Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Randall Cunningham on Jameis Winston: 'That kid is relentless'

TAMPA — With the Bucs preparing for Sunday's game at Philadelphia, rookie quarterback Jameis Winston on Wednesday shared that he grew up a huge fan of former Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham.

"I just fell in love with him," said Winston, born in 1994, nine years into Cunningham's 16-year career. "I liked Randall Cunningham (because) what he brought to the game (was) excitement."

Winston said when he was a high school recruit, his rivals.com biography page compared him to Cunningham ("I was skinny back in those days") and "that made me even more of a fan."

As it turns out, Cunningham is a big fan of Winston's as well. Now 52, he's finishing his first season as coach at Silverado High School in Las Vegas. He took over a 3-7 team and is 7-3, coming off a win in the playoffs. He didn't know Winston was a fan of his growing up.

"I tell you what. I've watched him a lot and been a fan of his. That kid is relentless," Cunningham said by phone Thursday. "When people count him out, he steps up to the plate. I think he has the same thing I had: You tell him what he can't do, and he'll prove you wrong."

Winston, 21, knows enough about Cunningham to joke that he liked him for his punting skills. Cunningham doubled as an All-America punter at UNLV and once had a 91-yard punt in an NFL game. Cunningham said he is especially impressed by how quickly Winston has adjusted to the NFL. In 1985, Cunningham had just one touchdown and eight interceptions as a rookie with Philadelphia.

"I was terrible," said Cunningham, a scrambler who held the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback until Michael Vick passed him in 2011. "But my career turned around. When you see kids doing even average in their first year, kids like (Marcus) Mariota and Jameis, those kids are going to be great quarterbacks, the Marinos, the Elways, the Moons, those guys who end up taking football to a whole new level."

Cunningham said winning as a young quarterback isn't easy — he went 2-6-1 as a starter in his first two seasons — but said he has seen Winston do it, including Sunday, when Winston scored the go-ahead touchdown late in a 10-6 win over the Cowboys.

"His leadership qualities don't just come through a lot of talking. It comes through how he plays, those big plays that he makes, those moments when it's needed," Cunningham said. "In college, (Florida State would) be down, and he'd always figure out a way to win the game. That's what it takes to be a great quarterback in the NFL."

Cunningham is enjoying his retirement from playing. He also coaches track, where his daughter Vashti set a national high school record with a high jump of 6 feet, 4½ inches last spring. Vashti is a high school senior with scholarship offers in volleyball as well as track, and she is considering Oregon, Southern California, Georgia and UNLV.

Cunningham said it will be hard to pull for Winston on Sunday in Philadelphia: "He's going into hostile territory now. This will be a great opportunity to go play against a tough football team."

   
Comments

Bucsí Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Mondayís game vs. Falcons

TAMPA ó As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isnít challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Published: 12/16/17
McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

As if containing Julio Jones and the Falcons offense weren't challenging enough, the Bucs will try to so Monday night without perhaps their top two defensive players in DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David.Bucs coach Dirk Koetter on Saturday ruled bo...
Published: 12/16/17
Bucsí Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucsí Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs safety T.J. Ward will make a healthy return Monday after missing two games with a concussion, and it's also a chance to face his brother Terron, a running back with the Falcons."Our whole family's going to be there, rooting us on," T.J. said aft...
Published: 12/16/17
Jones: Tony Dungy didnít leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didnít leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You donít even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what youíre talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Published: 12/16/17
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Published: 12/16/17
Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Even with ó perhaps especially with óJon Gruden set to be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor Monday night, Tampa Bayís Great Sports Debate hasnít abated. Who deserves more credit for the biggest moment in Tampa Bay sports history ó the Bucsí Super ...
Published: 12/16/17
Nobody has Jameis Winstonís back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody has Jameis Winstonís back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody is a bigger supporter of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston than head coach Dirk Koetter.That was the passionate message that offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken unloaded at his news conference Friday, saying that reports that Winst...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Bucs journal: Adarius Glantonís experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

Bucs journal: Adarius Glantonís experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

TAMPA ó The Bucsí linebacker depth was tested during the first five weeks of the season, when Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander missed a combined six games with injuries.And now, as David is again sidelined by a hamstring injury, the experience gained...
Published: 12/15/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Letís revisit Monday night games in Bucsí past

Cannon Fodder podcast: Letís revisit Monday night games in Bucsí past

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman has injury updates on Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy and a nostalgic trip through the Bucsí history on Monday night, including the current three-game win streak and yes, that infamous 2003 Colts game where the Bucs were u...
Published: 12/15/17
Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

TAMPA ó The worst week of Dirk Koetterís life rolls on.Itís Gruden Week, just like Shark Week, only with smaller teeth and a bigger playbook. Itís the big build-up to Grudenís induction into the Buc Ring of Honor this Monday night, with the accompany...
Published: 12/15/17