SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, Pewter Report publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place:

FAB 1. BUCCANEERS SHOULD DRAFT WINSTON WITH FIRST OVERALL PICK
Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith have to be thrilled that Florida State redshirt sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston has decided to enter the 2015 NFL Draft for several reasons.

First, they have another elite quarterback to compare and contrast Oregon’s Marcus Mariota to in the scouting process.

Second, there is another quarterback that a team might be willing to assemble a massive trade package for if Mariota doesn’t fit that team’s offense (and he doesn’t fit most NFL offenses).

Third, and most importantly, if I’m the quarterback-needy Buccaneers I want Winston to enter the draft because I would use the No. 1 overall pick on him.

That’s right. I would take Winston – the football player – over Mariota with the top overall pick and let new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter develop this stud of a pocket passer as he did Andrew Walter and Rudy Carpenter at Arizona State, David Garrard in Jacksonville, and Matt Ryan in Atlanta. Koetter has never run a spread offense before, and that’s what Mariota thrived in. Let’s set aside Winston’s off-field incidents for a moment and focus on his gridiron glory and I’ll explain why I would take him over Mariota.

I spent a great deal of time in a previous SR’s Fab 5 explaining why pocket passers still rule in the NFL, and that’s why a passer like Derek Carr had a better rookie season than a mobile quarterback like Johnny Manziel. Whether Winston or Mariota is the top quarterback in this draft is debatable. What’s not debatable is the fact that Winston is the top pocket passer in the draft.

As good as Mariota is – and as gaudy as his stats are – he is not an elite pocket passer, not as accurate as his stats would suggest, and would need time to develop and demonstrate that he can truly evolve to a pro-style system from a spread offense quarterback where his running skills are just as valued as his passing skills. Quarterbacks of that kind, most notably Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III, haven’t had the sustained level of success that traditional pocket passers have had in the NFL.

Yet Winston was groomed as a pocket passer at Florida State in Jimbo Fisher’s pro-style offense. The Seminoles head coach believes Winston is an NFL-ready quarterback.

“We run a pro system,” Fisher said. “He’s declaring Mikes, he’s changing protections, he’s sighting, he’s hotting – I’ve never been around a guy that can process information that quickly. To me, it’s all about decision-making and accuracy and winning from the pocket.”

While some are trying to make the connection that Tampa Bay may be more inclined to draft Mariota because of the past coaching connection between Koetter and Oregon head coach Mark Helfich, Koetter hasn’t run a spread offense before and his offenses have always featured pocket-passers. Helfich would naturally give his guy, Mariota, the thumb’s up to Koetter, but the new offensive coordinator won’t be deciding which quarterback the Bucs will draft. That decision will be made by Licht, Smith and the Glazers.

Winston is more ready to step into the huddle of the Buccaneers and win as a rookie than Mariota is in my estimation. And if you don’t think that’s important, ask Licht and Smith, who inherited a 4-12 team and produced a 2-14 record in their first season on the job in Tampa Bay.

Their seats at One Buccaneer Place are already getting warm, and drafting a rookie quarterback could buy them an extra year’s worth of grace on the job – but only if they draft the right one. Winston is the quarterback that can help Tampa Bay win right now. If Licht and Smith draft Mariota they very well may be selecting the QB for the next regime.

Remember how Winston fared in his college debut as a redshirt freshman at Florida State? He dodged Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald on his way to completing 25-of-27 passes (92.6 percent) for 356 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a rushing touchdown on opening day in 2013. When has there been a collegiate debut like that from a freshman?

A 92-percent completion percentage, and five total touchdowns in a debut? Unreal.

That’s impressive – just as impressive as winning at Clemson, winning the Heisman Trophy and leading his team to a come-from-behind win in the National Championship Game against Auburn as a redshirt freshman. And Winston, who completed 20-of-35 (57.1 percent) passes for 237 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Tigers, was 6-of-7 for 77 yards on that final drive, including a game-winning, 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin with 17 seconds remaining.

The guy is an absolute winner. While surrounded with some very good talent, Winston IS Florida State. He’s the Seminoles’ undisputed leader and rules that team with enthusiasm, an infectious smile, limitless energy and a healthy dose of swagger that has allowed him to engineer several heroic comebacks this year in the second half of games.

With comeback victories over Auburn in 2013 and against Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Louisville, North Carolina State, Miami, Florida and Georgia Tech this year, Winston is 7-0 in games decided by seven points or less. That’s what the NFL is all about – close games. In case you are wondering, Mariota is 2-3 in games decided by a touchdown or less.

Mariota, who is a very good quarterback in his own right, is not the caliber of leader that Winston is. Mariota is an engineer, and there’s a difference. The Hawaiian-born Ducks quarterback is a cog – yet a vital one – of an offensive machine at Oregon that Chip Kelly built in 2007 as the team’s offensive coordinator under Mike Bellotti. Kelly assumed the head coaching title in 2009 and served in that position before leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013.

Is Mariota truly an elite NFL quarterback or merely a product of the system? Consider that his predecessor, Darron Thomas, threw 66 touchdowns and 17 picks while passing for 5,910 yards in his two years as the Ducks’ starter. Thomas compiled a 24-3 record, including going 12-2 with a 22-19 loss to Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game in 2011.

After completing 61.3 percent of his passes and throwing a Mariota-like 33 TDs and just seven INTs, Thomas entered into the NFL draft as a junior and went undrafted because he was considered to be a product of Oregon’s system. Despite Kelly leaving, the Oregon offensive machine continues under head coach Mark Helfrich and offensive coordinator Scott Frost, and that concerns me because it seems like the Ducks spread offense could function with or without Mariota.

I don’t see the Buccaneers drafting Mariota for several reasons, being a product of Oregon’s offense is one of them. Another reason is that some NFL teams, and Tampa Bay may indeed be one of them, don’t like Mariota’s demeanor and lack of leadership skills. He’s not a type-A personality like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees is, and Mariota is quieter than even-keeled QBs like Eli Manning and Joe Flacco, and even former Bucs starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

“You have to be genuine to be followed,” Fisher said. “They say, ‘You’re not serious like most quarterbacks.’ But he is. That’s his personality.”

Former Florida State teammate LaMarcus Joyner, who is a cornerback with the St. Louis Rams, absolutely loved playing with Winston last year.

“He has that swagger and that attitude that makes you want to follow him,” Joyner said a year ago. “Despite being a redshirt freshman, he’s a natural born leader.”

During Winston’s freshman season he was more of a vocal leader than starting quarterback E.J. Manuel was in 2012.

“He was constantly up and down that sideline in guys’ faces, challenging them,” Fisher said. “You thought he was the guy.”

Smith is as optimistic of a head coach as you’ll find in the NFL, and Winston’s ever-present smile and upbeat enthusiasm will mesh well with him and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy – although Winston has more swagger than the humble face of the Buccaneers franchise does. But Tampa Bay’s offense has been swagger-less for most of the team’s 39 years of existence. Winston’s leadership style, presence in the pocket, and playmaking ability are sorely needed in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay’s head coach, general manager and scouts need to thoroughly investigate Winston, who turned 21 on Tuesday, to see if his well-documented off-field issues at Florida State are a result of poor character or just him being an immature college kid that needs to grow up (Lord knows the things I did in college!). The Glazers will need to determine whether they want to risk giving millions to another underclassman quarterback and hope Winston doesn’t let off-field issues squander his career the way Josh Freeman recently did.

