Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston threw an NFL-worst 30 interceptions last season, and Bucs head coach Bruce Arians pointed to Winston's turnover habit as the reason the team let him walk in free agency.
"For Jameis, for me, it was the last two ballgames," Arians told CBS Sports Network's Tiki and Tierney on Thursday. "The regression back to the interceptions ... he had a nice run going. We had a great shot to get to 9-7. ... And then we lose a couple games on pick-sixes, and it was disheartening because he had made progress, then he regressed."
Winston threw four interceptions in a 23-20 loss to the Houston Texans in Week 16 and two more in a 28-22 overtime loss to Atlanta in the regular-season finale. Tampa's season ended on a 27-yard interception return for a game-winning touchdown by Deion Jones.
The Bucs finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the 12th straight year.
"As we do every year, we re-evaluate our team, what's best for our organization," Arians added. "Fixing Jameis was one of them, unless something behind door No. 2 we thought was better. Then we would have to move on. Obviously, Tom [Brady], we thought we'd have to move on."
Brady signed with the Bucs on a two-year contract last week, departing the New England Patriots after 20 years of legendary success:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Over the last 20 years in New England, a 6th-round pick became one of the most dominant athletes ever. ▫️ 6x Super Bowl champ ▫️ 4x Super Bowl MVP ▫️ 9x conference champ ▫️ 3x NFL MVP ▫️ 14x Pro Bowler ▫️ 17 division titles ▫️ 58 game-winning drives End of an era. @brgridiron https://t.co/XPiePUfqEv
Brady and Winston shared the same 53.7 total quarterback rating (QBR) last season, but the 26-year-old's 30 interceptions far exceeded Brady's eight. Arians blamed the lack of ball security for the Bucs' mediocrity:
Tampa's 2015 top overall pick also led the league with 5,109 yards and 626 passing attempts. His 33 touchdowns were a career high.
However, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Winston is not expected to be a starting NFL quarterback in 2020.
Arians agreed during his radio appearance: "I think, for him, it's to get into somewhere as a backup right now. It looks like all the starting jobs are done. Get in somewhere where he can sit, learn a system, [for] maybe a year for an older person and take over. Or get in competition with a younger guy because he is a super-talented and a super-hard-working guy."
Winston thanked the Bucs for his five years in Tampa after Brady replaced him:
The Florida State product has to find a team first before planning a trip back to his former home for Super Bowl LV.