TAMPA — Jameis Winston is a big-armed quarterback who wants every pass to be a touchdown. But he is learning in the NFL, sometimes a check down to a receiver or running back is the right play.
Winston threw two more interceptions in short yardage situations during Tuesday's practice, but generally bounced back from a poor performance during a blitz period a day earlier. What's the biggest adjustment so far for Winston to the pro game?
"The biggest adjustment is checking the ball down," Winston said. "Sometimes you have to nickel and dime your way down the field and make quick decisions. You've got to get better every single day. No one is perfect and that's the thing about football. You've got to find your corrections and make adjustments."
Coach Lovie Smith was pleased at how Winston rebounded despite INTs by Lavonte David and Alterraun Verner.
"Of course, you always want to push the ball downfield, but if it's not open, there's a second read and possibly a third read and the check down is normally a part of that," Smith said. "As we continue to go, that's what we want our quarterbacks to do. If it's not there and you don't feel you can get it in there, live to play another down, check it down. There's nothing wrong with getting positive yards. As a general rule, positive yards is a good thing. In time, all those things will come.''
CONTACT INDEED: Smith said as a general rule, defensive players don't take running backs to the ground even in full-pads practice, but rookie LB Kwon Alexander got a big hit in on RB Mike James. Alexander said he's trying to establish himself, especially with the veterans on the team.
"I'm trying to get some respect out here," said Alexander, who turned 21 on Monday. "I want to show them I can really play."
Monday, LB Danny Lansanah had a hit on RB Bobby Rainey, making it clear he'd never want to injure a teammate.
"Football is played with shoulder pads and helmets," he said. "I wasn't trying to hit him hard at all. I was trying to do what I'm coached to do and that's run through the tackle."
THIS AND THAT: Rookie Donovan Smith worked as the first-team left tackle after Kevin Pamphile worked there the two previous days. … Rookie LB Quinton Alston, who had his right leg/hamstring iced Monday, was held out of Tuesday's practice. WR Louis Murphy (ankle), S Chris Conte (hamstring) and DT Akeem Spence (back) remain out as well. … S Kimario McFadden, who signed last week, had a diving interception of a pass thrown by third-string QB Seth Lobato.
Contact Greg Auman at email@example.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman and @NFLstroud.