Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston: How the Bucs quarterback is imitating Brett Favre

TAMPA — Twenty-five games into his NFL career, Jameis Winston has a signature play that has no name. If you drew it up, merely traced the steps from snap to his 22-yard retreat into his end zone, seeping like water through defenders, before launching a 39-yard strike to Mike Evans, it would resemble nothing in a playbook.

"We said it at the beginning of the year, our No. 1 pass play is what?" said Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken. "Scramble."

Despite his lumbering gait, Winston's ability to escaped defenders has become the quarterback's most underrated quality. Some attribute that to his improved conditioning and trimmer physique. Winston knows that plays like the one he made in the third quarter of the Bucs' 36-10 win over Chicago on Sunday are born of competitiveness.

"When things break down, you've just got to try to find something positive out of it, because if something bad happens, you're going to get yelled at when you get to the sideline. If something good happens, you get a pat on the back," said Winston, who on the next play after his scramble Sunday fired 43 yards to Freddie Martino for a touchdown.

"So, you've just got to keep plays alive, and extending plays is a big thing in this league."

The thought was that Winston, 6 feet 4 and 231 pounds, would extend plays more in the manner of the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, who is listed as 1 inch taller and 10 pounds heavier, and who often overpowers pass rushers.

It turns out the young gunslinger has a lot in common with the Ol' Gunslinger, former Packers quarterback Brett Favre.

Winston has thrown 10 of his 19 touchdown passes this season outside the pocket, ESPN Stats and Info says. The last player with more in a season was Favre, who had 11 in 2009.

All but one of Winston's scrambling touchdown passes have come when he has been pressured.

Asked what he thought of his game-altering scramble against the Bears when he viewed it on tape, Winston laughed.

"I was just thinking about all the funny things the coaches and the players were saying on the sideline,'' Winston said. "And even the fans."

Monken had one thought: "Safety, but that's him."

"He's a got a rare quality where he will run with it, but he's always got his eyes down the field," Monken said. "A lot of times, you find guys that don't want to run it and you find guys that don't want to throw it. … He can do both."

Winston's forays from the pocket sometimes confuse his offensive linemen, who have learned to keep blocking long after a play should have been over.

"I couldn't really see it,'' guard Ali Marpet said of the so-called "Hail Jameis" play Sunday. "All I knew was the whistle didn't blow because I was blocking the entire time. But after that, I was definitely out of breath.

"I peeked back at some point, and I saw he was 20 yards behind (the line of scrimmage), and I had no idea how that happened. But it's fun to see what happened when you get to actually see it on tape.''

Winston's ability to extend plays was an underrated aspect of his scouting report while he was at Florida State. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said he believes Winston has gotten better at resetting his feet and throwing accurately on the move.

"He's better than I thought he was just coming in," Koetter said.

Marpet said the Bucs have learned to expect good things when Winston starts scrambling.

"Sometimes it's difficult, but he'll make guys miss and he'll make things happen,'' Marpet said. "I wouldn't want us to play with any other quarterback than him.''

Comments
Mock draft consensus: Who the experts have Bucs taking at No. 7

Mock draft consensus: Who the experts have Bucs taking at No. 7

We've linked to a lot of mock drafts over the last four months.We went back and assembled mocks from 40 different NFL writers we've linked to — this isn't the most recent for some of these who are in Mock 9.0 mode, but it's meant as an unscient...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Who will the Bucs take with the No. 7 pick?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Who will the Bucs take with the No. 7 pick?

Rick Stroud answers your NFL draft questions in this mailbag segment, including who the Bucs might take with the seventh overall pick, which running backs they might be looking at, whether Taven Bryan could slip to them in the second r...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

For months, NFL fans have wondered what the Bucs might do with the No. 7 pick in Thursday's draft, producing a wide range of answers, each with passionate support from some of their fans.But as draft nears, and as the interest level in a talented gro...
Published: 04/24/18
Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Vita VeaPosition: Defensive tackleSchool: WashingtonHeight/weight: 6-4, 347Draft projection: Round 1Why Vita Vea makes sense for the Bucs: Vea's combination of size and quick feet is rare. He ran a 5.1 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 40 tim...
Published: 04/24/18
Important questions and answers about Bucs’ draft parrot

Important questions and answers about Bucs’ draft parrot

The final days leading up to the NFL draft can be a busy time, but rarely do you call someone you trust from a team and say: "What can you tell me about the parrot?"Yes, the Bucs will have a parrot — specifically a Catalina macaw named Zsa Zsa ...
Published: 04/24/18
Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Garcia doesn’t care about NFL draft: ‘I have a life’

Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Garcia doesn’t care about NFL draft: ‘I have a life’

So much of the attention Monday surrounding the Bucs' announcing who'd be announcing their late-round draft picks was, of course, that a parrot would be delivering the name of the fourth-round pick to the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium.But late...
Published: 04/24/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Breaking down the NFL draft with Sam Farmer

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Breaking down the NFL draft with Sam Farmer

On today's Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast, Rick Stroud breaks down the NFL draft with the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer.Farmer coordinates a mock draft with beat writers around the league, and it's usually one of the most accurate prognostications...
Published: 04/24/18
NFL Draft: Date, time, TV schedule and draft order for the April 26-28 draft

NFL Draft: Date, time, TV schedule and draft order for the April 26-28 draft

The NFL Draft starts Thursday from Arlington, Texas, with coverage of the first round beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Here's a look at the broadcast schedule for all three days and the draft order for every round:Schedule(all times Eastern)Thursday, April 26...
Published: 04/24/18
Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Late-round NFL draft picks are often made on a wing and a prayer.The Bucs' fourth-round pick Saturday will be no different. The team announced Monday that as part of the NFL draft TV broadcast, the team's fourth-round pick will be delivered to an ann...
Published: 04/23/18
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Published: 04/22/18