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Tampa Bay Buccaneers want new tight end Kellen Winslow to stay off the emotional roller coaster

Coach Raheem Morris says tight end Kellen Winslow, here dropping a pass Thursday in camp as linebacker Niko Koutouvides latches on, needs to keep his emotions on an even keel.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Coach Raheem Morris says tight end Kellen Winslow, here dropping a pass Thursday in camp as linebacker Niko Koutouvides latches on, needs to keep his emotions on an even keel.

TAMPA — Kellen Winslow is an emotional player. But sometimes those emotions get the best of him.

"Oh, he's definitely talented," coach Raheem Morris said of the Bucs' new tight end. "But I'm also starting to get an idea of the problems he's had.

"Sometimes, his emotional energy is going to give us a lift. And other times, it's going to hurt us. He's got to know when it's not the right time."

Case in point: Winslow celebrated one catch during practice Thursday but seemed to pout when he dropped a ball.

"We've talked about this, so there's not talking behind my team's back," Morris said of the sixth-year player out of Miami. "Kellen Winslow catches a pass, he's hyped up and gets the crowd going. He can throw it down behind his back, spin it and get people around him riled up. But then he drops one, puts his head down and walks back to the huddle. That's part of riding the emotional roller coaster that we don't want to do.

"You've got to be the same and you can't waiver … no matter what's going on in your surroundings. You need somebody to pick him up. Nobody on our team should've let him drop his head. He shouldn't think about dropping his head. That's a part of being a team, that's a part of going to the next play. You don't want one play to become a bad practice."

Morris said Winslow is a perfectionist and fights himself when he makes a bad play.

"He's so hard on himself because he's self-driven," Morris said. "He's, so to speak, high maintenance for himself. He expects and demands a lot from himself. … So when he's doing well, he's doing really well. When he's doing bad, he's too hard on himself, I think.

"He's not trying to be negative, he's not trying to be the bad guy. But he's coming across that way. A lot of times he's going to be the best player on any given day. He can't show any mental weakness."

Morris has enjoyed a good relationship with Winslow, 26, who figures to be a big part of the offense. Tampa Bay traded a second-round and a fifth-round draft pick to Cleveland for Winslow, then made him the league's highest-paid tight end.

"I think this might be the first time that anybody has ever addressed it and talked to him about it in front of the room," Morris said. "He understands. He looks me in the eye. I look him in the eye. That's it. 'My bad.' If he does something good, I tell him, 'My bad.' ''

INJURY UPDATE: WR Antonio Bryant (knee), DL Kyle Moore (shoulder), RB Derrick Ward (foot sprain) and WR Kelly Campbell (quads) are considered day to day. Slightly more serious are the injuries of WR Michael Clayton (hamstring) and C Jeff Faine (groin). Morris said both are likely to be sidelined until early next week. Morris didn't update the status of LB Angelo Crowell (hamstring), but he, too, is expected to be out until next week.

YOUNG GUNS TAKE OVER: Morris said rookie Josh Freeman and second-year pro Josh Johnson will take the majority of reps at quarterback today while Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich essentially get the day off.

"The younger guys, they need some opportunities," Morris said. "… The quarterbacks coach (Greg Olson) designed it so if the two older guys came out and executed well and did the right things, they would give them a little Santa Claus treatment (today) and give them a little rest for their arms.''

Freeman, the team's first-round pick from Kansas State, struggled early in the week protecting the football. He has had some reps in team drills while Johnson has been limited to mostly individual periods.

Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers want new tight end Kellen Winslow to stay off the emotional roller coaster 08/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 7, 2009 6:38am]
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