Winston learning to abandon instincts to preserve healthJameis Winston always slid head-first as a baseball player and he takes that approach on the football field, but he’s certain to get a different directive from Bucs coaches. CHRIS URSO/STAFFBy Roy Cummings | Tribune Staff Published: August 22, 2015 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have spent much of the past three months refining the raw skills that made quarterback Jameis Winston the player they coveted most in the 2015 NFL draft. They’ve worked to purify his throwing mechanics and release, labored to polish his footwork and drop-back technique, and toiled to fine-tune his decision making. Going into their preseason opener last week at Minnesota, they aggressively attacked every area of weakness their scouts could detect during more than two years of evaluation.Except one.Prior to last week, the Bucs had yet to really help Winston find that fine line between properly protecting himself and gaining an extra yard or two when he’s on the run. That became apparent during the 26-16 loss to the Vikings, when Winston scrambled out of the pocket three times and fell awkwardly forward in an attempt to max out his scramble.“Well, he hadn’t run the ball (until then),’’ Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. “So, yes, in these coming weeks we will work on teaching him how to protect himself a little better and when to get down.’’It’s not just when to get down, but how to get down that Winston needs to learn. Like a baseball player sliding head-first into a base, Winston put himself at risk by diving head-first on his three scrambles.Most quarterback are asked to slide feet-first at the end of a scramble, even if it winds up costing them a crucial yard or two, because that’s the safest approach. That wasn’t the case with Winston, though.A former baseball player, Winston said he always slid head-first as a baserunner and was quite good at it. But he also was taught to take that approach as a quarterback.“In football, I was always taught to fall forward, because if you give up yourself in the NFL you’re declared down,’’ Winston said.Winston is almost certain to get a different directive from Smith and other Bucs coaches. After all, the last thing they want is for their young quarterback to be declared down and out.More than enoughThe Bucs are asking a lot of their returns specialists. Whether it’s a punt or kick, they want to gain at least a first down on the return. But the Bucs’ idea of a first down is not what you might think.While most consider it a gain of 10 yards, the Bucs define it as even more than that in the return game.“In our mind, a first down is 11.5 yards, because the whole idea of what we want to do is flip the field,’’ Bucs special teams coordinator Kevin O’Dea said. “That’s how you hurt the other team. You always want to score a touchdown if you can. But in reality, if they’re going to get the ball at the 20 on a touchback, we want to get it past the 30.’’Elite levelAt 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is at least as big as, if not bigger than, the linebackers and defensive linemen he faces on game day. That’s why the Bucs think the second-year pro out of Washington could prove to be not only an elite pass-catching tight end, but also an elite blocker.“Once he’s in coverage, how many 6-7 linebackers are there?” Smith asked rhetorically. “How many 6-5 linebackers are there? You go down the list and you won’t find many.“And, yes, he can block. He does a good job in pass protection. So, as I talk about the true tight end that can do it all, yes, I think anything you ask him to do or ask a tight end to do, he can do it well.”firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7893 Twitter: @RCummingsTBO
Instincts are part of what makes Winston so good. If you take that away from him, you might as well trade him and stick with Mike Glennon.
Right, but some of these things he has to change in the nfl. The sliding is definitely one of those.He isnt "dunn" low, so hes not going to get down fast enough not to get popped. He keeps doing that and eventually hes going to get hurt.But yeah, some of the other things he does id like him to retain. If they are going to try to turn him into a conservative ball-machine, im with you man, its dumb. They need to teach him, but they still need to tell him to go out and win games however he can.