Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston has plenty of supporters in the locker room, but none may be bigger than right tackle Demar Dotson – and not because Dotson is among the biggest Buccaneers at 6-foot-9, 320 pounds.
Dotson is a big believer in Winston, who is coming off a season in which he set a franchise record with 5,109 passing yards and 33 touchdowns and become just the eighth quarterback in NFL history to hit the 5,000-yard mark.
But Winston has his detractors after leading the league with 30 interceptions last year and surpassing the 100-turnover mark in his five-year career. Winston also became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season.
The Bucs’ brass is currently evaluating Winston’s tape to determine if the franchise wants to re-sign him for the long term, use the franchise tag on him or go in a different direction.
Dotson joined the PewterReport.com staff on the final Pewter Nation Podcast of 2019 to defend Winston.
“Who are you going to get that’s better? Who out there is better?” Dotson said.
Dotson also said that he believes the organization already knows it wants to keep Winston, but just isn’t telling the media.
“You hear all kinds of stuff in the media, but from my standpoint I think it’s 100 percent that Jameis is going to be here,” Dotson said. “I think the organization knows that Jameis is going to be the guy next year. I don’t think they just want to come out and say it, but I think they made up their mind about it. I think the media has to harp on the bad stuff – the 30 interceptions and all kinds of stuff like that. That’s a guy that has a lot of weight on his shoulders. He prepares every day. He works hard at practice every day. He’s the first one in the building and the last one out every day. He’s a true competitor and he’s going to work on his game to try to fix that area in his game that’s lacking, which (are) the turnovers.
“You put better things around him – we have to run the ball better – that will help him out. There are so many things that we can do as a team to help Jameis out. And I know Jameis is going to be back. I think the organization knows it and I think the front office knows it. And I think that he’s going to be here for a long time.”
The 34-year old Dotson told the PewterReport.com staff on the Pewter Nation Podcast that he wanted to come back for a 12th season. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians called Dotson “a warrior” in his year-end press conference and expressed his admiration for Tampa Bay’s elder statesman.
Dotson said on the Pewter Nation Podcast that Winston, who played with a broken thumb for the last few weeks of the season, was the real warrior.
“That guy is a true warrior,” Dotson said. “That’s who Bruce should have been saying when he said ‘a warrior.’ He should have given it to Jameis. That’s a true warrior. That’s a fighter, a hard worker. I would take that guy on my team any day.”
Dotson thinks the Bucs would be foolish to let Winston go.
“Everybody thinks the grass is always greener on the other side, right?” Dotson said. “Until they find out it’s not.”
Dotson talked about Winston’s fighter mentality and competitive nature on the Pewter Nation Podcast, and also made a few jokes at his own expense when talking about his lack of enthusiasm for run blocking.
“I think I’m a little different,” Dotson said. “I think most offensive linemen like to run the football. Me personally, I’d rather pass protect. I think that’s why people say I’m so bad at run blocking. Me saying this is probably going to get me kicked out of Tampa.”
Dotson also recalled his try-out at the Bucs’ rookie mini-camp in 2009 when he showed up with basketball sneakers instead of football cleats on the Pewter Nation Podcast. And find out which NFL player gave Dotson the most trouble in his 11-year career in Tampa Bay and which Bucs edge rusher was the most problematic for Dotson in practice.
Click on the Pewter Nation Podcast link below to hear Dotson’s full interview.