Jameis Winston: Tom Brady Will Be Pushed by Bucs' Blaine Gabbert, Ryan GriffinMay 2, 2020
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston said new Bucs signal-caller Tom Brady will benefit from the team's talent on offense, including backup QBs Ryan Griffin and Blaine Gabbert.
Winston discussed his Hall of Fame replacement Friday on the NFL Network's NFL Total Access:
"One, his quarterback room with Ryan Griffin and Blaine Gabbert, he's getting a great quarterback room there. They're going to compete, they're going to push him. He's going to get an excellent receiving corps, especially off the season Chris Godwin is coming off of, and you already know Mike Evans is one of the best of the game. I'm going to miss them, but I have a great No. 13 that I can throw to too. He's going to get a great team."
Winston signed with the New Orleans Saints to back up Drew Brees. The Saints and Bucs face off twice per year as rivals in the NFC South, a matchup the 2015 Pro Bowl selection said he's looking forward to during the NFL Network interview.
"I can't wait to compete against them," he said. "It's going to be fun. I know Tom is going to bring his relentlessness and his attitude there, but it's going to be fun and we're ready to compete. We've always been competing. When I was at Tampa, we got them sometimes and they got us sometimes."
The battle atop the division will be a ferocious one in 2020.
New Orleans, which went 13-3 last year to win its third straight NFC South title, is a perennial championship contender thanks to the Brees-led offense. The Bucs have a legitimate chance to take that crown, however, while the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers should both improve from last year.
Tampa Bay was a sleeping giant before Brady arrived. It posted a 7-9 record in 2019, but its offensive playmaking talent can match almost any team in the league, and the defense was far better than giving up the fourth-most points in the league would suggest.
The Buccaneers defense was put in difficult situations on a frequent basis because of Winston's mistakes—he turned the ball over 35 times (30 interceptions and five lost fumbles) in 16 games. The group finished sixth in yards allowed per play and fifth in defensive DVOA, per Football Outsiders.
Swapping in Brady, who's thrown just 29 interceptions in the past four years combined, should take a lot of pressure off the defense and allow those strong underlying numbers to shine through.
Having two 30-year-old quarterbacks in Griffin and Gabbert, who've both been in the league for a long time and spent last year in head coach Bruce Arians' system, can only help hasten the longtime New England Patriots superstar's acclimation to his new surroundings.
The battles between the Bucs and Saints will be must-see TV in the fall, and the intrigue will increase tenfold if Winston is in New Orleans' lineup for either of the meetings.