Bucs’ offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich spoke to the media on Tuesday for the first time since the team’s loss to the 49ers in which the offense put up just 10 points.
A lot of the focus was on quarterback Jameis Winston and his performance, but he also spoke about the preparation that goes into getting ready for the Panthers on a short week.
On Winston’s performance
“Some good, some things we want to correct. That’s going to be every week. I think we did some really good things this week and we’ll learn from the mistakes that we made during that game. He’s got to move on, we’ve got a game in two days, so he’s got to move on from that and get ready to play.”
On Winston bouncing back quickly from the loss
“That’s this league, that’s what this league is all about. You can’t have any hangovers or carry overs so he’s got to stay locked in. The good thing is that we had to get in this thing the next day and get it rolling with the game being so quick so we’re on to the Carolina Panthers and preparing to see what we can do to win that game.”
On if Winston looked frantic in the pocket, especially early
“He looked fine to me. That’s just being early in the season. Not saying that he wasn’t, not saying that he was but to be honest we’ve moved on so far from that game because we’ve got a big game here on Thursday we have to try and win.”
QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
If Winston made the pass late on the fourth down “No, not really. The fact that they blew the coverage is the reason why [Chris Godwin] was so open. Chris wasn’t really running the progression and it happened so quick on everybody, Chris didn’t even know he was open. The good thing, we can actually learn from that play because those situations are going to happen throughout the year and when you have a new offense sometimes guys are like, ‘should I have done this, should I have done that?,’ because moments happen in the game that the game doesn’t allow you to practice for. Two guys chase one guy and it just popped. I think the next time we’re in that situation, between two guys, we’ll get the job done.”
On if it’s fair for Winston to get all of the blame on the interceptions
“Who are we kidding? We’re talking about the National Football League. There’s no such thing as fair in this league when you’re talking about the quarterback position. Like [Bruce Arians] said, you can’t throw all of that in Jameis’ lap. There’s a lot going on, there’s 10 other guys out there with him and there’s little things that go on throughout the game where the quarterback is going to get the blame regardless of whose fault it is but Jameis understands that. Every quarterback in this league should understand that it’s going to fall in the lap of the quarterback and Jameis has been playing long enough that hopefully he doesn’t worry about those things, things being set in his lap, because those things come with the position.”
If it helps that Leftwich has been in his situation “I remember being younger and being in those situations and you feel like the whole world is on your shoulders, you feel like you didn’t do things well enough, but then you come in and watch the tape. It’s just the quarterback position. If you’re playing quarterback on one of the 32 teams in this league you have to be willing to accept all blame that comes your way when it comes your way, that’s just part of the position. Jameis is fine with that, he understands that. He knew that the most important thing on Monday was to come in and turn the page and move on to the Carolina Panthers and he did a heck of a job with that. We watched the tape, we learned from it and we’ll continue to get better.”
On the final interception and if he can no longer make that mistake in his fifth season “I think that’s one that we all wish, including Jameis, that we wish we had back but to be honest with you he was put in a tough situation. I think that a lot of things went into it. He’s got to get the ball out of his hand and anything can happen but that, and we’ll learn from that.”
“We’ve got to find a way to get that ball on the ground, that’s the key, and the defense did a heck of a job of playing the play but we’ve got to find a way to get the ball on the ground and Jameis knows that. We’ll get better from that moment. A lot of teaching went into that moment. Not just because of that play but the fact that that play happened, it allowed us to teach our team from the aspect of what we have to do in those situations. Games in this league come down to that possession anyway, I don’t care who you are. . .We will get better from that play. I know it’s easy for me to get up here and say it two days later, it looks like I’m trying to sugarcoat it, but we will get better from that play as a whole.”
On James Bradberry and the Panthers’ defense “These guys can play. It doesn’t take long, you cut the film on and you see players everywhere so we’ve got our work cut out for us again. Thursday night, it’s a big game, we go into their place, they’re coming off of a tough loss two, you’ve got two 0-1 teams and both teams are looking for a way to get a win. It should be a fun game, a tough, fun game for us to go up there and see what we can do and hopefully we can pull it out.”
On the offense scoring just 10 points
“The whole way through. I look at myself the whole time. We’ve got to find a way to score more than 10 points regardless of the situation why you scored 10 points. That’s part of it but we’ll be fine.”
Bucs RB Ronald Jones – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
On giving the ball to Ronald Jones when he has the hot hand
“I’d have given it to him 40 times, I have no problem with that. We’re trying to win football games but you have to understand that penalties and everything sometimes put you in situations where you can’t just turn around and hand the ball off. We were in situations where we would have loved to keep turning around and keep handing the ball off because that’s where we were heading. That’s the great thing about the homefield advantage. In the first quarter we had a 17-play drive. We had a 12-play drive right after that. Those types of drives are going to help you in the second half of football games and that’s what you saw. Now we have to be smarter around those situations so you aren’t in 2nd and 15’s, 2nd and 16’s, because at that point you’re not just turning around and handing the ball off because then you’re at 3rd and 14 and trying to covert there where it’s always tough. We have to be smarter in situational football, which we will be. We’ll be fine.”
On his message to Winston before Thusday
“Just go play. On Sundays, the quarterback that plays well mostly wins. The quarterback that doesn’t win feels just like Jameis felt the past two days, until you get the next opportunity to go out and play. This thing is about wins and losses, it’s not about how many touchdowns you throw or anything like that. When you play that position you’ve got to find out ways to win in any stadium. . . all you’re trying to do is walk out of that arena with a victory and that’s all his mindset should be and that’s all our mindset is.