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Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich backs Winston

The former signal caller knows all too well about trials of playing QB in the league
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) warms up Sunday while offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich looks on. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Sep. 11

TAMPA — Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich knows some of the criticism Jameis Winston is receiving for his three interception performance in Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the 49ers may not be fair.

But he says it also goes with the territory.

“I mean, who are we kidding, right? We’re talking about the National Football League and the quarterback,’’ Leftwich said. “There’s no such thing as fair. There’s no such thing in this league when you’re talking about the quarterback position.

“There’s 10 other guys and it’s little things that go on during the game the quarterback is going to get the blame no matter what happens.’’

Leftwich made his debut calling plays for Bruce Arians Sunday and the Bucs scored only 10 points on offense. They committed four turnovers and converted one of four tries in the red zone into touchdowns.

Leftwich had called plays the second half of the 2018 season in Arizona after the Cardinals fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. But Sunday was different because Leftwich has been entrusted with the job by Bruce Arians.

A year ago, Todd Monken called plays for the first time for Bucs coach Dirk Koetter in Week 1 vs. the Saints and the team responded by tying a club-record with 48 points.

“We’ve got to find a way to score more than 10 points,’’ Leftwich said. “That’s part of it. But we’ll be fine. We’ll be fine.’’

Leftwich’s message to Winston about Thursday night’s game at Carolina?

“Just go play,’’ he said. “The quarterback that mostly plays well wins, right? The team that doesn’t win, that quarterback feels just like Jameis has felt the last two days…You’ve got to find ways to win games in any stadium.’’

Bucs Preview 2019

A look ahead at Bruce Arians’ first year in Tampa Bay and a critical season for Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.


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