Sunday, June 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston: ‘Winning games will make people forget a lot of things’

TAMPA — The Bucs began their mandatory mini-camp Tuesday, and even newcomer Jason Pierre-Paul's alarm clock worked. Then there is the mandatory Bucs quarterback. Jameis Winston is on his own clock. It's half past winning, and he knows it.

"I think everything in life comes down to, are you winning or are you losing?" Winston said. "At the quarterback position, in any athletics, it's about winning games. Winning games will make people forget a lot of things. (Losing) games will make people bring up unnecessary things."

I'm not sure that's entirely true in Winston's case, especially given the current limbo conditions. We still don't know if the NFL's Uber investigation will delay the start of Winston's fourth season, whether it's one game, two games or four games. We just don't know. Neither does Winston.

And I'm not sure we'll forget the off field if he does it on the field.

But let's try it, shall we?

RELATED: More coverage from Martin Fennelly

Winston lost once at Florida State, his last one, in the Rose Bowl against Marcus Mariota and Oregon. Mariota, No. 2 in the Jameis draft, took Tennessee to the playoffs last season. Winston is 18-27 as a starter in three seasons with the Bucs, including a step-back 3-10 in 2017. He's 24, still a young man. But those lonely 18 wins and 27 losses are the story, fair or not.

Winston has thrown 69 touchdown passes in the three seasons, which is not bad. He has thrown 44 interceptions, which is not good. He has had his leadership moments, several of them. But it all comes down to winning and how much of that you do determines how good a quarterback you are.

That's the NFL. Zero sum.

How many quarterbacks, or players, enter 2018 with more pressure on them than Winston? He has to produce this time around or the whole thing goes over the falls without a barrel. Winston's accuracy is one thing, but Winston winning is everything.

It isn't about licking fingers. The Bucs need to order a big helping of winning, and the order rides on Winston's arm and head.

"From Year 1 to Year 2 I had improvement on what matters most," said Winston who went 9-7 as an NFL sophomore. "I declined last year. I definitely have to get back up on winning."

Ever wonder what kind of Winston we'd be talking about if he had never had off-field troubles in Tallahassee or this latest mess? The guy should be doing commercials on national TV. Instead, he is still trying to find his game, away from the cameras, far from Hard Knocks.

Tuesday, it was shorts, no pads. Soft Knocks. Winston in limbo. He pays it no mind.

"My focus has remained with this offseason and with this team," he said. "My concentration still remains with this organization and our team."

Later, he added, "My work ethic is unparalleled. When it comes to on and off the field, I do everything in this community and for this football team that I possibly can to get better now. I'm trying to look to improve in anything I need to do. And if you think I need to get better, then I'll get better."

While I'm not so sure Winston's work ethic is unparalleled (lots of players work hard, and I hear Sisyphus was a gamer), I will say that at this point Winston's desire and devotion to being great keeps me thinking that one day there will be a bright light and it will all come together. Plus, his teamwork is for real. When Pierre-Paul arrived at One Buc Place, finally, Winston found him. He should find DeSean Jackson so easily.

"I came in and he was one of the first guys I talked with, besides Lavonte David, who I went to junior college with. That means a lot," Pierre-Paul said. "I think building chemistry with a team and teammates starts with talking. He's a great quarterback and a great leader."

It's a big year for Winston.

"I'd like to see the coach who stands up here and it's not a big year for a team," coach Dirk Koetter said. "It's a big year for everybody."

It's bigger for Winston. A suspension to start this season couldn't possibly help.

The man needs Ws.

"It's not really about the outside sources," Winston said. "It's about us collectively, as a team, getting together, backing each other, and going out there and executing and winning ball games. Just win more. When we lose, come together so we can win more."

We're down to that. So is Winston.

Zero sum.

Contact Martin Fennelly at [email protected] or (813) 731-8029.

Comments
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Times wiresSAN DIEGO – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday on suspicion of multiple sex-crimes-related charges, including two counts of rape, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.The departmen...
Published: 06/14/18
Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

The Bucs' 2018 draft class is now all in the fold, with running back Ronald Jones, second-rounder from USC, signing his rookie deal Thursday.Jones, who won't turn 21 until August after the Bucs go to training camp, was the last of Tampa Bay's eight d...
Published: 06/14/18