I’ve had some conversations with some very well connected people associated with the Florida State football team who paint a very different picture of Winston than what has been portrayed in the media. Based on what I know, I wouldn’t be surprised if Winston passes the Bucs’ character test with relative ease.

However, Smith and Licht need to ask Winston direct questions about the sexual assault allegations from 2012 despite the fact that investigators didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute, and they need to be satisfied with the answers. If Winston passes the background check and is deemed to be worth the gamble by the franchise, he has the electricity to fill up Raymond James Stadium and light up the scoreboard.

“Jameis Winston has never been charged with a crime,” said Gene Deckerhoff, the voice of both the Buccaneers and the Seminoles radio broadcasts in an interview with ESPN 1000 in November. “He has never been arrested for a crime. He has won 23 consecutive games, every game he has started. He is a leader in the clubhouse on the baseball team. He is a team leader in the locker room on the football team. Yes, he did win the Heisman trophy a year ago when he led his team, as a freshman, to a national championship. All the kid does is win.

“He’s been honored as much as any player in the history of college football, at least to this point in his career. And yet he is probably the most maligned and the most hated guy in a college uniform.”

Pewter nation is split over which quarterback it wants to lead Tampa Bay’s offense as some want Winston and some want Mariota. Yet Winston’s smile, swagger and ability to win will eventually win over every Buccaneers fan in time – even those with allegiance to the Florida Gators as former Seminoles Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn were able to do.

The last time Tampa Bay had the first overall pick was in 1987 when the team tried to get a franchise quarterback in Heisman Trophy-winning Vinny Testaverde. Since then, the Buccaneers have spent first-round draft picks on Dilfer (1994) and Freeman (2009), a second-rounder on Shaun King (1999), a third-rounder on Mike Glennon (2013) and a fifth-rounder on Josh Johnson (2008) trying desperately to find the playmaker the team thought it was getting in Testaverde, and a long-term solution at the quarterback position – but to no avail.

That quarterback is Winston. I think he is worth the risk, and I’m hoping the Buccaneers feel the same way. The guy is a winner.

FAB 2. WINSTON’S POCKET PRESENCE, FOOTBALL I.Q. ARE SPECIAL
When you watch Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston play you might see the way he can shrug off defenders like Ben Roethlisberger and make plays from the pocket.

You might see him scramble 20 yards down field – as he has done four times in his career – for a touchdown.

You might see Winston chuck the ball down the field as he has in 18 games out of the 29 games he’s played in with a pass of at least 40 yards.

But what you may not be able to appreciate is the quality that is usually referred to as the “It” factor. That internal quality is hard to explain, but you know it when you see it, and Winston has it. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said that his football I.Q. is what makes his prized pupil so special.

“The thing about him, once you put it in that computer and once you say it one time – it may come out for weeks later [in a game] and he remembers it,” Fisher said. “He can process, and I think that’s why he’s going to be built for the pro game.

“The other thing he does when the throws the football, he doesn’t have to see a guy open. He can anticipate him open. You know up there at that level, that’s what it’s about. Quickening your hands, adjusting air on the ball, making it come out quicker – those are things you can coach all you want and work on, but you either have them or you don’t. He has those special gifts. I think he’s built for the NFL.”

Before Winston passed for 7,964 yards with 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, won a Heisman Trophy, a national championship or helped the Seminoles win 29 straight games, he was an 18-year old attendee at Trent Dilfer’s Elite11 QB Camp that was run by Trent Dilfer and broadcast on ESPN. Here’s what the former Buccaneers quarterback had to say to Winston three years ago.

“I don’t know what to say to you,” Dilfer said. “You’re an incredible kid. You’re funny. You’re comfortable in your own skin. You are a leader. You are smart as a whip. You are one of the smartest kids I’ve ever been around. Nobody learned faster. … That’s a gift, dude. Everyone is going to talk about how gifted this is (points to Winston’s arm) and how fast you are. I’ve seen you move and how great you throw. You’re tough and you pitch fast. That’s great. It’s awesome. But this (points to his head) is special. You are really smart, and when I say you need to wrap your head around the surgeon-butcher-thing, that’s going to be my challenge to you because you’re going to be good enough to just be a butcher and be called a surgeon. You’ll make people miss and you’ll run around and you’ll make these incredible plays on the move, and everyone will go, ‘Whoa! Jameis Winston – unbelievable!’

“But when you are playing on Sundays, which I really believe you will if you want to, it’s going to come down to a third-and-7 in the fourth quarter, down by four – and they are going to keep you in the pocket. They are not going to let you be fast and quick and all that. And that’s going to be a mistake because you are going to beat them here (points to his head), and that’s what I’m most impressed with.”

Dilfer saw Winston’s promise three years ago and he’s lived up to everything the ESPN NFL analyst said in that interview. Dilfer was spot on. Winston has an incredible mind for playing football and more on-field intelligence than he’s given credit for.

“Education to him is very critical,” Fisher said. “This guy is a very good student. Getting a college degree is very important to him and his family.”

Even Bucs and Seminoles radio broadcaster Gene Deckerhoff can attest to Winston’s commitment to his education.

“I will say this: I’ve been around Jameis, I’ve been around his family. He goes to class,” said Deckerhoff. “He’s a 3.0 or better grade point average. He rides a bicycle to class. He is the quintessential student athlete. I’m very proud that Jameis Winston is the quarterback of the Florida State Seminoles.

“I’ll promise you this. He will win a Super Bowl for whichever team that drafts him in the National Football League.”

It isn’t just the football I.Q. – that new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will love – that makes Winston’s intellect special. It’s also his mental toughness and his ability to handle adversity. Fisher noted how effectively Winston dealt with the distraction of his off-field accusations and mistakes over this past year.

“He can put things away like a man does and compartmentalize things, take care of his teammates, take care of his family and take care of everyone involved because he’s very mature,” Fisher said. “The reason he can do that is he knows the facts [about the sexual allegations].

“This country is based on being innocent until you are proven guilt, not guilty until you are proven innocent. There is no victim because there was no crime. We are convicting a guy over things that are not true based on evidence, but there is no evidence, so it’s not true. There are facts of the case in the report, but with public opinion, they want to do what they do. They don’t get what they want.”

Even in the sting of defeat – his only loss in college football – Winston displayed mental toughness. There were no tears after falling to Oregon, 59-20, in the Rose Bowl. Instead there was resilience and a smile on Winston’s face as if to suggest that he wasn’t going to let that loss get the better of him.

“Everything I have been through and everything I have experienced has made me a better person,” Winston said in his post-game interview. “That’s why I’m so happy I came to Florida State. I have got a head coach that loves me, and teammates that love me. There’s nowhere else to go but up. When you have great people surrounding you and you have a great family, but it’s not over yet. Hopefully I have a long life ahead of me. I don’t plan on dying today.

“No one likes to lose. Losing is not in my vocabulary, but we fell short today. We have to man up and get better every day. I just hope we can learn from this because I ain’t felt this way in a long time. That’s something to smile about.”

FAB 3. WINSTON’S INTERCEPTIONS SHOULDN’T BE A CONCERN IN THE NFL
Would you consider Brett Favre, George Blanda, Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas, Dan Marino, Y.A. Tittle, Bobby Layne, Dan Fouts, Peyton Manning, Warren Moon and John Elway some of the best quarterbacks to ever suit up in the NFL? Of course you would.

