Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cardinals coach Arians has long admired Bucs QB Winston

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws for a short completion in the first quarter of the first regular season game of the year between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws for a short completion in the first quarter of the first regular season game of the year between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.

TAMPA — Jameis Winston was a sophomore in high school when he first left an impression on Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who met the quarterback at a football camp Arians ran with his son in Birmingham, Ala.

"Yeah, I mean, 'Jaboo' was a legend in Birmingham," Arians, 63, said, referencing Winston's childhood nickname. "We had a bunch of local kids there. His high school coach was a good friend of mine and we've known him and watched him grow and are very, very proud of him.

"He would be fun to coach, there's no doubt about it. He's a winner and a great leader, and obviously a heck of a young quarterback."

Winston will be reunited with Arians on Sunday when the Bucs play at Arizona. Nothing has changed. He still is a heck of a good quarterback and on Wednesday was named the NFC offensive player of the week.

Winston passed for 281 yards and four touchdowns in the Bucs' 31-24 season-opening win at Atlanta on Sunday. Winston's touchdowns were to four different receivers — Brandon Myers, Charles Sims, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Mike Evans. He connected with eight different players in completing 23 of 33 with four touchdowns and one interception. His 122.6 passer rating was the third highest in the league.

"It's an honor, but I couldn't do it without those other (52) guys out there," Winston, 22, said of the award. "Our defense played an amazing game. No sacks. When the quarterback is not even getting touched in the back there, you've got to have fun back there in the pocket and everybody was just making plays. So it was definitely a team thing."

Offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken agrees. Winston worked hard in the offseason to change his body and is clearly more comfortable in the second year under Dirk Koetter, last year's offensive coordinator and now the head coach.

"I think it's a credit to him and the offseason he had preparing himself for the start of the season," Monken said. "I think it's a credit to the players around him. I think it takes everybody. You need protection, you need the guys catching the ball and being able to run the ball when you want to run it. So I think it's a group award obviously that Jameis earned, and he played a heck of a game."

It's a startling contrast to last season, when Winston threw four interceptions (including a pick six on his first pass) in the season opener against the Titans. In that game, Tennessee's Marcus Mariota, the player drafted No. 2 overall behind Winston, threw four touchdowns and wound up as the NFC offensive player of the month.

Recalling his encounter with Arians, Winston says he was impressed by his jewelry.

"I met him a couple times and one thing I just remember is him showing me those Super Bowl rings (two from his eight years with Pittsburgh) and I still haven't gotten one yet, so I'm shooting for that," Winston said. "He really motivated me to go after a Super Bowl ring. He showed me that Pittsburgh one, and it was gorgeous."

THIS AND THAT: New Bucs running back Jacquizz Rodgers was one of four players fielding kickoffs at the start of Wednesday's practice, along with safety Ryan Smith and receivers Adam Humphries and Cecil Shorts. Rodgers had 49 kickoff returns in Atlanta from 2012-14 when Koetter was the Falcons' offensive coordinator. … The Bucs lost defensive end Jacquies Smith to a season-ending knee injury Sunday, but no players on the 53-man roster were held out of Wednesday's practice. … Rookie tight end Danny Vitale had his first practice since joining the Bucs' practice squad. He had been waived by the Bucs and claimed by the Bills, who diagnosed a torn labrum in his shoulder and waived him. "It's great to be back here," Vitale said. "This is where I want to be. It's a great situation for me."

Cardinals coach Arians has long admired Bucs QB Winston 09/14/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 10:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    The 10 strikeouts look flashy, but RHP Chris Archer was not his sharpest Thursday. He allowed three runs on seven hits, including three straight in the two-run second and a Gary Sanchez homer in the third, and lasted only six innings, throwing 102 pitches.

  2. Rays fall to Yankees in 11 on Brett Gardner homer (w/ video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The front office did its part Thursday, making two trades to bolster the Rays' roster in a bid to make the playoffs. But the team on the field didn't follow through in a frustrating 6-5 11-inning loss to the Yankees.

    Evan Longoria hits a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Yankees as the Rays come back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 lead. They lose 6-5 in 11.
  3. Believe it! Rays are buyers, trade for reliever Dan Jennings and 1B/DH Lucas Duda

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Dan Jennings' ability to render lefty hitters useless with a sinker that gets beaten into the ground and Lucas Duda's power to blast baseballs off and over outfield walls should make the Rays better.

    Lucas Duda
  4. Bucs' direction is decidedly up for first time in several years

    Bucs

    TAMPA — If you want to see a team give the Heisman Trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Tight end O.J. Howard (20), the Bucs’ first-round draft pick this year, was brought in to give QB Jameis Winston another big-play option.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Friday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.