As Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston said as he took to the podium on Monday, “football is in the air.”
This week many of the Bucs players reported to the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning. This isn’t a required thing, and because of that, not everyone who will be on the field for the Buccaneers in 2018 was in the building at the same time. But, it did signal the official opening of the doors for One Buc Place, and it’s the beginning of the long road to get the players focused up and ready for training camp and of course the regular season, too.
#Bucs WR Jackson said their main goal is building off the good ending they had to 2017. Said they watched the playoffs and felt like they should be there, but they have to put in the work. pic.twitter.com/2cjbtJXbm7
The first Bucs player to take to the podium to address some questions from the media was wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson, who normally trains in California around this time of year, told reporters that he thought it was important for him to be here on the first day of conditioning to show the coaches and the players that he’s all in. He wanted to make sure he “showed face” and that this isn’t just something he does to get paid. He wanted to show up and be in Tampa Bay with his teammates on day one to prove he’s as invested as he can be. Jackson said that he would be going to back to California eventually to undergo his speed training that he usually does every offseason, but that he will be in Tampa Bay for a good portion of the offseason, too.
The big question with Jackson going into the 2018 season is certainly his chemistry with his quarterback Jameis Winston, specifically hitting on deep passes down the field. Jackson and Winston spent last week in Tallahassee, FL at the campus of Winston’s alma mater, Florida State University, and were able to throw the ball around to each other for a few days there. Jackson spoke on that being the main thing for them: time together. Jackson said that it took him and his former quarterback Kirk Cousins years to get that chemistry down in Washington. In year two of their relationship, Jackson expects a better performance from both himself and Winston.
One way Jackson is hoping to be more effective this year is with passes that allow him to create yards after the catch, not just deep passes where he’s gaining yards through the air. Jackson’s longest play of the 2017 season was a 41-yard quick pass against the Patriots which he took for a lot of yards after the catch. Jackson hinted that that’s one way to get the most out of his speed and hopes it’s part of the game plan in 2018.
Winston took to the podium after Jackson, and, of course, he was asked some of the same questions about his chemistry with his wide receiver. Winston said he “feels great about it.” He said that it’s always something that is growing and noted that his chemistry with receiver Mike Evans took a big jump from year one to year two.
With a healthy shoulder from the quarterback and a year under their belt, Winston doesn’t seem worried about it at all.
#Bucs QB Winston said his outlook on life is changing in reference to him about to become a father. He was all smiles. Said he can’t wait. pic.twitter.com/UcSO7NxpkX
Something else Winston talked about at the podium was the excitement he has to become a father — his first son is due in July. Winston said that even in just the time of this pregnancy, he’s been inspired by his girlfriend who is going through this with him, from other fathers and mothers he’s talked to about being a parent and that has changed his outlook on life. You could see the smile on his face that he had for the excitement to not only be a father but make his son proud, too.
#Bucs QB Winston was asked about going into his fourth year already, was asked if the “clock feels like it’s ticking.” He said he doesn’t see it that way. Just gets more excited each year. Said it’s time to string some wins together and make the postseason. pic.twitter.com/uZAyQfAwxO
Winston is going into his fourth year in the league, and when asked if it’s gone by fast or slow or just how he thought, he said that success always has it’s curves, it’s not a straight line up. He talked about last year being one of those curves he had to adjust to and keep moving forward with.
#Bucs OL Marpet said that moving from right guard to center to left guard isn’t annoying, he said it’s a challenge — and he looks forward to challenges. pic.twitter.com/M0sPtHuU5E
The final podium participant of the day was offensive guard — yes, back to guard — Ali Marpet.
Marpet was asked about just that, the transition not only from center back to guard, but to a new guard spot, as he’ll now be playing on the left side. Marpet said that it’s surely a challenge, but that everything in the NFL is a challenge; thats’ something he looks forward to.
Winston said he has NOT been interviewed by the NFL regarding his investigation.
The final point of note on the day came from Winston’s time at the podium. Winston’s case with the NFL for allegedly groping the Uber drive is still open. Winston said he’s not frustrated or annoyed with it going on as long as it has because there’s nothing he can do about it, so he just doesn’t try to devote anything to it. He says he knows the NFL has a process and he respects it.
Winston also confirmed that he has not been interview by the NFL to this point.
There is no timetable for when this case is to be closed.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: email@example.com
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