Jameis Winston describes reaction to Bucs firing Lovie Smith
The day after learning his head coach had been fired following his rookie season, quarterback Jameis Winston was called into the team's headquarters to meet with general manager Jason Licht to talk about the dismissal of Lovie Smith.
Winston, who claims Smith was his biggest advocate during the NFL draft, said he knew NFL quarterbacks had struggled after having to start over after their first NFL season with a new system and coaching staff.
"I just remember having to come in the next day and having to talk to Mr. Licht,'' Winston said Tuesday. "I remember him asking me, 'Are you okay?’ I said, 'Yes, I’m all right. I’m good.’ Because Lovie just meant a lot to me. He took a chance on me with the first pick. Every meeting I had with Lovie before that draft, he said, 'You’re my guy. You’re my guy.’ He was definitely probably my biggest fan.’’
But Winston's fears were calmed a few days later by the Bucs' decision to hire offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter as head coach, keeping most of the offensive assistants in place for their quarterback. Under Koetter, Winston set a club rookie record by passing for 4,042 yards with 22 touchdowns and 15 INTs.
"I’m excited that coach Koetter is here,'' Winston said. "I was kind of down in the dumps because I was like what quarterback has been successful after they’ve lost their offensive coordinator, quarterback coach and head coach in the same year? I was just like, 'we’re going through the whole process again.'''
Instead, with the appointment of Koetter has head coach, Winston will have a chance to build on the progress he made as a quarterback in his first NFL season.
"(Quarterback) Mike Glennon made me realize it even more when he said, 'Bro, this is the first time in my NFL career that I have the same offensive playbook,''' Glennon said. "And I said that’s important, from a chemistry standpoint, from a learning standpoint, so we can build off last year.''
Winston said he's excited to see the impact the more outspoken Koetter will have on the entire football team.
“I think he just brings that confidence,'' Winston said. "Coach Koetter is real outspoken. He’s going to be real with you. His whole thing is owning it. Put your stamp on whatever you say and I really believe in that. Lovie’s big thing was accountability. It basically is the same message but coach Koetter is more vocal.''