Winston continues to lead the Bucs in off-season

by Gary Shelton on June 14, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Jameis Winston continues to lead the Bucs./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Jameis Winston continues to lead the Bucs./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Wednesday, 2 a.m.

In the world of Jameis Winston, the sunrise has a little bit of pewter in it.

The sunset, too. And most of the hours in between.

Winston, the third-year quarterback of the Tampa Bay Bucs, continues to be the heartbeat of the Bucs. He continues to be the main cheerleader, the best teammate, the offensive leader. As a quarterback, sure, he still needs work in different areas. But no one believes in the Bucs quite as much as Winston; the Bucs, on the other hand, seem to believe in Winston.

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He convinces you. After a while, Winston's constant praise of his teammates makes you believe that he believes. That doesn't mean the team won't have its tough spots ahead. It does mean that Winston sets a tone, an atmosphere, that fills the locker room.

He does not lead the way Hardy Nickerson led. Nickerson would fight his teammates who were coasting. He did not lead the way Derrick Brooks led. Brooks was quiet fire. He is chatty, bubbly, effusive.

Still, it works. He has this team's attention.

Consider this sampling of Winston's comments during Tuesday's mini-camp.

On the chemistry of the team: “It feels great, it feels great. Obviously, it has to get better and we will make it better, but now, with mandatory mini-camp, we’ll have everyone here and everyone will be executing to perfection.”

On the defense: “We have a great defense. A lot of people look at the offensive production and the guys we have on that side, but we wouldn’t have won the games that we won without our defense last year and I think everyone knows that – especially inside this building. So our defense is a great defense and just the challenges that they throw at us every single day, it really helps us.”

On the transition of Ali Marpet to center: “Well, Ali is a bright guy so the main thing is just we never had that chance to actually work together. So he’s saying that I’m helping him – he’s actually helping me, so it’s definitely hand-in-hand. We’re like two peas in a pod. He’s been our guard and now he’s a center. It’s different from a communication level, so I’ve helped him out a little bit but he’s helped me out a lot more.”

On winning a Super Bowl: “Well that’s just the goal – the goal is to win Super Bowls here and if that’s not the goal for everyone in the building, you don’t really need to be here.”

On newcomer Chris Baker: “I can’t really talk about defensive tackles because, like I said, I can’t really tell about their rush because we don’t have on pads. But as far as film, he’s a beast. He’s a monster. I get the luxury that our defensive line [doesn’t] get to rush me. So I’ll be able to tell you about Chris Baker when we see him on the field, but as a teammate he’s a very funny guy. I love him.”

On his personal goals: “The offseason isn’t over yet, so we’ve got to continue to prepare and I have to continue to prepare on my progressions, on my footwork and everything I need to become a great quarterback in this league. So right now I’m not focused on any specific thing that I need to get better on. I’m just focusing on every little thing that I can improve to help this team be successful.”

On receiver DeSean Jackson: “Absolutely, because we play a game that is so, so fierce and so competitive and a lot of people try to get tight. DeSean, what he brings to the game is he brings a pleasant mindset to this team. He’s laid back, he’s going to do his job and he loves to make big plays and like Coach Koetter had said, he said, ‘We want people to make plays.’ That’s what we’re here for. If you’re scared to make plays, you don’t need to be here. That’s from me – Coach Koetter didn’t say that.”

On tackle Donovan Smith: “I love Donovan Smith. He and Ali are two of my best friends on that offensive line because we came in together. But I’ve got all the trust in the world in that guy. He’s a tough guy and he’s a smooth guy, too.”

On receiver Mike Evans making the NFL's top 100 players (No. 29): “I feel he should be in the Top 10. How much he means to me and this team is indescribable. He’s an amazing player but I’m happy for him. I’m happy that he is a Top 100 player but to me, he’s the No. 1 guy. He’s the best receiver in the league. You think about the receivers that are in our conference, Julio Jones is going to be placed probably before him, but Mike is every bit of Julio. And I commend Julio because he’s a monster too, but I love Mike. I love our guys.

Imagine if I had Mike one-on-one all those times I had to improvise. I’ll leave it at that.”

Winston continues to impress him teammates, too. Get a load of what Smith had to say about him.

Just all around. He’s always been a leader, but the way he’s leading, he’s taken it up a notch. He is the hardest working guy I know. Anytime you get here at 5:45 in the morning, he’s already here. It’s like you can’t beat him to the building. The work he puts in is just tremendous and it only benefits us at the end of the day.”

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