Nine of those quarterbacks are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and two more (Favre and Manning) will join them when they are eligible. But did you know that all nine of those Hall of Famers are on the list of top 15 quarterbacks that have thrown the most interceptions in NFL history?

And did you know that Favre, whom some consider to be the best playmaking and improvisational quarterback of all time, has thrown more interceptions – 336 – than anyone else in the NFL? Of course Favre has also thrown 508 touchdowns, which was the most in NFL history until Manning (530) topped it last year.

Top 15 NFL QBs With Most Interceptions Thrown
1. Brett Favre 336 INTs – 508 TDs
2. George Blanda 277 INTs – 236 TDs
3. John Hadl 268 INTs – 244 TDs
4. Vinny Testaverde 267 INTs – 275 TDs
5. Fran Tarkenton 266 INTs – 342 TDs
6. Norm Snead 257 INTS – 196 TDs
7. Johnny Unitas 253 INTs – 290 TDs
8. Dan Marino 252 INTs – 420 TDs
9. Y.A. Tittle 248 INTs – 242 TDs
10. Jim Hart 247 INTs – 209 TDs
11. Bobby Layne 243 INTs – 196 TDs
12. Dan Fouts 242 INTs – 254 TDs
13. Peyton Manning 234 INTs – 530 TDs
14. Warren Moon 233 INTs – 291 TDs
15. John Elway 226 INTs – 300 TDs

Favre was a true gunslinger and took a lot of chances with the football, but that playing style served him well as he threw 172 more touchdowns than picks during his 20-year playing career. But did you know that other legendary quarterbacks didn’t have such a spread between their touchdown totals and their interception totals?

Elway only threw 74 more TDs than INTs. Moon only threw 58 more touchdowns than interceptions. Unitas only tossed more 37 more scores against his picks. Fouts only had 12 more touchdowns than INTs, while Tittle only had six more scores. Blanda and Layne had far more interceptions than they did touchdowns.

Yes, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had 25 touchdowns in 2014 against 18 interceptions. That’s an increase over the 10 he threw as a Heisman Trophy-winning redshirt freshman when he tossed 40 touchdowns. It’s a little concerning to see a player of Winston’s caliber throw 15 less scoring strikes and eight more interceptions during his sophomore season.

Yet the Seminoles won 13 straight games this year despite those interceptions before losing to Oregon, 59-20, in the Rose Bowl, which served as the first round of the college football playoffs. Winston’s critics argue that his interceptions dug himself and the Seminoles into a lot of the holes that turned out to be comeback wins.

However, coaches from Pop Warner to the NFL always tell their players who make mistakes to go out and make up for it. With the exception of just one game, Winston did that at Florida State.

So why should Winston be crucified for throwing so many picks behind an overrated offensive line that underperformed for the first half of the season with two new running backs and without the services of 6-foot-5 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who was a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and playing with two freshmen receivers? With less talent around him, Florida State’s 2014 season was more on Winston’s shoulders than it was during the Seminoles’ title run in 2013.

Did you know that Winston only had four games in college in which he threw more interceptions than touchdowns? He threw one touchdown and two picks against Oklahoma State and the Seminoles still won by six points in the 2014 season opener. He did the same thing against Virginia this year and won by 14 points, and the same against Miami last year and won by 27 points.

Even against Florida this year in which he threw a career-high four interceptions against two touchdowns, the Seminoles beat the Gators by five points.

Winston will throw a good deal of interceptions in the NFL, especially in Dirk Koetter’s offense, which is rather aggressive and will push the ball down the field. Winston is a gunslinger like Favre and Elway were, and they threw their share of picks. But the Florida State star has also shown the ability to shrug off those interceptions and rally his team for wins in the fourth quarter, and that’s what matters the most.

FAB 4. DRAFTING ERVING IN THE SECOND ROUND WOULD AID THE BUCS
If the Buccaneers do in fact select Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, as they should since he is the best quarterback prospect, Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht should come right back to the Seminoles with the next pick and grab left tackle Cameron Erving.

How talented is Erving? He won the prestigious Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which recognizes the ACC’s top offensive lineman, in his first season at left tackle in 2013. Erving held Clemson pass rusher Vic Beasley without a sack and helped hold Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald to just two tackles and a tackle for loss that year, while the Seminoles set school and ACC records for single-season total offense (7,267 yards), points per game (51.6 avg.) and set the national record for points (723).

With Erving protecting Winston’s blindside, Florida State led the nation in touchdowns with 94, which was a school record, and set records for the most passing touchdowns (42) and rushing touchdowns (42) in Seminoles history. After an impressive debut on offense as a junior, picking up All-ACC First Team honors and various first- and second-team All-American nods, Erving became the first Florida State offensive lineman to be placed on the All-ACC team twice in the same season in 2014.

With Florida State’s offensive line struggling for the first half of the season, head coach Jimbo Fisher went to Erving after the Virginia game on November and asked him to switch to center where the Seminoles were struggling mightily. Although he played in only the last five games of the year at center, including the Rose Bowl, Erving made such an impression that he was named to the All-ACC Second Team.

With Tampa Bay’s offensive line struggling mightily in 2014, spending a high second-round pick there on a player like Erving makes sense. The Bucs will go into 2015 with Demar Dotson penciled in at left tackle after he spent the final three games of the 2014 campaign there after switching from the right side. Having an experienced player like Erving on the roster to compete with Dotson could be a good thing.

Because he transitioned so well to center with his snaps and shotgun snaps, Erving could also challenge Evan Dietrich-Smith there, too, or at least provide a better insurance policy than Garrett Gilkey could. And if he moved inside so well to the center spot, perhaps Erving’s 6-foot-5, 320-pound frame could help him at guard, where the Bucs might need the most help.

Erving has long arms, strong hands, good movement skills and quick feet that let him get to the second level to block with ease. He is a physical player that began his Florida State career on the defensive line before switching to offense, and he still plays with that aggressive temperament.

The Moultrie, Ga. native’s skills will be on display at the Senior Bowl where he will stack up nicely against the likes of Pittsburgh’s T.J. Clemmings, who may be the best right tackle in the draft, LSU’s La’el Collins, Oregon’s Jake Fisher and Texas A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi and Colorado State’s Ty Sambrailo. Right now, Erving is considered to be a late first- or early second-round pick.

If he’s on the board near the end of the first round, the Buccaneers may be wise to move up from the second round and grab the most versatile lineman in the 2015 NFL Draft. If Winston is Tampa Bay’s first overall pick it would only make sense to draft a talented stud that has protected him and snapped to him.

FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• One last observation about Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. His worst game for the Seminoles came this year when he completed just 12-of-24 passes for 125 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions against Florida. How did he bounce back? By completing 21-of-30 (70 percent) passes for 309 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game, which FSU won 37-35.

The ability to shake off losses and bounce back is a necessary trait for successful NFL quarterbacks, and Winston seems to have that ability. How will he bounce back from loving his first – and last – collegiate game?

Yet despite having an often-publicized fumble against Oregon in the Rose Bowl, Winston didn’t have a bad game against the Ducks, completing 29-of-45 passes (64.4 percent) for 348 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“It was just an unfortunate play, man,” Winston said of his fumble, which was returned for a touchdown. “I never thought I would slip, throw the ball backwards – man, it’s just an unfortunate play. But that’s football. It was fourth down and I was trying to compete – compete my tail off and get us in a good situation.”

