Two days before Jameis Winston took the field for his first NFL game, Steve Beuerlein had the opportunity to speak to the No. 1 overall pick.
Beuerlein’s experience? Extremely positive.
“Very, very impressed with Jameis one-on-one – much more so than I expected,” the CBS NFL analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “We had been told by the PR people and by other people that had spoken with Jameis beforehand how impressive he was in person, how engaging he was, how honest he was. Incredible football IQ is the one way everybody always described him. He did not disappoint. I was very, very impressed with him.”
But that was all off the field. On the field two days later, well, that was a different story.
Winston was 16-of-33 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 42-14 loss to the Titans. The Florida State product threw a pick-six on his first pass, and the Buccaneers trailed 21-0 after the first quarter and 35-7 at halftime.
Beuerlein’s response? Not quite as positive.
“I have my concerns,” he said. “I had a lot of concerns coming in and I saw them at practice on Friday. Physically, even though he came from a pro-style offense, he’s got some things that he really, really needs to clean up and work on. Everybody always has been talking about his release, and it’s a different kind of release. He’s got to tighten things up as far as that throwing motion is concerned, but that’s not something you can work on during the season. It’s got to be worked on during the offseason. But more importantly, I think, is his footwork. He has a tendency to be heavy-footed – and this is a guy saying this who was known to be heavy-footed himself.”
Beuerlein, 50, played in the NFL for 17 years.
“That’s the way I played the game, too,” the former Pro Bowler said. “I wasn’t very mobile, but my feet were always in a position to throw the ball. Even though I wasn’t overly athletic as a quarterback, I was a pure passer and I was ready in the pocket to deliver the ball on time, and my feet were always active in the pocket. That’s what good passers do. They always have their feet in position to get ready to go through their progression, and when a guy’s open, you got to be ready to deliver that football on time, on the money and in a place where they can catch it and protect themselves or catch it and run.”
Unfortunately for Winston, his struggles went beyond footwork.
“I think he has a tendency to predetermined things a little bit – and that happened on his first pass,” Beuerlein said. “I think he made his mind up that he was going to throw it out to the flat, and it got picked off and taken back for a touchdown. I think the success that he had in college lends to him believing that he should make the transition easily. Well, he found out the hard way in that Week 1 game that these athletes at the pro level are much better across the board. So he’s got to learn. He’s learning the hard way that every little detail really comes into play when wanting be a successful NFL player. You can’t take anything for granted. Your passion means nothing at this level. You’ve got to be able to produce play in and play out, and he’s going to have a really tough year, I think, trying to figure that out.”