The Bucs added a lot of new faces in the off-season, so it’s no surprise that at 2-5, they don’t recognize the team that posted a winning record last season. In some ways, quarterback Jameis Winston said the Bucs are victims of identity theft.
"I think this team has to find its common ground and our team, we’re still learning what that is,’’ Winston said Thursday. "Last year, there was a point in the season where we found our identity. We’re still trying to develop our identity and use it to get better. Because every team has its own identity and we’ve got to find it.
"Anytime you have new pieces to the puzzle, you’re always seeing how you can work it. I’m ready for us to go ahead and find our identity. ... It’s a completely new team every year.’’
Of course, Winston is the focal point for the Bucs problems. He’s playing with a sprained AC joint in his right throwing shoulder and Tampa Bay has lost four games in a row.
Once one of the darlings of the 2015 NFL draft as the No. 1 overall pick, Winston drew instant comparisons to Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who went one spot below him. With the success of the Eagles Carson Wentz, the Rams Jared Goff, the Texans’ Deshaun Watson, the Cowboys Dak Prescott and Mariota, Winston’s inability to make the Bucs a consistent winner is starting to pale in comparison.
"You really can’t compete with nobody when you’re losing,’’ Winston said. "Stats don’t really matter. Wins matter, especially at this position. So I’m competing against everybody. I’m not just competing against the young guys. The young guys are doing real good, though. But I compete everyone. But the ultimate thing that defines the quarterback is that win column. So it doesn’t matter how good someone is looking or numbers, you’ve got to win. That’s what I’m not doing right now. You’ve got to win. That’s in my blood. I’ve got to find a way to do it.’’