TAMPA — Jameis Winston is building his body, and by extension, his career. His future success on the gridiron begins with pumping iron.
That has not always been the mind-set of the Bucs quarterback. His epiphany came in January after arriving at the Pro Bowl for practice and noticing how different the bodies of Falcons WR Julio Jones and QB Russell Wilson looked from his own.
"When Jameis got back from the Pro Bowl, that was the first thing he told me, just how impressed he was with Russell Wilson and Julio Jones, how they looked physically," new Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. "He said to me, 'I need to change my body.' I didn't say anything to him about that."
So Winston and his agents mulled over a list of trainers and chose Tim Grover of Attack Athletics, who used to put Michael Jordan through torturous workouts. That program has continued with trainers at One Buc Place along with a better nutritional program. Winston said he still weighs 235 pounds, but the 22-year-old's physique appears much leaner at his core.
"I looked out my window last week (at One Buc Place), 7:30 in the morning, barely getting light, and there's Jameis out there pulling a parachute running sprints," Koetter said.
UNLUCKY OR ENIGMA? TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is an enormous talent, but injuries have hindered him from becoming a consistent performer. He has played in only 16 games since being drafted in the second round out of Washington in 2014.
"His talent flashes every time he's on the field," Koetter said. "This guy has got huge ability. … A coach told me a long time ago the best ability was availability. Austin has had a string of legit injuries, and no one works harder at rehab than him. He's passionate about football. He wants to be great. But until we can get a look at him consistently, all we've seen is those flashes. It's hard to think of anything good in that Tennessee game last year (a season-opening 42-14 loss) but … Austin had (110) yards receiving."
It took more than two months for Seferian-Jenkins to return from a shoulder injury last season, and when he did, he wasn't the same player. "When you watch film, you can tell when something is not right because your body will naturally try to protect it," Kotter said. "He should hit or be hit on that shoulder. He tried to come back and was not playing at full capacity. It was frustrating for everyone, but trust me, nobody was more frustrated than him."
Nobody benefitted more from ASJ's absence than former Harvard TE Cameron Brate, who had 23 catches for 288 yards and three TDs after being cut to start the season. "You never know how or why certain guys are going to connect at a certain rate, but Jameis and Cam connected," Koetter said. "They had a good feel for each other in the red zone and a good feel on seam routes, and Cam made the most of his opportunity. He's an ascending player."
QUOTABLE: Koetter on why the club never has had a discussion with CB Brent Grimes about the social media habits of his wife, Miko, who has been known to throw a little shade at the Dolphins and QB Ryan Tannehill: "Wives don't coach, and wives don't play. I'm not that concerned about it. I think we're strong enough as a team and an organization to handle distractions, and I don't know that there will be a distraction."
BUCS BITS: Koetter said he will emphasize to the team that more games are lost by mistakes than won in the NFL. … The Bucs want to find a way to protect DE Jacquies Smith from being physically worn down against the run. Smith, 26, has 13½ sacks in 27 career games. He is recovering from minor shoulder surgery and won't be ready by OTAs. … Smart for the team to sign former Jaguars P Bryan Anger, who has a career net average of 41.5 yards.