Unsigned Jameis Winston had 30 INTs, but Chris Godwin says half weren’t his fault

Chris Godwin is making nice with his new quarterback, Tom Brady, and still looking out for his old quarterback Jameis Winston.

Winston lost his job as Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback when the team signed Brady. More accurately, Winston lost his job when he posted the NFL’s first 30-interception season since 1988. Winston’s habit of giving the ball to the other team is the main reason the 2019 leader in passing yards is unsigned and doesn’t have an obvious landing spot as a starter.

Godwin defended his former teammate, saying half of Winston’s interceptions last season weren’t his fault.

Chris Godwin defends Jameis Winston

Interceptions always go on the quarterback’s record, but not all interceptions are a QB’s fault. A receiver can run a wrong route, or even be slightly out of position. Sometimes defenses make a tremendous play. The quarterback is always the one who has to answer about it.

Godwin said in an interview with The Boardroom, via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com, that not all of Winston’s interceptions last season were on Winston. In fact, he said half can be blamed on someone else.

“I definitely think he got more of the blame than he deserved,” Godwin said. “I think he’s a really, really talented quarterback. Obviously there are things that he does that you can’t teach, and there are plays that he made that just weren’t smart plays.

“But a lot of the mistakes and interceptions that he made, I would say half of them were because of a bad read on someone else’s part.”

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians also mentioned during last season that many interceptions weren’t Winston’s fault. Yet, the scarlet “30” is going only on Winston’s stat page. And even a season when Winston threw 15 interceptions that were his fault (and had many others dropped) isn’t good.

Godwin’s comments point out that quarterback play in the NFL is more complicated than assigning blame to a player for an interception. NFL teams likely know this too and yet, Winston remains unsigned.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) remains a free agent. (AP Photo/John Amis)Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) remains a free agent. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) remains a free agent. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Winston looking for a new team

Winston is a unique case. Going back to at least 1967, no quarterback who led the NFL in passing yards switched teams the following season (h/t to Greg Auman of The Athletic). Not only will Winston be switching teams, the 26-year-old former first overall pick coming off a 5,109-yard season might not even start in 2020.

Like Cam Newton and the Cincinnati Bengals trying to trade Andy Dalton, Winston is likely finding that not many teams are looking for a new starting quarterback. Teams either have an established option, will be drafting someone or have someone they’ve talked themselves into. The likely-to-be disrupted offseason won’t push any teams on the fence at quarterback into a drastic move, either.

In other words, Winston (and Newton and Dalton) picked a bad time to be looking for a starting quarterback job. At least Godwin is around to write a letter of recommendation.

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