Winston still trying to win over all of his fans

by Gary Shelton on September 13, 2016 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

There are a thousand Jameis Winstons out there. Maybe more.

There is Jameis the star. There is Jameis the struggling quarterback. There is Jameis the leader. There is Jameis the loudmouth. There is Jameis who was accused of crimes. There is Jameis who was acquitted every time. There is Jameis the competitor.

There are as many Winstons as there are viewpoints of him. None of us, it seems, see the same guy. None of us hear the same voice.

This occurred to me on Sunday, in the echoes of an interception. Winston thought Vincent Jackson was going to zig;

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Winston zagged. The Falcons picked off the pass. In football, it happens.

Seconds later, I received this Tweet: "Winston is the worst."

Well, no, I said. The kid threw for 4,000 yards last year.

"Because of Mike Evans!" the next Tweet said.

Now, this was just ridiculous, and a clear sign that the guy had no idea of what happened last year. Evans led the NFL in drops, as most of you know, and he was near the lead in penalties. Evans wasn't carrying anyone.

Then came the final Tweet.

"You're just a Winston homer."

Right. Mind you, I never said a word about Winston except to note that he had 4,000 yards, which is one of those things they call a fact. But I'm a homer? The world is a funny place, isn't it?

Now, I'll be honest. If the guy had said "Winston needs to be more careful with the ball," I'd have said Amen. If he said that his skills as a leader are still above his skills as a quarterback, I'd have nodded along. If he said that interceptions are worse than toothaches, I'd have gone along with it. But a statement like "This guy is the worst" is just someone trying to look smart by bashing someone else the rest of us think is good. Look at me! I ripped him first?

Hey, most of us who watch football know that Winston isn't a finished product. We also know that he has ton of talent, which he spent most of Sunday proving. He threw for four touchdowns; the Bucs, coincidentally, scored four touchdowns. He led four drives of 75 yards.

Oh, I didn't hear from the chucklehead again.

Now, there are three possibilities here. One, the guy is a knuckle-dragging moron who gets his courage from internet protection. Two, he's a troll trying to get a reaction. Three, he really thinks that Winston is a bad quarterback.

From my viewpoint, Winston isn't.

Koetter was talking Monday about how quickly Winston turns loose of a mistake. That's part of his skillset.

"Most guys go into a funk or go into a pout," Koetter said. "Jameis, he’s great about that. I don’t like yelling at the quarterback on game day and Jameis will sometimes say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to coach me harder!’ Again, I go back to his training with his father and then with (Florida State Head Coach) Jimbo Fisher, they both trained him very well."

I've said this before. What I like about Winston is that he isn't a step-by-step quarterback. He's a ballplayer. He'll take a shot. He'll make a run. Hey, he's a 21-year-old kid. He screws up some.

But, yeah, I'll pick him on my team.

"Jameis yesterday did what Jameis does best and that’s play football," Koetter said. "Jameis is a football player and it’s not always pretty, it’s not always how we draw it up - I’d like every play to go exactly like we draw it up - but that guy, he has a unique ability to make (plays).

"He’s going to make some plays you don’t expect him to make, he’s going to miss some plays that I’m going, ‘Jameis, you’ve got to make that play.’ And he’s the same all the time. He’s focused on winning, he’s focusing on leading our team and he’s tough as nails. Boy, he will stand in that pocket and that rush bearing down on him, he’ll stand right in there. He’s a lot better moving in the pocket than people might think.”

The truth of it is that no one is admired universally. I'm sure there are those who see flaws when Tom Brady plays, or Drew Brees, or Cam Newton. That's part of the difficulty of playing the position. There are always a million people at home who could do it better.

But you want to know the truth?

It feels okay being a Winston Homer. It feels okay.

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