Winston still hopes to grow into a weapon for Bucs

by Gary Shelton on May 30, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Winston is still maturing, and so are the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

Winston is still maturing, and so are the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

He is old enough to be a father. He is old enough to be a husband. He is old enough to be a millionaire.

Ah, but when will Jameis Winston become a grown-up?

It takes time, you know, for all of us. For the most part, we fight adulthood with both fists. Why, being an adult is what your father did, and his father. Being an adult is about

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responsibility, and about paying the bills, and about doing the required job. Trapped inside of a game, an extended childhood can last for years.

Throughout the history of the NFL, we have watched quarterbacks refuse to mature. We have cheered their boisterousness, and we have admired the way they have clung to youth.

On the other hand, there is Winston. At 24, who doesn't think he needs to grow up?

That was Winston, mock-chewing his fingers in the pre-game huddle. That was Winston, thumping another players' helmet in a game in which he wasn't even playing. That was Winston, turning the ball over time and again. Part of Winston seems as if he is still in college, still firing up the video games.

And so we plead for him to be an adult, to calm it down a little, to add a little wisdom, a little growth.

I don't know about you, but yes, there is something charming about Winston. It wasn't his fault that the Bucs drafted him and, almost immediately, asked that he become the best player on their field.

On the other hand, and no one wants to hear this: it does take time.

Peyton Manning was 27 when he seemed to reach adulthood. Before that, in five seasons, he threw 100 interceptions for the Colts. But Manning eventually got it, and his interceptions dwindled.

Joe Montana? He was 25 when he grew into his cleats. He won just two games in his first two seasons, then took off.

Terry Bradshaw? He didn't throw nearly as much as today's passers. He was 31, and about to win his fourth Super Bowl, before he ever passed 3,000 yards in the air.

Brett Farve was 26. He had 26 wins in his first three seasons.

Dan Fouts was 27 until he had his first winning record.

Jim Kelly was 28 before he had a 10-win season.

You think Winston turns the ball over too much? How about Hall of Famer George Blanda, who threw 277 interceptions. Joe Namath threw 220.

Drew Brees won 10 games in his first three years.

Doug Williams was 26 before he completed as many as half of his passes.

Sonny Jurgenson was 27 before he became a full-time starter.

Bob Griese was 25 before he finished with a winning record. In his first three years, he won 10 times. In his first four years, he threw 67 interceptions.

Troy Aikman was 26, in his fourth year, before he had a winning record.

Yes, Winston has two 4,000-yard seasons. That's as many as Joe Namath (1), John Elway (1), Joe Montana (0), Johnny Unitas (0), Bart Starr (0), Troy Aikman (0) and Terry Bradshaw (0) have combined.

Look, this isn't to defend Winston. It's simply to say that he has to be a. young player before he can be an older one. Think back on your own younger days. What did it take to make you a grown-up? When was the age when. you began to ripen?

Give the kid time, and perhaps he won't be a kid anymore.

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