Winston was gracious after losing to Marcus Mariota and the Ducks, 59-20, in a game that featured five Seminoles turnovers, but still had an edgy, competitive swagger in the post-game press conference.

“You have to tip your hat to him because he won the game and led his team to victory,” Winston said. “That’s the most important part, but we played our tails off, too. This game could have gone either way. If everybody in this room wants to be real with themselves, this game could have gone either way. We turned the ball over a lot. We beat ourselves.

“It wasn’t like they were stopping us. Their offense was great. Their defense did great, but we were never stopped.”

• As you might have heard, former Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy is an unabashed fan of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Dungy recently told Dan Patrick that Mariota would be a great pro quarterback.

“Marcus Mariota is a fantastic player,” Dungy said. “He’s going to be a great pro. He can throw from the pocket. I watched him in practice. I watched him in training camp for three years when my son was at Oregon. Not only is he going to be a great quarterback, he’s going to be a great person – face of the franchise for whoever takes him. I think this is Aaron Rodgers in the waiting.”

Dungy was asked if he would draft the Heisman Trophy winner if he were the general manager of the Buccaneers.

“I’m taking Marcus Mariota in a heartbeat, and I’m excited to have him,” Dungy said.

No offense to Dungy, who has forgotten more football than I’ll ever know, but he’s not exactly an authority on quarterbacks based on who he had in Tampa Bay, and may not have won a Super Bowl if he didn’t inherit Peyton Manning when he went to Indianapolis. Dungy is one of the most high character figures in the NFL and will naturally gravitate towards a high-character quarterback like Mariota over a guy like Jameis Winston, who has gotten into his share of trouble at Florida State. I’m not surprised by his Mariota endorsement.

• Here are some PewterReport.com programming notes that you’ll want to pay attention to. On Sunday I’ll have a list of 10 players at the East-West Shrine Game that the Buccaneers may be targeting. Monday will see the debut of the first PewterReport.com 2015 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft, followed by our East-West Shrine practice coverage next week. Don’t miss a day’s worth of Bucs coverage on PewterReport.com!

• I would be very surprised if former Bucs defensive line coach – and Lovie Smith’s best friend – Rod Marinelli doesn’t join Tampa Bay’s staff as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2015. While Leslie Frazier is still under contract with the Bucs, Marinell’s contract is up after Dallas’ 2014 season concludes – which could be Sunday at Green Bay in the playoffs.

Frazier did an okay job as a defensive coordinator and the Bucs defense did improve down the stretch after a rough start. But Marinelli was Smith’s defensive coordinator in Chicago from 2010-12 and is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL. The fiery Marinelli, who helped develop Warren Sapp into a Pro Bowler and a Pro Football Hall of Famer, would be an upgrade for the Buccaneers if he could be convinced not to re-sign with Dallas. Interestingly enough, Marinelli suggested that Smith hire Joe Cullen as the Bucs defensive line coach after he worked with him in that capacity in Detroit.

• Buccaneers middle linebacker Mason Foster is slated for free agency, but there may be a chance he could return to Tampa Bay for a cheap, one-year deal. The team doesn’t necessarily see Foster as the long-term solution at the position, especially after an injury-filled 2014 campaign that saw the Washington product battle a separated shoulder and an Achilles strain. But the pickings are slim in free agency and the draft, and Foster is a decent player when healthy and knows the scheme.

While the Bucs like Danny Lansanah, who filled in for Foster for a few games last season, he’s a better fit as a strongside linebacker than he is a full-time middle linebacker. In other words, he’s not the answer for the Mike linebacker spot in 2015.

Perhaps if the Bucs can lure Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to Tampa Bay later this month he can influence Cowboys middle linebacker Rolando McClain to come with him. The 25-year old McClain, who will be an unrestricted free agent, was a former first-round pick by Oakland a few years ago, but got in trouble with the law and quit football in 2013 to get his life together.

“He’s got rare ability,” Marinelli told the Dallas Morning News. “He is really a terrific leader in his own way. Guys seem to rally around a guy like that, physical presence. He hits. He runs. He likes to practice. He practices hard. He leads by what he does.”

At 6-foot-4, 259 pounds, McClain is a beast of a linebacker in Marinelli’s Tampa 2 scheme, and has racked up 81 tackles, two interceptions, a sack and a forced fumble this season.

• Speaking of Tampa Bay linebackers, Lavonte David is entering his fourth season in the NFL, which means he is eligible to have his contract extended. It’s time for director of football administration Mike Greenberg and general manager Jason Licht to get to work on that this offseason and for Licht to take care of his fellow Cornhusker.

• For the record, I like the Bucs’ hiring of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. In his three years in Atlanta, the Falcons averaged 28.1 points per game on offense against the Buccaneers in compiling a 4-2 record against Tampa Bay in those six games. He’s made quarterbacks with decent talent like Andrew Walter and Rudy Carpenter productive at Arizona State, and he’s taken some very good quarterbacks like David Garrard, formerly of Jacksonville, and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan to new levels.

I don’t think the hiring of Koetter tips the Bucs’ hand in any way towards Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota or Florida State’s Jameis Winston. But I do know that Koetter has never run a spread offense before despite his background at Oregon under Mike Bellotti. The spread didn’t arrive at Oregon until Chip Kelly did in 2007.

Yes, Koetter, who has a background developing pocket passers, and Ducks coach Mark Helfrich are friends from coaching together at Boise State and Arizona State a decade ago, but what intel and inside scoop could Helfrich disclose with Koetter and the Bucs that they wouldn’t already know? Mariota is what he is. He’s athletic, smart, quiet, has high character and is proficient at running the Oregon offensive system. But is he ready for the NFL?

Helfrich might in fact tell the Bucs that he is, and they may believe him. Or that could come across to the Bucs as self-serving, too. Having Mariota drafted first overall would only strengthen Helfrich’s recruiting pitch to prospects interested in coming to Oregon.

Or since Koetter and Helfrich are so close, he might tell his mentor that Mariota’s transition to the NFL might not be so smooth and might take a few years because he didn’t play in a pro style offense and go through progressions in the pocket on a regular basis. With the stakes being higher in pro football and the patience of NFL owners and fans much thinner, and knowing that the Bucs need to win now, Helfrich might actually discourage Koetter and the Bucs from taking Mariota for that reason.

Helfrich may not want to put Koetter in a bind if he truly thinks Mariota won’t be an instant hit in the NFL. But that’s not what the Mariota-to-the-Buccaneers fans necessarily want to hear.

• Since this is the first SR’s Fab 5 of 2015 I’m going to spend the next 20 weeks revealing some behind-the-scenes encounters with Bucs players, coaches and front office members in each Friday edition to commemorate my 20th year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As you may know, the 2014 PewterReport.com Buccaneers Awards came out last week and one of the awards I’ve been handing out every year since 1998 is the John Lynch Gentleman’s Award for the Buccaneer that is the best with the media in terms of availability and information shared. But do you know the reason why it’s the only award named after a Tampa Bay player? It’s because Lynch was among the best in terms of being the most candid with the media.

Win or lose, great game or bad one, Lynch was always by his locker ready to answer questions from the press and the Bucs beat writers. He was as stand-up a guy as I’ve ever covered in my two decades worth of covering Tampa Bay and I gave him the first two Best Interview Awards in 1998 and 1999 back when Pewter Report was called Buccaneer Magazine. The reality is that he could have received it every year but I kept giving it to others and decided to name the award after him.

