt Winston still has a lot of work ahead of him. On one running play, he left himself open to being hit by not properly executing a slide at the end of the run, but the coaches say they haven’t worked with him a lot on that facet of the game.
Winston ran the ball four times for 18 yards in the game against the Vikings.
Smith added the script they had drawn up for Winston was designed to finish strong, and he accomplished that.