Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich knows that he has to be attached to the hip of Jameis Winston. Leftwich feels that you can’t call an offensive play for your quarterback until you learn the player, and you have to understand his mind first before you plan around him.

“I don’t think you can call plays for a guy and have continuous success without knowing the guy,” Leftwich said. “Once I know how he’s wired and how he thinks, I can begin to call plays for him.”

Leftwich has said that Winston has improved well this offseason, but the ultimate key for Jameis is to be honest with him. He needs that honesty and communication from Winston in order to build a successful offense for the Bucs this year.

Bucs O.C. Byron Leftwich – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“The thing with me and Jameis is that it must be truthful,” Leftwich said. “I don’t care how bad an answer is. I always tell him ‘I don’t care what your answer is, just tell me what you was thinking on this situation,’ because it helps me learn him. The more I can learn Jameis, the better I can call plays for him.”

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Leftwich went into further detail regarding Jameis Winston and the quarterback – coach relationship. He also addressed other topics around the Bucs offense, which featured the line and running back situations.

Here is an entire transcript of his responses up at the podium.

On how Jameis has done this offseason at practice
“He’s doing a hell of a job, he’s picking it up quick. Now it’s just getting through the little nuances and having the understanding how we manipulate defenses and how we operate at a high level.”

On how is he progressing on his footwork
He’s getting better, he’s getting better, and that’s something that all quarterbacks do throughout the league so it’s not just Jameis. It’s something as a quarterback that you work on non stop. The rest of you career, all of your career, you’re working on footwork because that’s really what’s determining how accurate the ball is going to be. The lower half of your body really operates the upper half, so we’re just trying to get him as clean as possible. But yes, it’s a lot of work and we’re getting piece by piece.”

On if his previous struggles with interceptions came from bad footwork
“Yes, but that’s with everybody. Most quarterbacks get in trouble when their feet are out of whack, that’s when the ball get out of whack. Like I said, there’s things that’s univertal with the position that just constantly got ot tbe on Jameis about, he’s constantly getting better at it, but it’s not a thing that takes one-two weeks to get better, this a thing that takes time to get better. We just want to see him get better day by day, piece by piece.”

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

On how much it has helped having Blaine Gabbert here to help explain things to Jameis
“Blaine’s a great help. Them two guys are hitting off great, and Blaine, he’s done it before, Blaine’s been in the system. I’ve been with Blaine in situations like this so he’s able to help out, and that’s why it’s good to have veterans like Blaine. Blaine is going into his what, eighth, ninth year, he’s seen a lot of different things in football. Fortunately for me I was able to work with him in Arizona, getting a guy with that sort of talent inside the room is a beautiful for thing for us as a staff and a beautiful thing for Jameis because he’s done some of these things. Jameis may not have done some of these things, but when we ask him to, it’s always great to have another player who you can lean on for information.”

On how much he relies on the feedbacks that Jameis is giving him for drawing up game plans
“Well play calling is all about the quarterback, right? So that’s something that, the first thing that I told Jameis was ‘I just need honesty, I don’t care what the answer is, just give me honesty.’ Because once I know how he’s wired and how he thinks, I can begin to call plays for him. The thing with me and Jameis is that it must be truthful, I don’t care how bad an answer is, I always tell him ‘I don’t care what your answer is, just tell me what you was thinking on this situation on that situation’ because it helps me learn him. The more I can learn Jameis, the better I can call plays for him That’s the most important thing as a play caller, I don’t think you can call plays for a guy and have continuous success without knowing the guy. So my whole part in this is just trying to learn what Jameis does well, what he may not do so well, and put him in positions to be successful.”

On why he thinks turnovers have been such an issue for Jameis in his career
“It’s tough to say without being here. I think the mentality with us as a whole must change because you see a lot of these interceptions – we talk about it a lot as a staff – right, wrong, or indifferent, you’re down 28-7, around the league, that’s when interceptions begin to show up. So, as a whole, as a coach, that’s what I see, I see us being in better position, better predicaments to give him an opportunity to be successful. I know at the end of the day, people just see interceptions, touchdowns, I get that, trust me, but being in that position and now coaching that position, I have an understanding when those little nuances and those little things begin to show up. So we’re going to try to do a better job of creating offense to help us score points and help us win football games, and being more situational football aware, and try not to end up in these situations that those guys ended up in the past where it’s 28-14, 27-10, in the second quarter, third quarter, where you’re just chasing, trying to play catch up, because around the league that’s where most of all the turnovers show up.”