I think I officially named it after him following the 2003 season if I recall correctly. The moment that stood out to me was after the Panthers beat the Bucs, 27-24, in Carolina on November 9, 2003. Panthers receiver Ricky Proehl raced 66 yards for a touchdown down the left sidelines with cornerback Ronde Barber trailing him by a good five yards. Lynch joined the pursuit, too, but neither could catch the Panthers’ speedster.

After seeing the play live and once on instant replay, I wrote that Proehl beat Barber on the play (it looked like man coverage or maybe Cover 3 the way Barber was trailing Proehl and there was no All-22 Game Rewind on NFL.com at the time) in Pewter Report magazine that week and Lynch approached me in the locker room later that week. The Bucs strong safety told me he read my article, but that the Bucs were in Cover 2 defense and that he had bit on play-action and was really late getting over to his landmark in the zone defense. Barber saw Lynch was late and left his own landmark in Cover 2 to try to catch Proehl.

At first glance, it looked like Barber had gotten beat, but it was really Lynch and he wanted to own up to his own mistake and not have Barber catch any heat for that play. For Lynch, who was busy preparing for Tampa Bay’s next opponent, to take the time to find me in the locker room and volunteer that he messed up was something that has only happened once in my 20 years reporting on the Bucs. He wasn’t upset at all, and admitted that it was likely hard for myself or anyone to tell what type of coverage the team was in on that play. And that’s why Lynch is so deserving of the Gentleman’s Award.

Congrats to both Lynch and former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy for making the Pro Football Hall of Fame list of finalists again this year, and good luck.

Stay tuned next week as I reveal what had former Bucs quarterback Casey Weldon so irate that he nearly picked a fight with me in the middle of the Bucs open locker room session back in 1995. Good stuff.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Iabucfan
Iabucfan
6 years ago

Scott, good Fab5, as usual. You do make a compelling case for Winston. Like I posted before, talent-wise he is the clear first pick. But, his off field behavior has me concerned.
I will say this about Coach Dungy, wasn’t he the one the said he would take Tebow with in the first round? Wasn’t he the one that said he would take RGIII over Andrew Luck> Good coach, not a good scout.
Go Bucs! Let’s start winning!!!!!

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Iabucfan
6 years ago

Love tony for what he did for us bucs fan, but as an offensive talent evaluator , he’s terrible. He would take a team full of nice guys before winners. He was a great hc but not a very good talent evaluator in the offensive side of the ball.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
6 years ago

Oh oh pewter report, Jon gruden might chastise you for spewing facts. He might even resign his pewter report membership because you are a noles hypocrite.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

Facts are slighted for ones opinion, facts that Winston yells at coach on sidelines and was told he would be replaced in biggest game of yr, fact he was outplayed by Mariota in that game, fact Winston throws alot of picks, Winston telegraphs his throws by patting the ball, I can go on and on facts are scewed and slighted for ones opinion

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  Scott Reynolds
6 years ago

I think that’s the point SR. The same type of dynamic, threats and discipline you have to have with your kids is the same type of dynamic, threats and discipline you have to have with Winston. No chance the Glazers are up for that.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  Scott Reynolds
6 years ago

This just in cgmaster knows everything how this guy doesnt work for NFL Network is beyond me cause they could use him, ha

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  Scott Reynolds
6 years ago

Scott- its not that I thought Fisher would actually do it? The point is I never saw a coach have to say that to a qb in the biggest game of the year, do you think that would ever have to be said to Mariota

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

Cgmaster I have already proven you are a hypocrite

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

Personally Jon I don’t care what you’ve proven. Youve also proven you don’t know pro football. Just reaching for your sink and dunk qb. You say above Winston eyes his targets just shows you know nothing. Unlike mariotta he actually goes through reads. Mariotta is first read and run. But I’m not going to argue with you any more, it’s like taking to a wall. And you might want to start getting used to that idea of Winston as our qb, it’s a definite possibility.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

This just in cgmaster knows everything how this guy doesnt work for NFL Network is beyond me cause they could use him, ha

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Scott; at least you have a lot of guts to throw out stuff as positives that shouldn’t have happened in the first place if Winston was focused in most of his first half playing. How on earth can you ignore his pour playing in almost every game; do you really expect for him to make that kind of comebacks in the NFL? At one time I was a Winston guy and maybe my pro FSU overrode my common sense, but not anymore. This has nothing to do with his maturity and mostly it’s about his river boat gambling throws. If… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Horse
6 years ago

Horse I’m surprised at your conviction in mariotta, but you are entitled your opinion as well. My main problem is the system they run. Oregon qbs have been putting up mariotta type numbers for years. It doesn’t make him any different. Either way we get an upgrade and your opinion is well respected my friend. It all depends on what the bucs find in their backfround checks on Winston.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

Cgmaster is wrong again- No Oregon won a Hiesman trophy with Mariota numbers EVER, but is it the system in Oregon that produces qb’s or the sysytem in Fla St that produced two other qb’s in Manuel and Ponder? I don;t recall Deron Thomas or Dennis Dixon going in the first 3 rounds of draft but Manuel and Ponder sure in the hell did.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

You’ve just proven my point again with your twisting of my words. Oregon qbs don’t go number one because EVERYONE knows they can’t adjust to the pro game. The fact that ponder and ej were overdrafts has nothing to do with Winston. I’ve stated numerous times, which you unsurprisingly miss, is that ej and ponder were NEVER first round talents. They were 4th round at best and jimbo fisher said so himself. So I’m not exactly what point you are tying to make, which isn’t any different from every one of your other uninformed posts.

townsend3
townsend3
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

cgmaster, with that logic shouldn’t all the recent QB’s coming from Oregon be looked at as possible #1 overall picks? That’s obviously not the case, so there has to be some difference between Mariotta’s game and those who came before him. All we truly know about him is that his skill set does translate to a spread option. This doesn’t necessarily mean that his skill set does not translate to a pro style system. I don’t think the background check on Winston is going to be the most critical part of the draft decision as everyone knows about his off-field… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  townsend3
6 years ago

Workouts won’t prove anything. It’s guys throwing in shorts to their reciever a with scripted plays. Pro days mean nothing until live rounds are fired. And the only reason mariotta is getting that hype is because of chip jelly moving to the nfl and bringing the spread with him. It makes it more plausible to succeed for these spread qbs. The only way we’ll ever know who succeeds is when they both play week one. And one will be our new starter. And no I’m not attacking you. I have to say this every time now because some of our… Read more »

macabee
macabee
6 years ago

Not wanting to start a fight early this morning, but I agree with Scott’s analysis and recommendation. And so does every other football person, former QBs and media analysts that Winston is a ready-now NFL QB – Dungy being the exception. They are not all saying that they would draft Winston. They are saying he has the skills and football IQ that best translates to the NFL. Most agree that this decision is going to come down to the findings of the Bucs investigation of both athletes off the field. I admire and respect the opinions of those who disagree… Read more »

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
6 years ago

Scott you will be scolded by many for saying Winston should be the pick but I agree with you 100%. If the focus is truly on winning football games theres no debate especially with the OC we hired and what we have seen his offenses look like, the choice is clear as day now. I will be looking for my Winston jersey as soon as its ready and coming from a Gators fan thats says enough. Great Article!

