Jameis Winston Has All the Intangibles, but Not Yet Enough Accuracy for NFL


After Florida State was down 24-7 Thursday at Louisville and Jameis Winston had thrown 3 interceptions, he did what he had been doing all year: saving the day.

Winston saved the day against Oklahoma State, he saved the day against N.C. State, and he saved the day against Notre Dame. He did it again Thursday night, and that speaks to his intangibles.

After starting the game 10 of 23 with 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, Winston went 15 of 25 the rest of the way with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions and nearly 300 yards passing.

Jameis Winston is clearly a great leader who is not scared of the big moment by any stretch of the imagination. He showed that last year in the national championship game against Auburn. When the moment is the biggest, and when the adversity is the greatest, he shines the brightest. That’s the biggest thing you want out of anybody on your team, especially somebody at quarterback.

Off-field issues aside, Winston clearly has lots of admirable on-the-field traits.

But there are some basic football qualities he lacks still to be a consistent NFL quarterback.

Once again, Winston’s accuracy came and went Thursday night. Even when he began to turn it around after the horrendous start, he only completed 60 percent of his passes.

While it’s true that Louisville has a great defense, particularly in the secondary, and that this was a Thursday night road game, there were still some glaring accuracy issues that Winston still faces.

Many of his yards were racked up by brilliant play calls from Jimbo Fisher, Lawrence Dawsey, and Randy Sanders. Many of his throws were very easy throws, including the 68-yard touchdown to Travis Rudolph, who had the secondary beat by a mile, and the 35-yard touchdown to Freddie Stevenson, which was an easy short throw that Stevenson turned into a touchdown.

His other touchdown to Ermon Lane should have been intercepted, but on that one play two things happened: Louisville defenders collided trying to defend it, and at the same time as making a bad throw Winston showed his Brett Favre-style NFL readiness with a gunslinging throw that was just too fast for the defense.

Plenty of his other yards came when Nick O’Leary was being unaccounted for and a new freshman running back in Dalvin Cook was able to sneak out into the flats.

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  • This isn’t to knock Jameis. He clearly is getting better at making great decisions and making the easy throw. But he still has trouble picking up blitzes, he still overthrows receivers when trying to hit them in stride over the middle, and he still gets bailed out by a lot of help.

    Dating back to last year against Auburn, Winston’s throws on that game-winning touchdown drive were all easy throws. Then against Oklahoma State, Rashad Greene simply bailed him out time and time again, as he did against N.C. State. Winston looked pretty good and against Notre Dame, but once again tonight, it was the plays called for him to get easy passes to his deadly weapons that helped his stats.

    I still haven’t seen Winston under pressure make a throw to hit a guy in stride who is being covered tightly man-to-man. We know the arm strength. Winston throwing with somebody in his face isn’t a problem either. But can he hit a guy on the money consistently?

    That’s the big question as to whether or not he’ll be a great NFL quarterback.

    He’s already a great college quarterback, his arm strength is incredible, and his intangibles and football IQ are off the charts.

    But he’s got to work on that accuracy to make it at the next level.