The annual NFL Owners Meeting was held this week in Boca Raton, Florida and PewterReport.com was on hand all four days. On Wednesday morning the NFC coaches met with the media for breakfast and Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter spoke to a number of local and national media regarding his team and the upcoming 2016 season.
Part of the Pro Bowl learning experience for rookies who were selected to travel to Hawaii is the chance to practice and interact with the NFL’s elite. The advantage comes not only from following their lead in game preparation, but also in seeing how veterans take care of themselves physically.
At least that’s what Jameis Winston took from it all.
The Bucs’ young quarterback came into the league with a high football I.Q. and reputation for being a quick and dedicated study, though there were questions regarding his work ethic in the gym and willingness to get into top shape. And while he proved last season that he’s more mobile and athletic than his Combine numbers would indicate, Winston still had room to improve from a conditioning standpoint.
The Pro Bowl experience, as told by his head coach, only motivated him more to train like the best players.
“When Jameis got back from the Pro Bowl that was the first thing he told me – just how impressed he was with Russell Wilson and Julio Jones, how they looked physically,” Dirk Koetter said Wednesday. “He said to me, ‘I need to change my body.’ I didn’t say anything to him about that.”
Koetter said the Bucs conditioning staff – strength coaches and nutritionists – work throughout the year with players, recommending a specific body weight and striving to meet that goal through diet and exercise. For Winston personally, though, the second-year quarterback is going the extra mile this offseason to come into training camp at his intended weight.
Along with organizing off-campus workouts with teammates, Koetter listed parachute-wind sprints at the crack of dawn as something Winston and his trainers have incorporated into his plan.
“He set very specific goals for himself. He spent a week with a personal trainer, a guy that he and his agents’ handpicked,” Koetter said. “He brought him to Tampa and spent a week with a guy who he researched, and he researched a lot of guys. And then he’s continued those workouts in the weight room and conditioning stuff at our place, (One Buc).”
Although Koetter can’t personally work with him right now, given the league’s strict policies on offseason coaching, he knows Winston’s putting the time in and working to improve in every area of his game before they’re permitted to practice as a team. And although he’ll have a different player-coach relationship with Winston once OTAs begin, he’s confident that QBs coach Mike Bajakian has everything under control as he’ll continue to work one-on-one with the 22-year old quarterback.
“Jameis knows what he needs to work on,” Koetter said. “That kid is constantly asking what he can do to get better. With the way the rules are now, unfortunately we can’t be out there or do much with him. But I see Jameis … work ethic is never a problem with that guy.
“Jameis wants to be coached hard. He tells me that, he tells Mike that. He was coached hard in college; he was coached hard by his dad when he was young. Jameis wants to be coached hard. I think that’s Mike’s job. I think Mike does a great job of knowing how to handle Jameis. I see my role as just being able to communicate with Jameis now.
“Do I get pissed at him sometimes? Yes. But I also think that my job is to, no matter what, make sure we have open communication. And he’s going to get mad at me sometimes, too. I always show him the clips of him yelling at Jimbo and you can read Jimbo’s lips going, ‘Let me call the game.’ I talk to Jameis about that all the time. Jameis wants to be coached hard and I think Mike does a really great job of that.”