Jon Robinson & Jason Licht Talk Winston-Mariota

November 30th, 2016

irakaufman columnist eye-RAH! Kaufman, Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, has been a busy boy around world headquarters. Kaufman dove into the ongoing Marcus Mariota-Jameis Winston comparisons with their respective general managers. 



The Great Debate is over. Finis.

Winston or Mariota?

Mariota or Winston?

Nineteen months ago, Buc fans were torn between using the No. 1 overall draft pick on Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. Websites posted straw polls to gauge the preferences of Tampa Bay supporters.

With five games remaining in the 2016 regular season, the debate is officially history and the verdict is in — they’re both going to be great.

“Those two guys will be bright spots in our league for years to come,” said Titans GM Jon Robinson Wednesday from his Nashville office. “We’re not bronzing up either bust for Canton quite yet, but they are well on their way to outstanding careers.”

Some administrators on this website already have Winston ticketed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2035.

Let’s get real … No. 3 has played only 27 games, and the Bucs have lost 15 of them.

But let’s also note that everyone in the Buc organization, including the men at the top, have no doubt that Winston is the first true franchise quarterback in the club’s 40-year history.

Meanwhile, Mariota is also enjoying a stellar season.

“Full Command”

At 6-6, the Titans have a good shot at winning the weak AFC South. The only club in the AFC that has scored more points than Tennessee is San Diego — this week’s opponent for the Bucs.

Except for Tom Brady, who is merely the best quarterback of pro football’s modern era, Mariota has the best passer rating (101.9) in the AFC. He has thrown three more touchdown passes (25) than Winston and tossed three less interceptions (8).

“Marcus has full command of this football team,” Robinson said. “He doesn’t get rattled and he is distributing the ball so well. He has learned to throw the ball away on rollouts instead of trying to squeeze passes into tight windows.”

While Mariota is blessed with a Pro Bowl runner in DeMarco Murray, I can make a convincing argument that Winston has the privilege of aiming passes toward the NFL’s best receiver in 2016, Mike Evans.

“Winston is throwing the ball a lot better than he was last year,” says Chargers safety Dwight Lowery. “He’s in the pocket a little more. He’s stepping up and he’s stepping into his throws. He has more of an understanding of offense with his experience. I think Dirk Koetter is doing an excellent job with him on his development.”

Winston has been solid on third down, but Mariota has been exceptional, with 10 touchdown passes and an NFL-high 1,041 yards.

Only New Orleans and Atlanta have scored more touchdowns than the Titans, who have built a sturdy offensive line in front of Mariota. Both Tennessee and Tampa Bay have flourished on third down, each converting well above the league standard of 40.1 percent.

Day-Off Warriors

Robinson and Bucs GM Jason Licht remain very close. Robinson considers Licht a mentor and Licht was torn when the Titans hired his trusted sounding board away from One Buc Place last January.

He was happy for Robinson’s opportunity but saddened to lose his disciple’s football acumen.

The two men communicate often by text and Robinson was a witness to Winston’s splendid rookie season. Now, he has been up close and personal with Mariota.

“Jameis is a fearless leader and unbelievably tough,” Robinson said. “Like Winston, Mariota loves football and he’s the first guy in the building. I see him in here on his days off. Yes, they have different personalities, but both work extremely hard and they have very good football intelligence.”

While Winston’s emotions are never far from the surface, Mariota is more even keel. Both are comfortable in their own skin and both generate loyalty from teammates.

Licht wouldn’t trade his guy for Robinson’s guy, and vice versa. That’s the way it should be, the first two players off the 2015 draft board battling each other on fall Sundays.

Winston’s passion for competition is real. Professionals see through the phonies very quickly, but the Bucs are all in regarding the face of the franchise and he is all in on them.

“I’ve been around a lot of great quarterbacks, including Tom Brady and Dan Marino,” Licht said, “but Jameis Winston is the most captivating leader I’ve ever seen.”

25 Responses to “Jon Robinson & Jason Licht Talk Winston-Mariota”

  1. DB55 Says:

    Meh. I don’t think mm would be able to win games with JW roster. Two completely different games. In my eyes there’s no competition. Jameis is the better QB hands down.

  2. gotbbucs Says:

    It was a different feeling going into this season knowing for the first time since I’ve become a fan of this team that we didn’t have to wonder if Jeff Garcia would be back next year, or wondering who was going to win the QB competition between Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich, or if Chris Simms could actually be a franchise QB. Josh Freeman had his moments but never was the leader that Winston is.
    It feels good to finally have what so many other teams have had for years and years and years, a franchise QB.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    I like your bottom line Ira … “the verdict is in — they’re both going to be great.”

  4. Nole4JabooANDdBucs Says:

    Sure Marcus is a good player! But to keep things in perspective. Marcus is 23 Jameis is still 22. Marcus was redshirted in 2011 Jameis was still in high school.

    Jameis was RS in 2012 while playing dual sports.
    Marcus actually started for 3yrs Jameis ONLY 2yrs.
    Jameis led FSU to a Nat’l Championship his first year and rcv’d the heisman all while playing baseball.

    When Jameis played Marcus unlike what is often reported Marcus had the most college experience. Jameis just came in with a high football IQ.

  5. Pit Says:

    Robinson would take JW in a heartbeat if he could.
    I am so glad we got Winston and not MM. If we had MM we would already be looking for another QB.

  6. ChaosRecon95 Says:

    ’15 is a special draft. Two QB’s 1 and 2 and BOTH teams ended up happy!

  7. SB with Jameis Says:

    To me it seems as if Mariota was what Tennessee needed and Jameis was what Tampa needed. Win win. Tear the Rear View Mirror off.

