What exactly is the ceiling and floor of QB Jameis Winston?
By: Jeremy Trottier
Jameis Winston has been one of the bigger enigmas in the NFL so far this season, as he has had three solid games, a middle-of-the-road game, a relatively bad one. Throwing 12 touchdowns and 3 interceptions through five games is not too shabby considering how many fans were expecting him to revert to 2019 form. With that said, it is worth noting that he is not working with much at the receiver position as of now. The large majority of the receivers on the Saints roster are UDFAs, and their WR1 and 2 in Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith respectively have been injured so far this season. With that said, here is my projected ceiling and floor for Winston this season, as well as where he could fall between the two.
The absolute top out for Jameis Winston would be him continuing on his performance from week 1, where he had five touchdowns and no interceptions, as well as displaying some impressive mobility in and out of the pocket. While he did not do a ton of passing, by only having 148 yards, he was extremely effective in those passes he did throw, completing 70% of them and attaining a 130.8 passer rating in the game.
Odds are, Sean Payton will not be letting Jameis open up his abilities fully until near the end of the season, therefore I would not expect him to be breaking any records or winning any awards. But, he could definitely be the effective starter he has been so far throughout the season and bring the Saints to an NFC South title in the best (still reasonable) scenario.
The floor we have seen from Jameis is relatively tame so far, comparatively to his past floors. His worst game was blatantly against the Carolina Panthers; however, this was not entirely his fault. With starting center Erik McCoy out, eight coaches out, and many other players out entering that week, the team looked horrible as a whole and collapsed. The offensive line did not give Jameis any time whatsoever to make decisions, which led to him forcing passes. His first interception on the day was him trying to force into multiple-man coverage because the Saints needed a score before halftime to have any chance and putting their trust into Aldrick Rosas from any range beyond 30 seemed like a bad choice.
With that said, his floor is definitely what we saw in that game, as he just could not produce whatsoever due to the circumstances. He had 111 yards on 50% completion with two interceptions and a 26.9 QBR. It does not get much worse than this for Jameis, even when he threw three or four picks in a game previously he would at least have significantly higher yard totals. I would expect two to three more games like this and potentially 4 – 5 more games if injuries to Ryan Ramczyk surface.
Now onto what I think he should be or what he can be expected to be. So far this season, his “median” has been the last two games, against the New England Patriots and New York Giants. His passer rating has floated around the 110s (110.8 week 3, 119.1 week 4) and he has had a passing touchdown in each of those games. I would not expect him to be throwing very large yard totals, at least until Michael Thomas returns, as the Saints offense will revolve around running and screens until they have a true receiving option to draw coverage off Marquez Callaway.
He likely will not hit 5000 yards, and this should not be a concern to Saints fans. If he can keep his interceptions minimized as he has so far with only two through five games, this would be a good sign, as it shows his mental stability and desire to play team football and not hero ball. Should he be opened up more than we have seen so far? Yes. “Let Jameis cook” should be the case, as long as it does not get too carried away and he does not start making scary throws. So far, he has limited these throws, which is an amazing sign, and if Sean starts loosening the reigns a bit, we could see some phenomenal football from Jameis in the latter half of the season.