Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs assistant changes mind about Jameis Winston

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston shouts to his offensive line in the first half during the Bucs’ game against the Saints in the Superdome on Sept. 20, 2015.


Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston shouts to his offensive line in the first half during the Bucs’ game against the Saints in the Superdome on Sept. 20, 2015.

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.

Bucs assistant changes mind about Jameis Winston 05/21/16 [Last modified: Saturday, May 21, 2016 7:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The Lightning's 2017-18 road jersey
  2. For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves


    We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

    Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.
  3. Jameis Winston stats: How the Bucs QB performed under pressure


    Every quarterback's performance declines when he faces pressure from the defense.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston faced pressure on more than 30 percent of his pass plays last season. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Could Lightning deal for a defenseman today?


    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has been trying to further bolster his blueline, and he may have a chance to acquire one by tonight's first round of the NHL Draft.

    The Lightning is reportedly in on Travis Hamonic (Islanders), though New York is rumored to be asking for two-first round picks.
  5. SI ranks Quinton Flowers on top 100, above Deondre Francois


    Sports Illustrated's ongoing countdown of the top 100 players in college football includes some high praise for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.