Winston has to rebound quickly for Bucs

by Gary Shelton on September 11, 2019 · 0 comments

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Jameis Winston scrambles to recover the ball. /STEVEN MUNCIE

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

James Winston says his eyes are looking forward.

Good thing. What's behind him is too painful to consider.

Yeah, yeah. Bucs' coach Bruce Arians has said that two of his three interceptions weren't his fault. But of all the quarterbacks in the NFL, only Winston and Baker Mayfield had three. Clearly, he should have gone elsewhere with his two passes that were returned for touchdowns.

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Winston now has 61 interceptions in 57 games.

“Even in preseason, we’ve always got to do a great job of eliminating negatives and building on the positives," Winston said. "With a short week, we had to do that in a more sped up process because we have a division opponent. We cannot overlook Carolina and that’s why we’ve got to put that last game to bed — it’s been to bed — and we’ve got to focus on this opponent and go out there and play our best game.”

Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich can relate.

“Yeah, I remember being younger and being in those situations—," Leftwich said.
You feel like the whole world’s on your shoulders, you feel like you didn’t do things well enough, but then when you sit back and watch it, you come in and watch the tape and you see it. It’s just the quarterback position. If you’re playing quarterback on one of these 32 teams in the league, you’ve got to be willing to accept all blame that comes your way when it comes your way — that’s just part of the position. Jameis is fine with that, he understands that, he knows the most important thing for us on Monday [was] to come in here and turn the page and move on to the Carolina Panthers, and he did a heck of a job of doing that. That’s just part of it. We watched the tape, we learned from it and we’ll continue to get better.”

Leftwich said Winston has to bounce back this week.

"That’s part of this league," he said. "That’s what this league’s all about. You can’t have any hangovers, no carryovers, so he’s just got to stay locked in. The good thing is we had to get in this thing the next day and get to rolling with this game being so quick. We’re on to the Carolina Panthers and trying to do what we can to find a way to win that game.”

Leftwich defending Winston against the suggestion that he was late on the team's fourth down play from the 2.

"They blew the coverage is the reason that Chris (Godwin) was so open," Leftwich said. " Chris wasn’t really one in the progression. It all happened really quick on everybody — on Chris too — it happened so fast on Chris too, Chris didn’t even know he was open. The good thing [is] we can actually learn from that play because those situations are going to happen throughout the year. The one thing when you’ve got a new offense — sometimes guys are, ‘Should I have done this, should I have done that?,’ because moments happen in the game that the game doesn’t allow you to practice for. Two guys just chase one guy and it just popped. I think the next time we’re in that situation between the both of those two guys, we’ll get the job done.”

Leftwich said that Winston should have thrown the ball away on his fourth-quarter interception, however.

"We’ve got to find a way to get that ball in the ground," Leftwich said. "That’s the key. The defense did a heck of a job of playing the play — we’ve just got to find a way to get that ball in the ground, and Jameis knows that. Jameis knows that inside and we will get better from that moment. A lot of teaching went into that moment, not just because of that play, but the fact that that play happened, it allowed us to teach our team really, from that aspect of what we’ve got to do in those situations, because games in this league come down to that possession anyway. I don’t care who you’re playing … That’s the National Football League, and we’ve just got to have awareness from that aspect. I think we learned as a team from that play. We’ll get better from that play. I know it’s easy for me to get up here and say it two days later and look like I’m trying to sugarcoat things, but honestly, we will get better from that play as a whole, as a group.”

The Bucs play at Carolina on Thursday night at 8:25 p.m.








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