  8. Patrickbucs Says:

    Unless db55 u have the ticket and watch Marcus weekly please give it up, college is over. He will probably be AFC offenisive player of the month, still not good enough for you though? 3 time AFC player of the week to date in less games because he was hurt last year. Both can be good or great, glad we have Winston but watch MM for a few games run and throw or read a few national articles before meh all the time.

    It’s good for the league to have good young qb’s doing well if anyone is a true football fan IMO.

  9. Cheezman Says:

    HAHA so many obviously jelly and salty Bucs fans. Mariota is 3rd in 3rd down passer rating and 8th in passer rating under pressure. You won’t see Winston anywhere close to that. That’s just a couple of examples of Marcus beating dat azzzzzzzzzz. Winston is awesome, but the comments are hilarious! “Meh. I don’t think mm would be able to win games with JW roster.” Give MM Mike Evans and see what happens… like I said hilarious!

  10. Kobe Faker Says:


    Less than 2 days, the team is getting on the plane to san Diego to face a hot and desperate teams that averages 28 pts and our GM forrest Gump is talking about Marcus mariota?

    Did we win anything? Did we get in the playoffs already? Are we talking about the flex game vs the saints nows? Feels like a bye week this week?

    Where is our desparate mode Head coach?

    We will be flatter than my pancake rear end this sunday

  11. Buc1987 Says:

    Jameis Winston is OUR QB and that’s all that really matters.

    Linked fine and dandy. I don’t much follow the other guy all that much. I have guys on this Bucs site to do it for me. Like Bucnut or SuperSam, or THIS dude above me. Thanks for the MM stats. Actually, really…no thanks.

    Jameis Winston is OUR QB and that’s all that really matters.

  12. Tampa Tony Says:

    One of the rare occasions both top picks ended up being good players. Do I wish Jameis had Mariota’a accuracy? Hell yea!! But I think Jameis had the intangibles this franchise sadly needed to be competitive

  13. Ndog Says:

    Kobe you are clearly back with all your pointless comments. So do you still think Evans is average and every free agent Licht brought in sucks?

  14. Cat Says:

    Koetter’s system is much more difficult to run than what Mariota is running in Tennessee. Also Winston has faced many of the NFL’s better defenses such as the Broncos, Cardinals, Chiefs, and Seahawks.
    @ Kobe
    I agree that the Bucs will probably play awful on Sunday. Getting too much hype.

  15. Pit Says:

    I am happy that we have fans like The faker,cheeseman and Patrick star here.

    So everybody else can learn what a fan should not do to support their team.

    Jameis is our QB and he is the only QB that matters. You guys should start watching Bucs game not the red zone channel.

  16. Bucsfan951 Says:

    It’s Wednesday and I knew Kobe would start to come around with his negative attitude. Kobe, for real, are you seriously a bucs fan? Is everything in your life doom and gloom?

  17. KingMeatyHand Says:

    If it’s considered ‘salty’ to see that Winston has about 300% more upside (and has from day one) while also being a bit of a gunslinger, then I guess I’m ‘salty’.

    Some of you might get all hugs and kisses about a perpetual wheel of slant routes, bubble screens, read options and rehashed West Coast Offense leftovers, but I, personally, hate that. Jameis needs 3.. he goes for 13. He needs 13, he goes for 15. It’s sometimes maddening, but it’s fun.

  18. BucsFanRioDeJaneiro Says:

    MM is more consistent. But JW has more talent and intangibles. I think we made the right decision bringing #3.

  19. sunshine Says:

    Look at the qb rating ,listen to the nfl media, as Mariota is picked as better with a higher ceiling all the time…but Winston was better pick for the locals

  20. Joseph Mamma Says:

    KingMeatyHand sounds like you’ve never actually seen the Titans offense. Slant routes and bubble screens, give me a break, Mariota’s yard per completion is higher than Winston’s, along with more touchdown’s and less picks. They take shots down the field just like Koetter’s offense. They do throw in the read option some because the kid is a legitimate threat to take it to the house with his legs on any play. I like Jameis but his gunslinger trait will cost the Buc’s from time to time, where as Mariota has never thrown a red zone pick in like 30 attempts. I think both QB’s will be great just like Ira said but I like MM’s consistency, quick release, and accuracy will make him better in the long run.

  21. DaFonz Says:

    I just going to say this I don’t care what people say both are going to be really good QB’s
    But people excuses for why MM is better than Jameis is just plain right stupid. I mean @sunshine only argument was his QBR and media say that he’s better. Really bro you can’t do better. Secondly I hear well Marcus does have mike Evans. My response no your right but he has Delanie Walker (top 7 TE in my opinion), a very good number 2 option Rishard Matthews (was good in Miami) and tajee sharpe plus you have one of the best Olines (better than the bucs oline)
    Third I hear he’s more consistent. When that’s not true because the guy started of the season just like Jameis(slightly worse than Jameis) and was the reason why you guys loss majority of your games. Then both of them happened to go on a tear at the same time both JW streak is impressive because not only is he doing it he’s doing it against good teams.

    Lastly the stats arguement. Bucs fans you don’t know how many times I lose my mind when I hear “well Mariota stats is better than Jameis stats”. That’s so far from the truth. When in actuality the two reasons why most of his numbers are better than Jameis is because he’s played one more game than him and lets face it his schedule is not as daunting as Jameis schedule is. Yet he’s only leading Jameis by slim margin in every statistical category that matters.

  22. gilhealy Says:

    Quit with the redzone stat. Winston has thrown 30 redzone td’s to just one interception. No big difference.

  23. gilhealy Says:

    …plus 7 redzone rushing td’s for JW

  24. DaFonz Says:

    @Gilhealy exactly. It just goes to show that whenever people try to compare the two they don’t know want their talking about

  25. WeAreLost Says:

    Winston Hands down screw Mariota he is the enemy.