JackinJersey
JackinJersey
6 years ago

Scott, I would like to commend you on your well researched and informative article. I can not disagree with your breakdown regarding the future Buccaneer QB situation. Winston is by far the NFL ready, stronger armed prospect. Marcus Mariota is definitely a project at the next level. Sorry JonGruden. Also, liked your John Lynch story.

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
6 years ago

Great article Scott,great info on your thoughts about Winston. I also agree that the right pick should be Winston as he is ready to start this year. Have no faith in Dungys opinion as he has been below average as a scout at best. We now have a OC that is a proven NFL OC. He likes to push the ball down field and we have a chance to get a QB by most scouts opinions that Winston is accurate in doing just that. If the Glazers are serious about winning they need to pick Winston and don’t look back!

ussoldier77
ussoldier77
6 years ago

I rarely post, and almost never on a SR FAB 5 (I rather just read), but this has to be one of the best I have ever read. Scott, you said exactly what needed to be said about Winston. for NFL purposes, he is the best prospect in this year’s draft. TB would be silly not to call his name first.

Everyone else needs to think back to when they were 20 years old and in college…

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  ussoldier77
6 years ago

@ussoldier77…I just thought back to being 20 in college…absolutely nothing about me, my life, my friends, what I did, or didn’t do, my interactions with authority, my priorities, my respect for the opposite sex, my respect for anyone…was anything remotely like Jameis WINSTON…seriously, does his life reflect yours?

VTBucs
VTBucs
6 years ago

I’m an FSU fan and Winston is money on the field. It’s just the off field stuff I worry about especially coming to Tampa. I hope the BUCs have a mentor in place like the Cowboys did with Bryant for awhile. If Winston can stay out of trouble, get rid of those mechanical issues which can be corrected through coaching then the BUCs will be in great shape for years to come. The million dollar question is if the Glazers are willing to gamble on Winston with the #1.

Tampafan8251
Tampafan8251
6 years ago

Let’s talk about his “off-field” issues…is it concerning with the rape allegations? absolutely, Big Ben had the same issue and was involved in a few cases, Winston has never been charged and in those situations you never know if the woman is out to get money or it indeed was the suspects intentions. Besides that and shouting words that a natural immatuture 20 year will do are things that come with maturuity and learning from your mistakes. This kid has NEVER had issues with drinking or drugs or being knonwn as a Party rock star as most called Manziel but… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  Tampafan8251
6 years ago

My recollection was that actually very few PR brethren wanted anything to do with Johnny Football…

Tampafan8251
Tampafan8251
6 years ago

Yes, Mariota has amazing stats in College and I would be fine if they drafted him even though I am a Winston fan first and I am a Buckeye fan not a FSU homer. Stats don’t mean anything when it comes to being successful at the next level, Geno Smith had 6 picks his senior year, hows that working out? Matt Ryan had 19 picks in his senior year at BC, don’t think Atlanta minds what they have at qb over there. When I watch Winston, I see a winner, a guy who LOVES the game and his team and… Read more »

buddah
buddah
6 years ago

Read the NY Times investigative report. The rape allegations are not over, not by a long shot. Winston said he knew the girl consented because she “groaned.” All other teammates refused to testify. I don’t want a misogynist on my team. He also has a serious weight problem. Is he talented–absolutely. Is he a sure bet–no such thing in the NFL draft. I don’t want him–pure and simple, and neither will the brothers, for good reasons. We went through this with our star cornerback.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  buddah
6 years ago

Not to mention he can’t see…seriously, have you seen how much he squints to try and see the sideline calling I the play….Mr MacGoo could see further than this guy….

Mark Cook
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

And Gerald McCoy does the same thing, hasn’t seemed to hurt either one.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  Mark Cook
6 years ago

Marl Cook-McCoy doesnt have to see 50 yds downfield like Winston two totally different positions, would you like your kicker to squint as he lines up for the long field goal? I thought so

pinkstob
pinkstob
6 years ago

Well it was a well written article, filled with every possible nugget of information centered around the desire to draft Winston. It had good information in Fab 1 through Fab 3 but I knew all of that already. None of it changes the fact there is a 0% chance the Glazers would allow the drafting of Winston in the 1st round. There was like a sentence or two on that topic and it’s the only one that matters. This is their team and they have a long history of demonstrating their stance on troublesome football players, none of whom were… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

BTW, I threw N. Foles in there because he had a lot of success playing for C. Kelly in the NFL last season and not for a moment did I ever think he was a good QB. I knew C. Kelly’s offense caught people by surprise last year and I knew Foles would come back to earth this season. I see Mariota and I see a great QB who will be successful in any NFL offense. It’s just going to take him longer for him to learn D. Koetter’s offense than say Carolina’s. He could step into the Panthers or… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

Mariota could also start in the Dolphins offense from Week 1. The run more read-option than Seattle!

macabee
macabee
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

I admire your support for your guy! Not everybody agrees with Scott and me about Mariota. But you shouldn’t be surprised at Scott’s position. Google “mariota or winston?” and see the responses. Pick any respected former QB, Moon, McNabb,Young, Farve, etc or any media analyst, Kiper, McShay,NFLN or ESPN Insider and they all pretty much say the same thing. Doesn’t mean they’re right, just means they represent the consensus. I’m in your camp about the Glazers, they’re the wild card in this debate. There is one former QB who would pick Mariota and like you he believes Mariota will take… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  macabee
6 years ago

Thanks for the link Mac. I agree on Flutie’s take on the two QB’s. But people love an interesting story. All these analysts are saying who they think will translate to the NFL better on the field. Some people just want to be right but my only concern is the Bucs winning the Super Bowl. Let me say this, once these two are drafted most people that follow the NFL are going to be waiting for Winston to get in trouble so that they can be proven right, just like with Manziel. With Mariota they will be waiting for him… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

You know how and why they could and might? Money. They want people in the seats and Winston instantly does that. I know you don’t like winstons off the field stuff and I respect that completely. But money talks and attendance is seriously dipping. Brining in mariotta to sit him for 8 games doesn’t change that one bit. You sign Winston and it’s instant money jersey sales and ticket sales. Those players you mentioned being kicked off of the team, talib, Blount, mike Williams,none ofbthem put people in the seats. It’s a shallow rumor and the glazers usually don’t like… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

Well Cgmaster27, you gave me what I asked for which is a logical reason why the Glazers would allow the drafting of Winston. Debatable, but logical since it is a fact that the Glazers have made decisions on the Bucs in the past when the sole motivation was making more money. So now let’s debate. I disagree that the Glazers care enough about what happens in the first 8 games of next season to sway getting the better QB over the next 10 years. That’s the way some investments work. But I don’t have any facts to back that up,… Read more »

jrwilson85
jrwilson85
6 years ago

Scott, you make a compelling argument for drafting Winston. And you are correct about being innocent until proven guilty in this country. On football playing ability on the field, I have always been in Winston’s corner as I think most Bucs fans have. Winston is also used to playing in the Florida climate which is another big adjustment for QBs from out west. I keep thinking of the great motion picture “Anatomy of a Murder” starring James Stewart as an honest lawyer who is convinced his client, an army LT, played by Ben Gazara is innocent and proceeds to prove… Read more »

jongruden
jongruden
6 years ago

Another Winston Propaganda article, Scott says it may be the system for Mariota but Ponder and Manuel had success from Fla St and were first round picks where as Dennis Dixon and Deron Thomas were drafted in later rounds. Lets also throw away the Florida game which he had 4 ints, and his imaturity on the field by yelling at his coach and was told he would be replaced in the biggest game of the yr. Lets not look at off the field concerns, lets not look how he was out played in the bowl game by Mariota, hell, lets… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

