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Florida State football: Will Jameis Winston check down more to running backs?

Tomahawk Nation is previewing the Florida State Seminoles 2014 season with a series of roundtable responses. Our authors chimed in on questions that piqued their interest.

Jeff Gross

Winston is saying all the right things in regards to checking down and taking what the defense gives him. While nobody really wants Winston to stop stretching the field, will we see him throw more to the backs this year?

Salukinole: I see a slight uptick in throwing to the backs but more focus on throwing shorter combo routes to the tight ends. Last year, Nick O'Leary was the only option at tight end while the addition of a healthy Kevin Haplea and integration of the two freshman can only assist in giving Jameis more options underneath. I am a little more skeptical on throwing to the backs given that there is no proven pass catching commodity. Karlos Williams has a year under his belt, and not much is known about Pender, Green, or Cook to exude any confidence that they will be more of a part of the passing offense.

Alan Mundy: I think Winston will be better in this regard when FSU spreads the field in passing situations. However, I'm not sure if it will be readily apparent as I expect FSU to operate with more tight ends on the field, run the ball and throw deep shots off play action. Those type of 5 and 7 step drop plays tend to include the backs more frequently in pass protection rather than as outlet receivers.

The other area where I think Jameis can improve in this regard is in not locking on to Rashad Greene as much in the quick game. Jameis thinks in terms of match-ups as much as scheme, which is something NFL coaches will love, but at the college level FSU's third receiver is probably just as big of a matchup advantage and if he's more open, that's the right throw.

Florida State season preview

FSU: I actually expect him to fully spread the wealth around. And Florida State doing that using two TE sets and deploying the backs as pass catching options.

Bud Elliott: I have to think that he will. I am expecting a significant drop-off at the receiver position compared to 2013, and Winston is no dummy. If his receivers are not getting as open, and aren't making the same sort of plays on contested balls, I expect him to adjust and do a better job of taking the open throw. But Salukinole is right in that none of the backs have distinguished themselves as of yet in terms of catching the football. In 2013, only 13 percent of the throws went to the backs, and I anticipate that going up to closer to 20 percent.

Will Jameis develop a case of the "lock-on"s with Rashad Greene?

ricobert1: Jameis has enough talent to throw Greene open. But will we see more throws to him in double coverage? I worry so. Greene's routes plus Jameis' arm/anticipation can make these throws successful, but the risk of bad things goes up by doing so.

Kyle Griffis: I think it's important to separate "comfort" with a case of the "lock-ons." Will Jameis be most comfortable with (statistically) the most productive WR Florida State has seen in over a decade and his favorite target from last year? It's definitely possible, even probable. But as the season progresses, I believe Jameis will become comfortable with everyone, just like he did last year. It definitely helps that O'Leary returns, and the new guys at WR are so talented, I don't think it will take long for Jameis to develop trust with them. You also can't forget the other older guys coming back, Scooter, Green, etc.

FSU: I actually believe it will be the opposite. Winston should improve at making the choice to check down and involve backs and the tight end position more than in the past.