Ask Gary: Will Winston-Jackson be a success?

by Gary Shelton on October 14, 2017 · 4 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

DeSean Jackson needs to synch with Winston./JEFFREU S. KING

DeSean Jackson needs to synch with Winston./JEFFREU S. KING

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Deion Sanders made a pointed statement at halftime of the New England game that summarizes what has been the Bucs' greatest failure of this young season. It wasn’t so much what he said but how he said it when he made the comment that the Bucs paid a ton of money to bring in DeSean Jackson to be a weapon for Jameis Winston and yet they have not been able to get him the ball. Jackson’s strength is using his speed to run deep routes but Winston’s most glaring weakness as a QB has been the inability to throw the deep ball accurately. Does this get fixed or is DeSean Jackson doomed to be another Bucs free agent bust?

Larry Beller

Can I waffle a bit here? I think it'll get better. I think Winston has plenty of arm to throw deep, and Jackson still has the speed to get there, but obviously they aren't playing the same tune.

I don't think they'll be feeble by the end of the year. There are a few deep passes in their future. But will they get to be really proficient at it? That

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seems like a leap for me right now.

Remember, there are a lot of new weapons for the Bucs. You could be disappointed in O.J. Howard's stats so far. You could be disappointed in Chris Godwin's  stats. The Bucs, it seems, always try to open a game with Winston playing conservative, then throw like crazy in the fourth quarter.

If I'm Dirk Koetter, this has been a disappointment for me so far. He needs to throw it earlier in the game, and he needs to take a couple of shots on first- and second-down.

I honestly do believe that Jackson is a better bet to succeed than, say, Alvin Harper or Bert Emanuel. But I would wonder if it will be as deadly as it should be.

Another week in the NFL, another week watching several marquee players being carted off and ending their season. So much of a fan's hope and excitement can go down the drain when a face of the franchise ends up on crutches for a majority of the season. It just seems like the defensive players have become freakish with their speed and agility these days, at the expense of the offensively skilled players. Do you think this is of any major concern for the league? I wonder how many of the top 50 offensive players will still be standing come January (and I don't play fantasy but this has to wreak havoc in those leagues)!.
 
Barry McDowell​
It certainly should be a concern, shouldn't it? While it's true that injuries have always happened -- the late George Young, general manager of the Giants, once called pro football "a game of attrition" -- it certainly seems that injuries happen more often than ever.
Part of the reason, and this is logical, is that players are as large as possible these days. That isn't always on steroids; sometimes, it's on legal supplements. But a body's joints can only take so much stress. Remember, Deacon Jones played at 273 pounds. Watt is 20 pounds bigger.
Something else I wonder is about the limited practice times of today's players. Players just don't hit that much. I know the motives are pure -- they're trying to hold down concussions -- but I wonder if it has the opposite affect. Is it possible to "toughen up" enough for an NFL game.
I was sickened when Watt was hurt. He's one of the off-the-field heroes of the league. His work after Hurricane Harvey was amazing.
The 4 finalists for the MLB championship this year are Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, and Cubs.  The Astros are by far the lowest payroll team of the four.  I am rooting for the Astros to win it all.  How about you?
Scott Myers
It's easy to pull for the Astros. Who wants to see the Yankees win another title? Or the Dodgers? The Cubs won it last year. The Astros have been in one World Series, and they lost it.
A story. When I was very young in journalism, in Columbus, Ga., we covered the Astros minor league team. It's been a long time, and I no longer know anyone with the organization. But even the memories of covering Rod Boxberger (Brad's dad) and David Clyde is enough to make me pull for the Astros. Then, of course, there were the Ball Four years.
It's going to be hard for me, though. I sincerely like the Astros, but I know Joe Maddon, Dave Martinez and Ben Zobrist of the Cubs.
One day, I was in Boston to cover an all-star game. I was having lunch with another writer, and we glanced over, and George Carlin -- the great comedian -- was having lunch. We weren't obtrusive, but my companion looked at him and said "George, you like baseball."
And suddenly, Carlin was in the middle of one of his routines about how he didn't pull for anyone unless they were ahead in the game. He said it was too taxing emotionally. So I'm going to steal for the late, great George here.  I'll pull for the Cubs or the Astros, whichever team is ahead.
As a seasoned veteran of the sports journalism business, what career guidance would you give Ms. Jemele Hill from ESPN who has been suspended for some tweets that went against company policy? 
 
