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    • michael89156

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      Winston’s rise to Bucs’ franchise QB years in the makingrise1_zpsbtwhmbyu.jpg Rookie Jameis Winston possesses all of the qualities that teams look for in a franchise quarterback, but he knows there’s only one that truly matters. “You have to win,’’ he said. By Roy Cummings | Tribune Staff Published: September 12, 2015 at 11:26 PMHe’s still just a kid at heart. A kid playing a kid’s game, living a kid’s dream. You can see it in his eyes, so wide and full of wonder, his smile and his playful manner.It’s easy to lose sight of that.After all, Jameis Winston is only three years removed from high school, yet he’s been christened by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their franchise quarterback.NFL teams have a tendency to do that. They take a kid fresh out of college — in this case a 21-year old still 44 credits shy of a bachelor’s degree in social science — and ask him to salvage their foundering, multi-million dollar corporation.It’s an approach the Bucs have tried before. Josh Freeman, Trent Dilfer and Vinny Testaverde were first-round picks, but failed to get the job done.Now, in the wake of their 2-14 plummet to the bottom of the NFL standings last season, the Bucs have turned yet again to a kid, one who spends a lot of his down time doing what most kids do in their down time.“I watch cartoons,’’ said Winston, who turned 21 in January, three months before the Bucs selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. “Old-time ‘Scooby-Doo’ is my favorite, but I watch some of the newer ones, too, like ‘Teen Titans Go!’ and ‘(The Amazing World of) Gumball.’ They’re pretty good.“I love cartoons. They take me back to a happy place, where I don’t have to (think) about sports or anything to do with sports. I can just sit there and watch and laugh and have fun, like a little kid.’’rise2_zpssdmunqrv.pngThe time has come, however, for this kid to put away childish things. The dawn of a new season is at hand, and if the Bucs are going to snap a four-year losing streak or end a seven-year playoff drought, Winston will have to lead the way.It’s a job he’s been preparing for most of his life. A quarterback notebook he compiled when he was still in middle school is filled with diagrammed football plays, tips on how to beat Cover 3 and Cover 4 defenses and a list of the qualities required of a quarterback. In neat, printed handwriting, Winston identified seven:Leadership.Dedication.Desire.Student.Mental toughness.Character.Confident.Through high school and college, Winston consistently displayed elements of each. It’s one reason few doubt he’s up to the task he’s been assigned.When he opted to leave Florida State University last spring after just two seasons as the starter, the consensus among NFL scouts, coaches and general managers was that Winston was the most pro-ready quarterback in the 2015 NFL draft.Ron Wolf, a former Raiders, Bucs, Jets and Packers general manager now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, compared Winston to a young Brett Favre, saying he had every quality wanted in a franchise quarterback.But many NFL quarterbacks have those qualities. What separates the franchise quarterbacks from the rest of the pack is success.“You have to win,’’ Winston said. “That’s what a franchise quarterback does. That’s what he is. He’s a winner. If you’re a quarterback and you have wins, people will consider you a franchise quarterback.”Winston has done a lot of winning during his brief football life.At Hueytown High, he won an Alabama state title as a junior and 13 of 14 games started as a senior. At Florida State, he won the 2013 Heisman Trophy, becoming the youngest recipient at 19 years, 342 days, and won 26 of 27 games started, including the 2013 BCS national championship game.So, after 39 mostly fruitless years of searching, the Bucs think they finally have a quarterback worthy of that “franchise’’ title.“We’re very confident Jameis is a franchise quarterback,’’ Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. “He’s a winner, he’s a champion and he’s a leader.”Like “franchise quarterback,” leader is a title that has to be earned. But it can’t be earned by simply speaking up in the locker room or leading the offense down the field.“It’s about earning everyone’s respect,” Winston said. “It’s about being that guy that everyone in the locker room wants to model themselves after. Guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, everyone in that locker room has respect for that guy. And there might be some people somewhere that don’t like those guys or whatever, but I guarantee you they respect them.”Winston appears to have earned the respect of his Bucs teammates. For many, it’s his dedication that has made a positive impression.“All throughout this locker room, on both side of the ball, the guys really respect the way he goes about his work,” veteran receiver Vincent Jackson said. “He’s a professional, he’s competitive and he brings an energy that’s infectious, that guys are feeding off of.”Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy thinks Winston has the unique traits necessary to turn around a struggling franchise.“I’ve seen it for myself,’’ McCoy said. “I see it every day when I walk in the building and he’s already here working. He’s just a winner. It’s in his blood. And that’s all he wants to do is win. So, it’s going to be fun to watch him, because this kid, yeah, he’s the real deal.”rcummings@tampatrib.comTwitter: @RCummingsTBO

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    • Anonymous

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      He is a TAWOG fan?...Ok, now I am sold.If he's 21, and doesn't say "porn," he's either lieing or has already wore himself out on it. Lol.

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