A lot was made about Jameis Winston’s postgame press conference in New Orleans on Sunday when the rookie referred to himself as a “game manager.”
A term that’s been offensive to quarterbacks in the past, many were surprised to hear Jameis Winston, a No. 1 overall pick who’s often described as a gunslinger, admit that he’d rather not make mistakes than power his team to victory. At least that used to be the strategy associated with game managers.
On Monday, however, Lovie Smith gave the term new meaning. The Bucs head coach doesn’t see it as a knock on the quarterback or a way to limit him, but rather as proof of a balanced offense.
“That’s just not a bad thing,” Smith said Monday. “I think every good quarterback should be a good game manger. We’re not going to run the ball 60 times and ask him to only play-action pass. No, but what we would like to do, we want to establish the run and from there it opens up everything else.”
Establishing the run early was clearly the Bucs’ plan. Before the final drive in the second quarter, Winston had thrown just six passes in the first 28 minutes of the game. From there, with 1:15 left in the first half, he completed 4 of 5 attempts for 54 yards, capping off the drive with an impressive pass to Vincent Jackson in the back of the end zone for a score. While the running game was effective on Sunday, there will likely be times when the Bucs have to put the ball in Winston’s hands like that a little earlier. And that final second quarter drive should give them confidence.
“When he needed to be the drop-back quarterback and pass the ball down the field, and I’m going to go right back to the drive before the half, that’s what he did,” Smith said. “He can throw the football.”
In fact, Smith was encouraged to see all around improvement from the young signal-caller. Aside from accuracy and good decisions, Winston showed progression in other aspects of his game, proving his resilience after a disappointing NFL debut.
“All areas, and that’s not running away from the question,” Smith said. “That’s what we needed to do. It’s about throwing the ball and he threw it better.
“His speed is talked about an awful lot. What a quarterback needs to do when he needs to run and be mobile in the pocket, he did that. I thought that was a pretty impressive touchdown run he had yesterday, too.
“Again, we’ll eventually leave the first game, but when there’s disappointment, you assume for a young player it’s overwhelming to him and that’s just not the case,” Smith continued. “You go back to work. That’s what we’ve seen from him throughout. He’s had a day that’s not as good as he would like, he comes back from it quickly. It was good to see him do that.”
At the end of the day, 14 of 21 for 207 yards with a touchdown and no picks was a great outing on Sunday. Smith wouldn’t mind if Winston “managed” games like that for the rest of his career.
“When he’s played 15 years for us here and you ask him that question, I would like for him to say, ‘Hey, I’m really managing that game well,’ ” Smith said. “As a quarterback, that’s a good thing.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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