When NFL reporter Jason La Canfora wrote this article about the quarterback carousel, Raider Nation was a little shook. JLC projects Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston to end up in Las Vegas, sending Derek Carr to Washington to play for the Redskins. For so many reasons, this is ridiculous. Here’s why.
Jameis Winston to Las Vegas Makes No Sense
DC to DC?
I don’t necessarily understand why Derek Carr would go to Washington. Firstly, they have a young quarterback in Dwayne Haskins, who even if Ron Rivera has made some questionable remarks about, has shown signs of promise. Secondly, Alex Smith is still on the roster, still due about $19 million, and still desperate to play. Are the Redskins going to trade for Carr, only to convince him to take a paycut to potentially sit on the bench?
Plus, the relationship between Carr and new defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, was up in the air last time I checked. Maybe that’s just me speculating, but I don’t know what he’d necessarily champion the move.
First thing’s first, let’s talk about what Winston does well. Winston is a big-bodied, aggressive quarterback, that has no problem sticking in the pocket and throwing it deep. Gruden has criticized Carr for not being aggressive at points this year, and there’s a possibility he might be seduced by his big arm/big play ability.
Plus, as JLC insinuates, Gruden loves a challenge. Maybe he believes that he can fix Winston’s turnover problem. After all, if you took away half of Winston’s turnovers from last year, he had one of the best passing seasons of all time!… only… he didn’t.
If you’ve followed my work for a while, you know I hate how rule changes have given birth to the wild inflation of passing stats (here’s an article about it, please read). On the surface, Winston had a great year statistically in 2019.
He threw for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns in 16 games. He has as many 5,000 yard seasons as Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning! Except, here’s the thing. When Mahomes did it, he threw the ball 580 times. Winston? 626 times. Mahomes had 12 fewer yards on 46 fewer attempts. Winston led the NFL in passing yards, sure, but he also led in passing attempts.
I’m not trying to belittle the achievement of throwing for 5,000 yards, because it’s still fantastic, but it’s definitely more a result of the offense than the quarterback. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if quarterback whisperer Bruce Arians got similar production out of whoever the Buccaneers start next season.
Jameis Winston threw 30 interceptions this year, and fumbled 12 times. That’s 42 times he, at the very least, risked ending a possession for Tampa Bay. He was 28th in the NFL in completion percentage, and averaged at least two turnovers a game.
Does that sound like a Gruden quarterback? Because it doesn’t to me. Gruden’s offense is built around mismatches, yards after catch, and creating separation through routes. Gruden is a student of the west coast, and he in no way benefits from getting a loose-cannon quarterback. Sure, Gruden wants Carr to be more aggressive and stretch the field, but I don’t think he wants that at the cost of the philosophy of his offense.
If I’m wrong, then buckle up Raider Nation, because it’s about to be a painful, painful debut in Sin City.