Two of the biggest storylines for the Buccaneers this offseason have been the hiring of Bruce Arians and his staff, as well as the departure of longtime Buc Gerald McCoy.
Quarterback Jameis Winston joined ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday to discuss both shakeups on his podcast.
“It’s really been a blessing, really just about the people he has around the quarterback position,” Winston said on working with Arians. “Having greats like Coach [Tom] Moore, having Coach Clyde Christensen in the QB room and having someone that I can relate to, someone that has played the game and played under his system, in Byron Leftwich as the offensive coordinator.”
“He kind of heads the whole thing,” Winston said. “I’m getting coached by him, Coach Byron is getting coached by him and Coach Clyde is getting coached by him. It’s always parallel energy and it’s all about the quarterback executing.”
This upcoming season is a year unlike the Bucs have ever seen, from a quarterback standpoint. With Winston in his option year and no extension yet on the table, the fifth-year QB has a lot to prove in a new system to not only earn that presumably lengthy extension, but the hefty paycheck that comes with it.
“Every year, every game really, I try to play like it’s my last game,” Winston said on his contract year. “Growing up I always wanted to be a professional quarterback and having a year where nothing is guaranteed, it’s solely up me to go out and perform and win some football games, it just gives you that extra drive and sense of urgency to be your best.”
Winston said that his drive to become a quarterback as a kid revolved around wanting being the guy to touch the ball all the time, have that leadership role to “lead the pack” and that he considers himself a perfectionist. He said the toughest part about that is competing against himself every day, and that sometimes havig that drive to be perfect leads to him trying to do too much. To remedy that, Winston said that Arians is helping him understand that you have to concede plays sometimes to be successful, even if that means taking a sack or even letting the Bucs punt and letting your defense do their job.
Winston went on to discuss the young talent at wide receiver, noting Chris Godwin and rookie Scotty Miller, that will have to step up to replace departures in DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries. He then sang the praises of all the running backs that the Bucs’ have on the roster, specifically mentioning how proud he is of the offseason that Ronald Jones has had. Winston claimed that RoJo could be a premier back in this league with the growth he’s made.
Schefter then moved on to how it will feel for Winston to see Gerald McCoy to face the Bucs twice in 2019 as the defensive tackle has now signed with the Carolina Panthers.
“I think it’ll be fun,” Winston said. “I’m learning every year how the NFL business is but Gerald McCoy is definitely one of the greatest men I’ve known. It’s definitely sad to see him not being a Buc, but I’m definitely excited to play against him. I know he’s going to have a chip on his shoulder, even though he doesn’t need a chip on his shoulder. I mean the guy’s a six-time Pro Bowler and will probably be a Hall of Famer one day, but I know he’s going to have some heat towards us, so I’m excited. I’m ready to hit him with a double-cadence to get him to jump offside and get in his head a little bit. He’ll probably try to talk about the Lord to me while he’s out there on the field, he’s a great christian guy, so I’m excited to play and compete against him.”
You can listen to the full interview below.