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Fix Jameis Winston? Put a better team around him, Bruce Arians says

The Bucs coach says a better defense and running game should help their franchise quarterback
Published Jul. 24, 2019

TAMPA ― Jameis Winston has yet to fulfill his expectations as the No. 1 overall pick after four seasons, but coach Bruce Arians has a plan to get the best from the Bucs’ quarterback.

“Put a better team around him,'' Arians said during an appearance on The Jim Rome Show Wednesday. "Run the ball better. Play better defense. Don’t play from behind where he’s got to throw it 50 times and put the onus on him to win the game and make kicks. That’s been a bugaboo around here for a while. So yeah, just put a better football team around him so that he can just play quarterback. He doesn’t have to be Superman.''

In a brief interview one day before veterans report to training camp, Arians spoke about his confidence in Winston, how his “No risk it, no biscuit," attitude is adopted by Todd Bowles and the defense and his belief that receiver Chris Godwin will thrive in his offense.

On comparing the situation he inherited in Tampa Bay vs. the team he took over in Arizona:

“Here, we’ve got a young guy that I really like,'' Arians said. “I liked him in high school, I liked him in college and his work ethic is outstanding. That’s probably the biggest difference, having a quarterback in place. We were able to get Blaine Gabbert, who was with us in Arizona, who I liked. He did a great job for us in Arizona. That’s probably the most exciting thing.”

On what makes him believe the Bucs can win now:

“I love their work ethic,'' Arians said. "When you study those two 5-11 seasons, how many of those were close losses. That if we just play smaller, make a field goal, don’t get a penalty, whatever. You win the game. So just making it a smarter team. It’s a heck of a tough division with great quarterbacks in it. That makes it fun.’’

On how he plans to change the Bucs culture:

“I think just being around them and as they get to know you every day when you’re speaking to them about how our approach is going to be and what it’s going to be. How we’re going to play the game and how we’re going to call the game,'' Arians said, "I think they love it and they jump in. They want somebody who believes in them and got their back. That’s the easy part.''

On how important it is for the defense to buy into his aggressive philosophy:

“To me, that’s major, major,'' Arians said. "And Todd Bowles does a great job of putting his personality in that defense. We love to pressure, we love to attack people so that no risk it, no biscuit stuff, that goes back to defense, too. That’s how we live.''

On how receiver Chris Godwin will fit into his offense:

“Oh, man, he should fit perfectly in what we’re doing because he’s a physical guy, a big guy,'' Arians said. "We can use him in the slot, we can use him out wide. He’ll never come off the field and he’s going to get single coverage because they’re never going to let Mike Evans be over there one-on-one, for sure.''

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