Jameis Winston’s 18 Interceptions in 2014

Play 15
Situation: 3rd and 8 at FSU 25
Description: Q1 – (11:55) Jameis Winston pass intercepted Quincy Wilson return for no gain to the FlaSt 48

Winston targets WR3 Jesus Wilson on a skinny post route over the middle of the field. Jesus Wilson is Winston’s first read on this play but Winston forces the ball after staring him down. On top of that, Winston overthrows the ball leading to an interception by CB12 Quincy Wilson. Terrible decision on the play and Winston needs to stop thinking he can force these tight window throws.

Play 16
Situation: 2nd and 12 at FSU 2
Description: Q1 – (1:34) Jameis Winston pass intercepted Brian Poole return for no gain to the FlaSt 9

Winston runs a bootleg flood to the right and targets WR1 Lane on an out route. After the snap Winston reads the wide receivers on the right side of the field and and finds Lane breaking on his out route getting open near the sideline.

Winston releases the ball, but doesn’t see CB24 Poole sitting deeper in man-coverage on WR80 Greene. It’s due to this lack of vision in not seeing the underneath defender that Winston throws an interception here. The decision to throw it to Lane is perfectly fine, but he needs to put more touch on the pass and make sure that only his player can get the ball.

Play 17
Situation: 3rd and 11 at FLA 46
Description: Q3 – (2:45) Jameis Winston pass intercepted Brian Poole return for 27 yds to the FlaSt 33

Here is CB24 Brian Poole’s second interception on the night. Winston takes the snap from shotgun and instantly targets WR80 Greene from the slot on a slant route, but Poole is sitting underneath waiting for the ball. Winston doesn’t see Poole leading to the interception. I’d like to see Winston attempt to look off the zone coverage linebacker first by watching another wide receiver in order to open up the passing lanes.

Play 18
Situation: 1st and 10 at FSU 36
Description: Q3 – (1:07) Jameis Winston pass intercepted Erick Dargan return for no gain to the FlaSt 43

Winston’s final interception came in the Rose Bowl against #2 Oregon. After Winston releases the ball, DE44 Buckner deflects the ball which causes WR15 Rudolph to not be able to secure it in the air. Winston actually does a good job of going through his reads on this play, but it unfortunately was tipped twice right into the hands of FS4 Dargan.

My takeaways from these interceptions were that too often Winston tried to force the ball to his first read instead of progressing through his reads and finding another target. Eye dedication is a huge problem for Winston as well where he stares down his intended target for far too long instead of looking off a safety or underneath linebacker in zone coverage especially over the middle of the field. From a mechanical perspective, when Winston throws the ball poorly it’s usually due to him backfooting the throw as he senses the pressure and releases the ball while moving backwards. This causes a decrease in required velocity and makes the ball more easily intercepted.

So, are these correctable? In my opinion, yes, to an extent. Tendencies like these will be exploited early in his career especially as a rookie and I see Winston throwing a lot of similar interceptions to start his career. Defenses and defensive coordinators are simply better at taking advantage of mistakes like these so even though Winston is learning to continue through his progressions, which he admittedly is great at typically, they will still be exploited early on. In the future there is hope as Winston presents enough skill and with only two years starting in this pro-style offense at Florida State he has West Coast offense down while being able to still grow and develop as a football player full-time.

Overall, Winston clearly has moments where he throws a Kirk Cousins-esque interception, but Winston has the intangibles and is already adept at making pro-level reads and progressions which make him a top tier prospect. My full scouting report on him will be released to look at more of his games and to showcase more of his skills and how they will translate to the pros.

Samuel Gold

Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns.