Which Players Have The Most To Prove In 2019?
With the 2019 NFL season looming, all the players on teams’ rosters have personal goals of their own. Whether it be to make the practice squad or be selected to be a first team all-pro player. Some are playing in a contract year and need to have a good year to get resigned to the deal they’ve been wanting since entering the league. Some have that new deal and need to prove that they are worth the cash spent on them. Regardless of the goal that the individual has, they have a lot of eyes watching them and have a lot to prove. Some a bit more than others. Let’s take a look at two players who may have the most to prove.
Jameis Winston – QB
Of course, Winston has the most to prove this season. There’s a reason he hasn’t been signed to an extension yet. It seems as if the entire fan-base is split in half. Half says, “Jameis is the savior!” and the other half is ready to run him out of town. The Heisman Trophy winner has had off-field issues (will not go into detail about those), but he has also had on-field issues as well. Since being selected first overall, Winston has yet to perform like he was expected. In fact, the most consistent thing about Winston is throwing double-digit interceptions every year. How much of that was on him though? Winston has had virtually the same coaching staff since entering the league. Before becoming the team’s offensive coordinator and eventual head coach, Dirk Koetter was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons from 2012-2014. Those three years, the Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan threw a total of 45 interceptions (averaged 15 interceptions a year). And the year 2013 was his career high of 17. One could make the argument that Winston’s interceptions were on the lack of coaching. In comes the “quarterback whisperer” Bruce Arians. Regardless of who is coaching, Jameis Winston has the prove the doubters wrong this season.
Donovan Smith – LT
Earlier this year, Donovan Smith signed a three-year contract extension that is worth $41.25 million with $27 million fully guaranteed. Since joining the Buccaneers in 2015, he has started 64 consecutive games and has been the franchise iron man. Smith has had to protect Winston’s blindside and has allowed a total of 202 pressures, per Pro Football Focus. But he has also played 4,143 total snaps since 2015, second most among offensive lineman. With a new coaching staff, maybe some change is bound to happen. On April 23rd, head coach Bruce Arians told the media that there wasn’t one false start at practice, per Pewter Report. They say, “durability is the best ability”. Well, Donovan Smith has that, now let’s see if he can keep it up and perform at a high level for the franchises’ Kangol loving head coach. And perhaps maybe even get a bigger deal when the current one expires.
Gerald McCoy – DT
With the potential absence of Jason Pierre-Paul, the former all-pro defensive tackle is going to need to be the spark on the defensive line and make some plays. Maybe even give room for the outside rushers like Noah Spence, Shaquil Barrett, and Carl Nassib to get some sacks for themselves.
Devin White – LB (Rookie)
It’s a lot of weight for the rookie to have. But he was selected before the drafts’ top-rated EDGE rusher. Devin White has gotten a lot of praise from the media since being drafted. He is going to be tasked with covering all the skilled linebackers in the Buccaneers’ division, and the team has struggled with them for years. If he can contain them and be an immediate impact on defense, no one will doubt the pick.
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