On when to take shots in the game, because these turnovers have put the defense in a bad position
“That’s the situational football awareness that I’m talking about, just having an understanding of this as a whole. You can’t beat offense, defense, you got have full awareness of the game in itself, how it’s going and how it’s happening. That’s another thing that I’m on him about, just football and situational football awareness, because you can think of four-five plays in the game that really determines if you win the game or not. I don’t care how good the team is on paper, I don’t care how bad the team is on paper, if you look at the game it’s four-five plays on this number that really decides the outcome. “

On in if the football honesty with Jameis Winston is a transition for him
“I don’t know. It’s tough to say because he’s giving me what I’m asking of him to be honest with you. I don’t really know what happened in the past, I’m just trying to show him the way that we’re going to do it, the best way we believe for us to have success and continues to success, it’s not just ‘okay we played well this week.’ No, we got to understand, we got to have the mindset that we expect to play well every week and I can expect him to play well from a number standpoint, but putting our team in position to win football games, because ultimately that’s what it’s all about.”

On if it’s hard for players at this level to be honest and speak up about something not working
“It’s actually easier for quarterbacks because we think we’re running anyway. We think we control everything, for the most part around the league we think we run everything, so that’s the easy part actually. The tough difficult situation is when you don’t know somebody, when you don’t know somebody, just like it is with everyone else, it’s hard to communicate and talk to people that you don’t know. So we’ve been building, Me and Jameis have been building a friendship also and like I’m doing with the rest of these players, we’re building friendships with these guys because that’s what you ultimately want. We say family, everybody preach family around the league, but this what it means, it really means if you’re going to be family, this what it takes. It takes developing a relationship with everybody on the team and that’s just what we’re doing as coaches.”

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images

On if learning as much as he can about Jameis Winston include his spending time with him away from the facility
“Wells he’s over here really from five until five every day. He can have the other 12 hours to enjoy his family. Once you walk away from here, I want him thinking football, but the key right now is when he get out the building, I believe in that. I believe in enjoying your family, spending time, do things, because once it gets started it’s non-stop every day. So right now, this kid’s over here so much sometimes, sometimes I got to send him home, like you got to get out of here, that’s how much work he’s putting in. I appreciate that as a coach but there’s a balance to it.”

On if that’s Bruce Arians rubbing off on him regarding being home for family
“I’ve been with BA a long time, so he rubbed off on me a long time ago, around 2001-2002 somewhere around there. We all know BA’s mindset, so the great thing as a coordinator is, I’m sure Todd feels the same, we know BA, I kind of know what he’s thinking for the most part, I know how he see the game. I’ve been in the room with him now in Arizona, I was the guy sitting next to him shoulder to shoulder, so I understand the way BA thinks and how he feels about this whole process. I have an understanding of where we need to be and where we want to go.”

On Jameis Winston gaining weight and if he’s heard of a quarterback wanting to get bigger
“Yeah, but I don’t know how true of a statement we’re going to allow that to be. I heard that too, I heard that, I don’t know how accurate of a statement that would be. I would ask him that question again after today.”

On his impressions of the running backs
“I love. I love what Peyton gives us, we got six mile here, I love the guys that’s been here, Dare, Shaun. We got some guys that can do something with the football, guys like Rojo haven’t had a lot of opportunities, that group may not be looked at highly around the league but I like where we’re at to be honest with you. I like what Peyton brings, the tape really makes me have no worries when I watch Peyton play to be honest with you. That tape says a lot of good stuff, he’s a phone booth guy, knows how to make guys miss, drops his shoulder. He may not be the fastest guy but he’s a runner with the football and it’s more important that when you turn around and hand that football off you’re giving it to a runner, not a specific fast guy, he sees it well, he makes the right cuts. I’m perfectly fine with having Peyton back there.”

On how he feels about the right side of the offensive line and how it’s going to work out after not drafting anybody at that position
“I’m still confident in where we are as a team. I think we try to get better at all positions at every draft, unfortunately for us as an offense we only got one guy. Like I said, this is about team, this is really about team and what we can do to help us win football games. We’ll bring the right players in here that we feel fit to help us win football games and where we don’t, we’ll get better at those positions. Not that we have to make do, but I’m confident enough with what we have here as a roster standpoint to give me confidence going into the year, ultimately it’s health, but I’m confident about the players that we have. I believe in that locker room, these guys have shown me the way these guys have worked their butt off this summer, how serious, how important it is for these guys, that’s all you can ask as a coach. That’s all you can really ask, and they’ve given us everything from that standpoint.”

Previous articleBucs Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 119: The Assistant Coach Marathon
Next articleBucs’ Pierre-Paul Involved In Minor Car Accident


  1. A lot to digest because I haven’t looked at it this way before. I wonder why Jameis wants to gain so much weight. You would think it would slow him down as to dropping back and adjusting the pass rush?