Jon did you wear your tin hat when you write this? You come with the same three things every time you talk about this. Him yelling at his coach, you must’ve missed to when Brady and his offensive coordinator almost came to blows. I know Brady sucks terribly in your eyes as well. Outplayed by mariotta, surely you’re joking . First of fsu’s defense was terrible this year and that’s a fact. Winston pick was off of his receivers hands, threw for almost 400 yards, and would’ve had a lot more if his freshman could hang onto the ball. Mariottas… Read more »

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

And Oregon’s defense is good? Hilarious, Winston has Rashad Green are u kidding me? MARIOTA HAS ZERO WRS THAT WILL BE top wrs in draft, yes, Mariota had one pick should have been two, so what he was a one man machine in second half, Winston took several sacks in red zone and the funniest blooper fumble all yr, lol yeah whatever dude

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

Well Jon you don’t have to have good receivers when you run screen plays in about half of your snaps. You can’t even argue that, but you will try.

vinnie
vinnie
6 years ago

Scott, great article and analysis of Winston the player. I have always respected you observations of talent and believe you are 100% correct in your evaluation of Winston. He is a winner, a leader on the field and possess game awareness of only the elite NFL quarterbacks. Leaving the off field issues aside for my comments (which have to be vetted over the next 3 months before Tamoa or any team would draft him) there is no question Winston is “built for the NFL” as Jimbo Fisher has observed. As a Gator, who watched many of his games I fell… Read more »

a-bomb
a-bomb
6 years ago

I am admittedly undecided about which quarterback would be better. My concern about Mariota is that he was not required to throw into the windows and with the anticipation that is required for success in the NFL. The system in Oregon created separation from the defensive backs, it doesn’t happen in the NFL where every db is as fast as your WR. With Winston, I am concerned both with his interceptions (decision making) and his play in the first half of games. At the same time, I can’t discount the fact that I saw Winston bring his team back. That… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  a-bomb
6 years ago

You can see it in the Stanford game….just when the Cardinal thought they were back in it, Mariota crushed them…

chipbuc
chipbuc
6 years ago

Scott, if you remember during the Dilfer talk he also said Winston could be the #1 pick in the whole draft type of talent, how prophetic!!!!!

Bucko40
Bucko40
6 years ago

From a personal and professional standpoint I can support a team that would associate itself with a accused rapist. Yes he wasn’t charged. In my profession, I’ve seen many more accused rapists walk than I’ve seen them prosecuted. I don’t care how talented a player is, I don’t want them on a team I support. It’s that cut and dry for this fan.

seat26
seat26
6 years ago

Great, lets draft another Thug, and with the overall 1st pick.

buddah
buddah
6 years ago

Agree with you Bucko. As a psychologist, I think it’s laughable and ludicrous to hear all the excuses made for Winston’s “immaturity.” This isn’t immaturity; it’s character. We know he shoplifted; we know he shouted misogynist phrases; we know a woman reported with cuts and bruises that she claimed were not produced consensually; we hear he may have shaved points in a game. These aren’t isolated incidents; they’re a pattern of bad behavior. You can see his sideline behavior as “energy” and “desire to win” or you interpret it as arrogance and inappropriate aggression. I don’t question his football talent,… Read more »

Noctus
Noctus
6 years ago

I – nor anyone else with any sense – is questioning Winston’s on-field talent. He IS more of a pro-ready QB than Mariota. Mariota may take work (but he WILL put it in, on this team or another), and may never be as good as Winston. Winston has shown a continued and aggressive pattern of bad judgment (to put it VERY mildly). Even if he turns out to be the best QB ever to enter the draft, if he’s suspended, he’s no good to the team. Tell me where in Winston’s past shows he definitely will mature and stop the… Read more »

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
6 years ago

What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? What about Ray Lewis, there was more evidence on his crime and he is on ESPN. NO evidence, no crime only a girl saying she was raped with no, NONE ,Zero evidence that she was raped. Anyone remember the DUKE LaCross team. Accused but found not guilty bye false accusations.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  KINDERRT
6 years ago

Don’t even get me started on Ray Lewis…

Bucko40
Bucko40
Reply to  KINDERRT
6 years ago

Hence why I don’t watch ESPN. In my experience if this was a trumped up charge/accusation then these individuals would’ve gone away a long time ago. If you have had a daughter sexually assaulted in college or had seen numerous defense attorney get their scumbag client off on charges you’d be singing a different tune.

mjmoody
mjmoody
6 years ago

Geez you guys were busy today. I don’t believe for a second either one of these guys should see the field next year. Pro-ready?? Luck is, and who else was? I know a whole bunch of guys that can’t wait for Winston to get to Tampa. They’re all Titans fans.

Buc-Up
Buc-Up
6 years ago

We don’t need to draft a QB because we already have McClown and our QB of the Future Glennon!

surferdudes
surferdudes
6 years ago

Agree with Fab 4. The rest, ehhh I’m with Dungy. Mariota reminds me also of Rogers, who by the way fell in the draft from the same concerns surrounding Mariota.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  surferdudes
6 years ago

Took the words straight out of my mouth….

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  surferdudes
6 years ago

The difference is that mariotta isn’t going to be able to sit behind a hall of famer for about 4 years. That’s a HUGE difference.

russmillerwy
russmillerwy
6 years ago

It’s gratifying to read such a thorough argument in favor of drafting Winston. Too often, football is covered the same way politicians and show business celebrities are covered. As if image was as important as ability, and therefore gossip should be enough to derail someone’s career because perhaps almost anyone can replace them. People like Peyton Manning and Doug Williams cannot be easily replaced because their abilities are rare. One cannot produce an Einstein by hiring someone else who had the same academic credentials and GPA, but a better haircut, cleaner accent, and more conventional personal life. Dungy may be… Read more »

macabee
macabee
Reply to  russmillerwy
6 years ago

Hey Russ,

Forgot to compliment you yesterday. I thought this was a good thought-provoking post.

Mark Cook
6 years ago

I can understand your concerns, and your questions are all valid. A lot of our feelings, mine especially come from our contacts throughout the league and in the college ranks. And we will get a ton of info on both guys at the Senior Bowl in Mobile in two weeks. I can’t speak for SR, only for myself but if the Bucs select Mariota I will not be angry or upset. Personally I prefer Winston because of the above mentioned contacts, including one who is as close to Winston as a football player that doesn’t share the same name if… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  Mark Cook
6 years ago

Oh come on – alright I respect your opinion, but you literally posted this response at the same time I asked for you to do the rebuttal to Scott’s article….who’s going to write the rebuttal?

Mark Cook
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Why would I write a rebuttal to something I agree with?

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  Mark Cook
6 years ago

I was actually hoping that someone at PR – because it is hopefully a journal seeking to give Bucs fans the full picture (and has often proclaimed to be unbiased) – would tell the other side (I.e. Mariota). If that’s not you (as the second in seniority) then fine, but will someone give us the same analysis of the other side?

