TAMPA — The Bucs likely will have the youngest starting quarterback in the NFL this season in rookie Jameis Winston, and they also might have the newest technology in place to help him adapt.
The team has talked to a Stanford-based company with a virtual reality technology that lets a quarterback go back through a practice play from a 360-degree angle. The Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL team to implement the system, from StriVR Labs, this summer.
"I actually talked to Tampa (Friday) morning, and we can start it for them on Day 1 of training camp," said Derek Belch, a former Stanford kicker and assistant coach who founded StriVR Labs, which has Auburn, Arkansas and Stanford among its college clients. "We're probably going to get back down there in a couple of weeks, really sit down with them and go through everything and hammer it out."
The technology could cost $250,000 or more, Belch said, but that can fit comfortably in an NFL team's budget.
"In the wake of the Cowboys news, the lid has been blown off this thing," Belch said. "In the last week and a half alone, I've heard from 10 teams we weren't already talking to. It's like almost the entire league has called, and we're looking at probably doing this with six or seven teams by training camp."
The product allows a quarterback to read a defense from a couch or in an open indoor space where he can simulate dropping back or rolling out.
"The younger guys, this is how they learn," Belch said. "They're used to video games, to techy cool digital things, so we're speaking their language. Ours is not a video game, but they like it. We can do this for every position on the field."