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)

Jameis Winston's unique style has galvanized Bucs

Second-year quarterback Jameis Winston, center, flanked by receiver Mike Evans and coach Dirk Koetter, seems to have developed a knack for inspiring his teammates.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Second-year quarterback Jameis Winston, center, flanked by receiver Mike Evans and coach Dirk Koetter, seems to have developed a knack for inspiring his teammates.

"There are those with immense talent and others with great passion. And then there are those who galvanize an entire organization. @jaboowins" — Tweet from Bucs director of player development Duke Preston.

TAMPA — Sure, sometimes it looks as if he has anvils for feet. He has thrown only six touchdowns and three interceptions in the past four weeks. And you wondered at times if anything could wipe off that cantaloupe grin. But when the season was about to fall like a bad souffle, Jameis Winston knew exactly what to do and what to say to pump belief back into the Buccaneers.

After Sunday night's 28-21 victory at San Diego, their fourth in a row to pull into a virtual tie with the Atlanta Falcons atop the NFC South at 7-5, coach Dirk Koetter stood in the middle of the visitor's locker room at Qualcomm Stadium, pressed his right index finger to his lips and reminded his team to be humble.

"Speak softly, but carry a big mother (expletive) stick," Koetter said.

The locker room exploded in laughter until Winston applied his unique brand of super glue and reminded his teammates to stick together.

"I love y'all," Winston said. "It all starts with family, baby. Let's make sure we keep that so we can go where we need to go! Family on three!"

Winston, remember, is only 22 years old. On the morning of the Chargers game, he should've been listening to the College Football Playoff selection show as the senior quarterback for Florida State, seeing where the Seminoles would be ranked.

"Leadership can take on many forms, but you also have to be able to back it up with your play," Koetter said. "Jameis has done that. He's got a unique style I would say to pro football. It's part of his youth. We've got to keep reminding ourselves he'd be a senior in college right now."

Preston, who tweeted his thoughts before the team charter landed in Tampa, is right. Winston is an immense talent. He plays with great passion. But it's the Bucs' second-year quarterback who has galvanized his football team.

At 1-3 and 3-5, the Bucs turnaround didn't look possible. They were the SOBs (Same Ol' Bucs).

But a month ago, Winston stood defiant at his weekly news conference and said, "I'm not a loser. We're winners in this building."

Then he backed it up. It's one thing to cheerlead harder than the team mascot, it's another to go out against Chicago, at Kansas City and Seattle and back it up. "Love is the reason for the fight," Winston said.

On Monday, Koetter agreed that Preston is on to something.

"I think there's definitely something to that. And there's different styles," Koetter said. "I'm sure Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger and we're seeing one of the best in Drew Brees this week, they all have their own styles."

Winston style, is, well, not what you see in pro football. The typewritten letter to teammates. Presenting a game ball to fans. Becoming more Family First than Tony Dungy.

But it wouldn't mean squat if he didn't back it up. Take Sunday's game for example. Two receivers went down. Doug Martin had nowhere to run. But against the blitz, Winston was 9-of-11 for 136 yards and a TD. He makes players around him better.

"It's refreshing. I've said many times if you didn't know better, it could come across almost as corny sometimes," Koetter said. "But when Jameis does it, it's not. If I said some of the stuff he did or some other quarterbacks I've been around … but that's Jameis. That's really who he is. That's who he is every day. After the players are around it, they're attracted to that. Because sometimes Jameis says things they wish they could say or wish they had it in them to say. And he backs it up."

Up next

vs. Saints, 4:25 Sunday, Tampa. TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM

Line/OU: Bucs by 2½; 51½

Jameis Winston's unique style has galvanized Bucs 12/05/16 [Last modified: Monday, December 5, 2016 9:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What’s wrong with Blake Snell’s fastball?

    Blogs

    Blake Snell's MLB tenure to this point has been inconsistent, to say the least. As a rookie in 2016, he posted a 3.54 ERA, but his Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell will start tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates. His performance will depend on his four-seam fastball.

  2. Jameis Winston could set Bucs' career TD record in 2017

    Blogs

    How often can a player reset an NFL franchise's career passing record before his 24th birthday? Jameis Winston has a shot to do that with the Bucs this fall.

    Bucs QB Jameis Winston, shown last season, could set Tampa Bay's career record for touchdown passes in just his third NFL season.
  3. Dan Girardi the latest defenseman on Lightning radar

    Blogs

    Veteran Dan Girardi is the latest pending free agent defenseman to draw interest from the Lightning, the Times has confirmed.

    Dan Girardi, 33, spent the last 11 seasons with the Rangers, who bought him out this summer.
  4. College World Series puts Florida Gators in elite company

    Blogs

    With Tuesday night's College World Series win, the Florida Gators put themselves in rare company.

    Florida celebrates after defeating LSU in Game 2 of the College World Series finals, Tuesday, in Omaha, Neb.