Rick Martin
I know Jemele; I like her a lot. She's funny and smart. She used to work in Orlando, and she covered Tampa Bay sports a lot. She covered the Turin Olympics, and we shared a plane.
So let me start by saying that I doubt that there is any advice I could give her. She's much bigger than I ever was in her field.
If anything, I'd say this: I'd say that you have to keep in mind that this is her company's rules. If she wants to play the game, she has to abide by them. Jemele got a fair warning for her previous comments. ESPN doesn't believe her celebrity gives her the authority to Tweet whatever she wants.
Most journalists have those kind of limits. It doesn't matter if you wanted to vote for, say, Donald Trump; you cover the other side, too. You can't get involved emotionally.
Jemele has a successful show. She needs to paint within the lines, though.
I'd advise her to take a breath, and to realize that a lot of people -- of multiple ages and colors -- watch her show.
She has a good platform. She should realize, however, that it can be taken away for viewpoints that aren't in her sights. It doesn't matter what her political views are; that isn't her job.
What is your take on the changing Rays coaching staff. Were you surprised about Hickey?
Jim Willson
Jim, I was stunned by Hickey's departure, especially since he had a year to go on his contract. I've said it before: To me, Hickey is the Monte Kiffin of the Rays. He's been there for most of the franchise's biggest successes, and to me, he had built up a degree of trust that the Rays won't easily replace. Maybe it works out, but in the short-term, I'm not crazy about the move.
By now, you've probably heard that Hickey wasn't totally on board with some of the tinkering the Rays may try with their pitching. That concerns me. I don't know that a franchise with four straight losing seasons is going to outthink anyone.
On the other hand, I don't object as much to bench coach Tom Foley's departure. A bench coach is basically a guy to bounce ideas off for the manager. I think Charlie Montoya will do fine there.
But Hickey is one of those behind-the-scenes guys who had run the Rays' pitching for years. I think they'll miss him.
Did the Bucs revamp Doug Martin's contact at all?   I read a lot about that happening when he got  suspended.
Jim Willson
Jim, I looked as hard as I could at what has been written, at what Spotrac.com says, etc. If the Rays have adjusted Martin's contract -- and I certainly would have -- no one has talked about it.
When Martin tested for drugs, the Bucs had the option of skipping his $7 million guarantee for this year. If I had been the Bucs, I would have removed that guarantee before I accepted Martin back on the roster.
I've said it before. I was stunned the Bucs didn't make more moves to protect themselves from Martin's absence through free agency or the draft. But the Bucs were 2-1 while Martin was gone, and he took over the No. 1 tailback spot upon his return. If he stays healthy, the Bucs will have won their gamble with him.
Still, I don't like the way the team handled this. There are certain things I think the public has the right to know. How the team deals with drug abusers is one of those. You may disagree if you want.
 
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller October 15, 2017 at 8:01 am

I keep trying to hit a golf ball over 250 yards. I’ve tried using several different drivers, practiced for hours and taken lessons but I just can’t do it. Stop me if you have heard this before but the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Mike Evans is a perfect receiver for Winston. Get another guy who has those types of skills next time and then we will have something. Winston has the arm to throw it deep, he just isn’t accurate enough to ever expect that play can be a key part of the offense.

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Gary Shelton October 15, 2017 at 11:42 am

I wouldn’t say ever. Peyton Manning struggled early in his career. So did Steve Young. The kid is 23. We agree he has work to do, but I’m not prepared to give up on him.

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Larry Beller October 14, 2017 at 6:39 am

I hope it does get fixed with Winston and Jackson. I hope they connect starting this week in Az. I have no doubt that playing QB in the NFL is the hardest position to learn in all of sports. Tom Brady, as good as he is, doesn’t throw the deep ball particularly well but he excels at the short pass and the offense is built around that. My point is if you have build around the talents of your players. Asking Winston to throw a deep ball several times a game is not going to be an effective way to run the Bucs offense because he just isn’t good at it. It’s the job of the GM and coach to bring in players who fit their system and put their players in a position where they can succeed. I don’t think our GM and coach are doing a great job at that right now.

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Gary Shelton October 14, 2017 at 9:03 am

the only way to get better, and you know this, is to work at it. so you have to continue to try. right?

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