The first pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Jameis Winston had himself a solid rookie campaign as Tampa Bay’s signal caller. There was a lot of promise and a lot of sighs of relief that he wouldn’t be a bust—at least for the short term. Going into the draft, he was compared to Peyton Manning by some scouts for his football I.Q., and his college tape was nothing short of impressive.
Then 2016 arrived and Jameis began his growing pains. While Winston hasn’t been awful, he’s definitely been hot or cold depending on the week. After an impressive showing against the Atlanta Falcons at home, Winston turned around and had what looked like a competition with Colin Kaepernick for worst showing against the Arizona Cardinals; four interceptions, one fumble, ugly. He then turned around and threw for 405 yards against the Los Angeles Rams the following week. Not much of a pattern, but consistency may be an issue moving forward.
And that sums up how this season has been. Winston is coming off a bye and an absolutely horrendous Monday Night win to the Carolina Panthers. Horrendous because the game contained some of the sloppiest football seen in some time. So sloppy that announcer Jon Gruden criticized both teams throughout the game.
Winston met with the Bay Area media in preparation for the Buccaneers’ matchup against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday. While the usual football questions were asked, the conversation gets interesting towards the end when Winston was asked about his decision to go to Stanford over
FSU Florida State. It gets interesting because it implies Winston may not have made the same decision if he was presented with the same situation again.
Your last game, that win over Carolina, what did that do for your confidence, or the team’s confidence
It was good to secure a win into the bye week. Our main goal is to get better every single week and we did.
How has this year gone for you as opposed to last year? How comfortable are you just in the NFL and in reading defenses?
Pretty comfortable, just being in this offense a second year makes stuff a little more simplified. I’m happy that I had some type of experience in the NFL
Just five games into your second season, do you see defenses making adjustments to you? Do you feel like you have to continue to adjust to what they’re doing and improve your game in other areas as well?
Yeah, the main thing is like you said: improving my game. I have to get better in every aspect of the game no matter what the defense is doing. At the end of the day, they don’t know what play we’re running, so they’re just playing off reaction. I just have to do my job.
Are there any areas specifically you’ve honed in on your second season to try and improve?
Get the ball out fast and pocket presence.
What’s the difference with having Dirk Koetter now as your head coach now as opposed to your offensive coordinator?
The only difference is his attitude, the team has definitely taken on his attitude. He’s a very tenacious and very dedicated coach. We love that about him. Offensive side of the ball, he’s very similar.
Do you still have the same amount of interaction with him or is he delegating his involvement you have with other coaches?
He does his fair share with the offense.
Do you expect to have Doug Martin behind you on Sunday?
I don’t know. Obviously we won’t know. I’m excited just to see him here walking around and having fun. So, I just hope he can go and we’ll see it from there.
You guys haven’t had your practice yet today?
When you look at the 49ers or a team like the 49ers who have given up so many yards on the ground, do you go into the week really expecting them to load up and take that area away and maybe that opens up things for you in passing game?
No sir, I just go into the week expecting the unexpected. These defenses are NFL defenses, so they are going to do what they do and our main focus is to do our job the way we need to do it and try to win.
A lot of time, young teams don’t do very well on the road. You guys seem to have a pretty good road record. Can you explain that and is there something about your squad playing on the road that they like to be away from home?
Nothing in particular I can talk about. I just know we like winning. So anytime you can get a big win on the road, and our wins have been against division opponents so that’s pretty good.
Thinking about your offense it’s about you and Mike Evans, but at that Monday night game in particular, you guys showed you really wanted to pound the ball even without Martin there. Is that the part of identity you’re trying to establish on offense?
As soon as we come out there, our main thing is own that line of scrimmage. If we can own the line of scrimmage, everything works. The passing shows up, different types of misdirection lines will show up, it’s just a whole lot of stuff that comes with owning the line of scrimmage.
How close did you come to going to Stanford?
Very close. The night I got accepted into Stanford, I took my visit out there to make my final decision. And when I came to Stanford, Palo Alto, I was blown away. But I decided to go to FSU.
What was a deciding factor for you, was it just a better chance to play football right away at FSU? What was the thing?
It was really me not really knowing how prestigious Stanford was. I look back all the time and think about if I went to Stanford, what way my life could have turned. You know, you make your decisions and you own them.
Are you saying maybe if you had to do it over again maybe you wouldn’t have made the same decision.
Yeah, just because Stanford is a great school. You are who you place yourself around. I would just love the opportunity to go to Stanford and be with some of my friends out there.
Who are your friends out here?
Noor Davis was in my recruiting class and also a man by the name of Drew Madue who played at Stanford for a little bit, but he ended up getting medically redshirted because of concussions. Those were my guys.
When you look at this 49ers defense on film, what kind of jumps out at you?
A lot of different coverages, a lot of different looks, really long, lengthy D-linemen. Players just lying around everywhere. They have a bunch of great players and with their mixture of coverages they are very tough and very challenging to pick apart.