    Rating: +7. From 7 votes.
    Please wait...
  2. Really interesting. Jamies has always been a hard worker. Maturity, footwork, decision making, not always having to come from behind. We’ll know when we start playing games. I like the Leftwich is approaching this.

    Most everyone loves Barber. Like what he said about the RB’s. Let’s hope coaching can bring RoJo around.

    Telling that he punted when asked about the right side of the O-line, got no help in the draft.

    Rating: +14. From 16 votes.
    Please wait...
  3. Horse, Jameis wants to add weight to help himself absorb hits better. The offense won’t change much between last season and this upcoming season in that they’re going to take some long shots down the field, more so than most offenses. This means we can expect to see Jameis get hit from holding on to the ball as long as he did last year, hopefully not quite as much as in years past, but also that he’ll be able to take hits better and result in fewer injuries.

    Rating: +6. From 8 votes.
    Please wait...
  4. I like that our QB is spending 12 hours a day at one buc it sets a tone. However if he is running for his life how can he grow? The left side is not that good either.The center is a immature bone head that thinks he is better than he really is. what happens when winston gets hurt? He is playing with Swiss cheese in front of him. Honestly what backfield wants to play behind that line? Horse He wants to gain weight cause he knows he is going to killed back there this year. lol

    Rating: +5. From 11 votes.
    Please wait...
  5. Quit worrying about his weight. He’s a professional and been playin football long enough and knows himself better than anybody tryin to make a big deal of it. So it’s a non issue, whatever weight he wants to play at is whatever he’s comfortable with. Nobody else is an expert on Jameis, he played at 242 last year, 250 is nothing. Stop worrying about it

    Rating: +6. From 10 votes.
    Please wait...
  6. He has his work cut out for him

    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
    Please wait...
  7. Well the biggest thing I took from that is Leftwich prettty much said jameis turnovers have been from bad footwork and becasue of being down 24-7 in the 2nd quarter. I believe he is right on that. Because us fans see jameis bring us back from that score once whitch is out of the norm for any qb to do multiple times a year. We expect it all of the time. Then when he throws two picks trying to make something happen we yell at the tv and say jameis sucks. When the reality is he has to make those throws it 3rd and 9. Down 21 in the 3rd quarter. So now I am seeing a different aspect of jameis. He is trying his butt off against insurmountable odds. Knowing that the turnovers are going to happen and never blaming anyone but himself. I think we have been hoodwinked by a horrible coaching staff. And this is the year we realize are talent with great coaching. Just reading that article makes me realize how bad are coaching was.

    Rating: +7. From 13 votes.
    Please wait...
  8. I wonder if Winston will have trouble being honest?

    Rating: -3. From 11 votes.
    Please wait...
  9. Just finished BA’s book, and a lot of the concepts he talks about there are echoed by Byron here with regard to mental acuity, accountability, and honesty. If Jameis’ ability to process information rapidly improves, this could be a fun offense to watch.

    I also have concerns about this line, and the fact that it really hasn’t been addressed yet. But I also wonder how much of what looks like bad O-line play has been bad coaching and bad scheming. As things stand now, I guess we will find out.

    Nitpicky sidenote on the article: normally your proofreading at PR is really good, but this article has some confusing typos that made it through. Probably going to take some thumbs down for saying it, but it’s still true.

    Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
    Please wait...
  10. The offensive line will be the downfall of this team.

    Rating: +2. From 4 votes.
    Please wait...
  11. Johnny Cannons said:”Nitpicky sidenote on the article: normally your proofreading at PR is really good, but this article has some confusing typos that made it through. Probably going to take some thumbs down for saying it, but it’s still true.” I couldn’t agree more. You got a thumbs up from me Johnny.

    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
    Please wait...
  12. I think the main reason he hasn’t ascended the way people forecast is due to the level of competition he faced in college, combined with the supporting cast that had his back and was able to overcome any mistakes he made. 2013 he had Kelvin Benjamin and Devonta Freeman. 2014 he had Dalvin Cook and some receivers I don’t know, but he had an all-star defense to get him the ball back. In the pros it’s like facing a college all-star team every game, and quite frankly I’m not sure he will EVER be good enough to overcome that level of competition. You can make a good player better by surrounding him with high quality teammates, but you can’t make a good player great, and unfortunately that’s what we keep expecting from Jameis. With better coaching he can definitely be a better QB, but I think we should probably stop expecting him to be that great franchise QB we thought we drafted #1 overall.
    I’m sure this comment won’t sit well with the Winston fans, but until he proves me wrong I have to believe that he has already peaked and the Bucs W-L record is at the mercy of a mediocre QB who has ridden the coattails of his college resume for far too long. One more year, then reboot.

    Rating: -3. From 5 votes.
    Please wait...