Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs assistant changes mind about Jameis Winston

TAMPA — QB Jameis Winston was not a favorite a year ago of now-Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, who admits he preferred Marcus Mariota before the 2015 draft. Apparently, new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, the former Southern Miss head coach, also wasn't a big fan of the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Until now.

"It's who he is, how he's wired," Monken said. "I think that's one thing that's a misnomer. I think from the outside you would've looked at it with all the things that were publicized in the past about him and who he is. I was dead wrong. He wants to win as much as we do. He's a competitive joker, man, he's smart, he's intelligent. … you can win a lot of games with guys like that."

Monken, who also coaches Bucs receivers, said working with Winston every day has made him a believer in the Pro Bowl player.

"I think that's just general in life, especially with social media today, but even before then," Monken said. "Without knowing a person, we make judgments without ever being around them. I think that's just common; that's not just Jameis, that's people."

How much does the passing game need to improve under Winston, who threw for more than 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2015 as a rookie?

"Dramatically. It's not a hard game," Monken said. "What a great year offensively. That's a start, but penalties, turnovers, errant throws, drops — what else needs to be said? Sure, you can average 24, 28 points a game, but getting 10 in one game and 38 in another, that's not very good. You want to be consistent every week, and consistency comes from doing those little things."

Speaking of Winston, quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian believes better conditioning will help in several areas this season.

"No. 1, everything in this league is about durability and being able to play as many snaps as possible," Bajakian said. "Last year we were fortunate that he was able to take every snap. But by being in better physical shape, there's a better chance of lasting the season and avoiding injury.

"No. 2, when you're more physically fit, fatigue doesn't become as much of an issue. Being in better physical shape can allow him to maintain a better base, play with lower hips and better feet and just allow him to focus on the details of his technique."

AVERAGE O-LINE?: The young offensive line might have been the strength of the team last season, but offensive line coach George Warhop says it was only "average."

The Bucs had an NFL-most 124 quarterback hits allowed in 2014, and while that total dropped to 109 in 2015, that still represented the league's fourth-highest total, which Warhop won't tolerate.

"Too many quarterback hits, regardless. I don't care whose fault it is," Warhop said. "We all have a hand in that. It's one of our points of emphasis this year. First meeting, 'Hey, listen, guys. Everybody's telling me what a great job you did. I thought we were just average, really.' "

FAITH IN GLENNON: Backup Mike Glennon will be stuck behind Winston for another season, but a lot of people believe he could start for several teams.

"I think the world of Mike, and I've said that since Day 1," Bajakian said. "He is an unbelievable professional. He's unbelievably talented — Mike can definitely start (for) a lot of teams in this league. Not just start but start and have very good success. I truly believe that. I'm excited to have him, because if anything happens to Jameis, I feel we have a guy who can come in and execute at a very, very high level."

Glennon, who did not take a snap in 2015, has passed for 4,025 yards with 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The team would get a compensatory draft pick in 2018 if he signs as a free agent with another club next spring.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

Comments
Warren Sapp accused of harassment; NFL Network suspends three analysts over sexual assault allegations

Warren Sapp accused of harassment; NFL Network suspends three analysts over sexual assault allegations

Warren Sapp, a former Buc and Pro Football Hall of Famer, has been accused of sexual harassment while a working as an analyst with NFL Network, according to a lawsuit.NFL Network has suspended analysts Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor "pend...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Piling on Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter

Rick and Tom podcast: Piling on Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter

Is there a rift between Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter as the 4-9 Bucs are eliminated from the playoffs for a 10th straight season?In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss what impact this has going forward for the Bucs and whether...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has key statistics that he puts great value in, finding a close correlation between success in those areas and success on the scoreboard. Winning the takeaway battle is always first among those priorities, but he and his staff...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs journal: Brent Grimes matches Richard Sherman for INTs since 2013

Bucs journal: Brent Grimes matches Richard Sherman for INTs since 2013

TAMPA — CB Brent Grimes picked up his third interception of the season in Sunday’s loss to the Lions, tying him for the Bucs’ team lead and with another, more impressive group.Since the start of the 2013 season, Grimes has 20 interceptions, tying him...
Published: 12/11/17
Could report of rift relate to Jameis Winston’s damaged brand?

Could report of rift relate to Jameis Winston’s damaged brand?

TAMPA — What we have at One Buc Place is a game of Clue. The whodunit in this case is the person(s) who put out the information that quarterback Jameis Winston’s relationship with coach Dirk Koetter is on cracked ice.Was it Winston in the weight room...
Published: 12/11/17
Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Another close game that got away

Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Another close game that got away

Greg Auman looks back on the Bucs’ 24-21 loss to the Lions.
Published: 12/11/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Do Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter get along?

Rick and Tom podcast: Do Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter get along?

The Bucs guarantee another losing season after turning the ball over five times in a 24-21 loss to the Lions.
Published: 12/11/17
The Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship: It’s complicated

The Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship: It’s complicated

  TAMPA — There are lies, damn lies and statistics, none of which are working in favor of Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter avoiding a split in the near future. Even before the Bucs turned the football over five times and lost to the Detroit Li...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Report: Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship ‘is not in a good place’

Report: Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship ‘is not in a good place’

Jameis Winston is displeased with how coach Dirk Koetter has handled Winston's shoulder injury and the Bucs offense, according to an NFL Network report Sunday. “The relationship between quarterback Jameis Winston and Koetter is not in a good p...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

  TAMPA — Dirk Koetter isn’t going to return as coach of the Bucs next season. That’s not official. No announcement has been made. No press conference is scheduled. It’s not an absolute fact. Not yet. And this isn’t a...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17