Winston ready to take over HBO with his performance

by Gary Shelton on August 8, 2017 · 7 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Evan and Jackson during drills./STEVEN MUNCIE

Evan and Jackson during drills./STEVEN MUNCIE

Updated, 9:30 a.m.

Already, the cameras love him.

Already, that million dollar smile and the dancing eyes and the effusive personality of Jameis Winston are on display. He is a player on the rise on a team on the rise, and it doesn't matter how hard you want to knock him. It's Jameis Winston's show. Co-starring Jameis Winston.

And wait until they get a load of him back in Alabama.

Winston went national Tuesday night, taking a nice slice of the HBO series Hard Knocks with him. There is something to Winston – a soda shaken before it is opened – that bubbles over the camera. He may be the

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Jameis Winston has carried the load for Bucs./STEVEN MUNCIE

Jameis Winston has carried the load for Bucs./STEVEN MUNCIE

happiest kid in the NFL, and the cameras show it. This is his yard. And when the sun shines, it is like a giant spotlight on Winston.

Think of it. There is Jon Snow. There is Tony Soprano. And there is Winston.

Did you catch Tuesday night's premiere? It was, in a word, terrific. There has never been better access to get you next to the Bucs.

There was Winston, proclaiming himself to be the Crocodile Hunter of cockroaches. There was McCoy, who comes across as the guy you want to live next to. There was Koetter, who seems to have his priorities straight.There was rookie Riley Bullock, who you will pull to make this team.

Mostly, there was Winston, hamming it up when teammates sing, comfortable back in in childhood home, taking a tongue-lashing from Koetter, encouraging players to stand for Oh Canada, flopping on his bed, leading his team. By now, you know Winston. This will make you know him closer.

And it true that the Bucs depend mightily upon Winston, almost as much as any team in the NFL. Consider this: There were 13 NFL quarterbacks who threw for as many as 4,000 yards last year. But of those, only five had a worse running game than the Bucs. And all five of those had a better defense. When Winston had a bad game, it was a lot to overcome.

This year, the Bucs have brought in nice new toys for Winston. The Bucs have added DeSean Jackson, and O.J. Howard, and Chris Godwin. But Tampa Bay won't have a complete backfield until Week Four when Doug Martin comes off of suspension.

Koetter, however, seems to like his backs: Quizz Rogers, Peyton Barber, Jeremy McNichols and Charles Sims.

"He's doing really good. Him and Jeremy, that's a nice [duo]. I've been telling you all along: We're deep at running back. It's going to work itself out because of the suspension with Doug (Martin). I think Charles Sims has had a good camp, Quizz is solid, but those two young guys, Peyton and Jeremy, we like what we see from both of those guys."

Said Winston: “I feel great about our RBs. They look great – including Doug [Martin]. You know, Doug isn’t out there taking any reps off. He’s out there going hard like he’s going to be starting week one and that’s exciting. That pushes those running backs and makes them want to play harder because they see a guy that’s not going to be with us the first three weeks and they’ve got to show, ‘He’s not going to be with us, so what can I do to fill that void. What can I do to make sure I don’t let him down?’ We’ve got Doug’s back. We’re playing these games for Doug.”

By time Friday night rolls around, Winston will be looking for a complete game.

“All of us are taking ‘compete’ to heart because that’s our motto – that’s what we go by and that’s what this game is all about," Winston said. We have to compete on every snap, on every play, so [there’s] not a time that we’re out there and not competing.”

I'll be honest. Tuesday night was a lot more fun that Friday's first preseason game promises to be. I'm a huge fan of access, and this was the king of it. I even loved the players and staff talking about Game of Thrones.

I don't know how  you watch this show without thinking better of the Bucs. I couple of times early, I thought the show laid it on a little thick about the number of stars the team has. But it was a wonderful peak inside the locker room.

Here's the ultimate compliment. I wish he next episode started now.


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