Jameis Winston, Bucs focus on being decisive in red zone

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston gained a valuable red zone lesson the hard way in a Week 9 loss to the New York Giants.

There will be times when he must trust his first read and go with it.

"That's what I have to learn so we can score down there, just sticking with my read and staying by that -- not having my eyes everywhere," Winston said Wednesday.

The Bucs were a miserable 1-for-4 in the red zone last Sunday, settling for three field goals in the first half on drives that reached the Giants' 10-yard line or deeper, with Winston completing just 1 of 6 passes for 4 yards in those sequences. Tampa Bay's lone touchdown in the area happened in the fourth quarter, when Winston capped a 10-yard run by diving over a pylon.

"That's something I've got to get better at to help us out," Winston said of the red zone problems. "I believe I've been getting better every week. But definitely, my eye progression and the things I see in the red zone and how quick I've got to get the receivers the ball is different [from college]. So that's another aspect of my game that I have to get better at.

"The offense has been looking good. We've established the run game. We've got us some passes here and there. Offensive line is looking amazing. We've just got to score in the red zone to finish."

Tampa Bay owns one of the NFL's worst red zone offenses, having scored a touchdown on just 42.86 percent of trips there. Only Cleveland, Minnesota, San Francisco and Seattle are worse.

Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said a number of issues were to blame for the red zone problems in Week 9: blocking mistakes, quality coverage by the Giants, missed throws by Winston and the need for better play calls.

"A combination of all those things," Koetter said. "Twenty-five percent -- one out of four -- that's a bad number. And that more than likely cost us the game. We've got to do better.

"Jameis is doing a good job. But everybody -- me included -- we're expecting him to play like a five-year vet, and he's an eight-game vet. He's doing some fantastic stuff, competes his tail off every week, he studies, makes some beautiful throws. But everything happens just a little bit faster in the red zone. We've got to make decisions and stick with them."

Winston has work ahead of him to do just that -- and reach the end zone more often.

"It's tighter down there," he said. "You don't want to get sacked. You don't want to hold on to the ball, because you don't want to get kicked out of field goal range. You just want to have positive plays and get the ball in the end zone."