Mark Cook
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

I see what you are saying and that makes sense. I will continue to look for and find posts from others that tout both guys as well as ones that will point out flaws. I think it is important to not just one is my guy from here until April 30. As of now, and based on the info I know, Winston would be my choice and obviously SR’s as well. But if new information is gathered, which we will be digging for over the next two weeks at the All star game practices, then we will look at it… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Okay Scott – fair enough….now I hope in PR fashion we’ll be reading Mark’s rebuttal on why Mariota is the better choice….maybe tomorrow Mark?

jongruden
jongruden
6 years ago

Does Russel Wilson run a “pro style” offense? just wandering cause why does everyone think we need to have a Peyton Manning style of offense is beyond me, we should run the syle of offense that suits the skill level of that qb. Can R Wilson succed in a “pro style” offense? probably not as he likes to use read option to misdirect the defense and he rolls out of the pocket most of the time to make a play why can’t this same type of offense be run with Mariota?

Mark Cook
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

He can’t run a pro style offense? Like the one he ran at Nc. State and Wisconsin? Certainly the Seahawks adapted some nuances of a spread offense, but it is far from what is done at Oregon.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  Mark Cook
6 years ago

Mark Cook- Again you take me back to college, when I am refering to the NFL, my question again since it went by you the first time is WHY CAN’T MARIOTA BE SUCCESFUL IN A SEATTLE TYPE OF OFFENSE? Seattle runs the read option which allows Wilson to use his athleticism to move out of pocket and either make a play with his arm or take off running.

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

MC, jongruden has a point here. I don’t see any reason Mariota couldn’t step into Seattle, Carolina, Miami or San Francisco’s offenses and be ready to play Week 1. Denver or NY Giants offenses are the ones I think would take until Week 8. I’d like to hear you’re response to the Seattle question MC.

Mark Cook
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

Just because a QB takes a snap from the shotgun and occasionally pulls it and runs does not make a it a true spread or option offense. Hell against New Orleans Josh McCown from the shotgun pretended he pulled the ball from the running back and faked his run outside the left tackle. There is one offense that compares to Oregon and that is the one in Philly. Carolina and San Fran aren’t close. Could he step in and run those Day 1? Im not sure, their current ones aren’t exactly blowing the doors off. And again they are nowhere… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

Pinkstob my freind, those teams use a little spread option to keep teams off balance but in no way is it anything like Oregon. How many screens does Russel throw? because that is half of theOregon playbook. Russel Wilson takes snaps from center and reads defenses, all of which mariotta has never done. He will literally have to be taught 3,5, and 7 step drops. Do your want a qb who has to be taught those things? I don’t, but I’m a homer so there’s that.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

Again Kim , you are proving me right by shown flour complete lack of nfl knowledge. Those teams don’t run ANYTHiNG close to Oregon. You think because they run the occasional read option that they run the Oregon offense. Get a clue already, but I know ever person that wants Winston is bias in your mind. So all of the analysts that say we should take him at one including, mcshay, Greg cosell, rob rang, Mel kipper, and sports illustrated are all homers. Mark eluded to wilsons college years BECSAUSE HE RAN s PRO OFFENSE! Gosh you’re dense, but don’t… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

MC and Cgmaster27 thanks for the feedback. I need to point out that C. Newton never took a snap from center at Auburn, started week 1 and threw for 400 yards in his 1st two games. Tannehill and Kaepernick didn’t start week 1 but all never took 3, 5 and 7 step drops from center. It’s not unprecedented. Mariota is certainly a passer than these guys.

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

Some of the responses seem more like masked racism and less about football… The NFL is about winning and profit and fans and organizations know it. doesn’t matter if it’s pretty or ugly- it’s wins that define franchises- and winning franchises make money… i really don’t care which of these guys comes to Tampa as long as it translates into wins- because this franchise sucks horribly in that department and has for over a decade.Be it squeaky clean Mariota or the media villain Winston- I just want to watch a damn team that wins! Nobody goes into work on Mondays… Read more »

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Mark Cook; I talked to a friend in Tallahassee for 30 years that’s an avid FSU supporter and backs it up with his donations and this is what he said; Winston is absolutely the best QB FSU has ever had. I was quite surprised because I thought our other two Heisman QB’s were better. He said the problem this past year was due to the offensive line not being as good as they thought and young receivers. He didn’t see what I saw pertaining to Winston’s set backs compared to what he did when we won the Heisman. So like… Read more »

Mark Cook
Reply to  Horse
6 years ago

I for sure think he is best of the three Horse. Best ever at FSU. Now if he only was as well behaved as the other two lol

macabee
macabee
6 years ago

We shouldn’t get too excited about the Bucs pick for QB now. These guys are going to be scrubbed up and down many times over before the draft. Let’s not forget that Winston and Mariota are going to have to perform like show ponies at the combine and at their pro days – all televised so in time we will all see who has the best NFL skills. Last year at this time Teddy Bridgewater was all the rage until he had to make the throws. Blake Bortles was coming on in a big way and earned a high pick… Read more »

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
6 years ago

Sr., I’m really disappointed in this. You and mark build a case around biased fsU sources. You ignore the character issues which you cannot. Chris Landry has it right. The risk with him is too high. Frankly, I’m concerned that with cook on the staff you’ve now unwittingly become homers. A lot, not all of the arguments you made for Winston would and could have been made for Tebow. This is a Johnny football type discussion. I’m very happy to take Winston at 6 or lower but NO way #1 overall. Really disappointed in your guys. This is article is… Read more »

Mark Cook
Reply to  Bucnut2
6 years ago

Five years with Pewter Report, 35 players in the NFL from FSU and now I am a homer? Makes sense.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  Mark Cook
6 years ago

Considering Scott also had us taking two FSU players in the first two rounds maybe we can get Rashad Green in the third and make it a FSU trifecta

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  Bucnut2
6 years ago

Bucnut2- The question is would any of the FSU Fans or PR clamor for Winston if he played at say USC? The answer would be NO. Do I think the two qb’s are close in talent yes but what seperates them is the home town bias and thats a fact.

Mark Cook
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

Riiight… Just like we clamored for Ponder, Manuel, Rhodes, Benjamin, D. Freeman and on and on. Yeah Derek Carr played at FSU last year, I forgot. And Aaron Donald also. You know the two guys we mocked last year.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Bucnut2
6 years ago

Actually I see plenty of facts on there. The fact that he likes fsu means he has a much better grasp of what went on behind the scenes than the rest of us. What’s the difference between 1 and 6? Absolutely nothing. And it’s not a Johnny football discussion as he came from a speed offense, the same style of spread mariotta works in. And we all saw how well Johnny did in his first game.

jjtixs
jjtixs
6 years ago

WINSTON IS TO STUPID.ANOTHER JAMARCUS RUSSELL VINCE YOUNG…….. JUST CAUSE HE IS ATHLTIC.HIS I Q. IS WAY TO LOW!!! CAN U SAY JOSH FREEMAN!! BUST!!!!!!!

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jjtixs
6 years ago

That makes no sense and capitalizing your words doesn’t make them any more impactful. Winston isn’t even close to freeman, freeman had no talent and a shit work ethic, two things Winston doesn’t, so I’m not sure the comparison. Freeman has no accuracy and to call Winston dumb makes you look dumb. Do you know the kid? Al I know is that he was academic al Acc both years at fsu and was accepted Stanford as well. Could you get into Stanford?

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

Getting late to this dance due to a computer problem. A lot of good thoughtful comments and some who seem like they still have some maturity issues of their own. I really enjoyed the article and don’t at all consider it to be “homerism” simply because the sources were from people closest to the situation. That doesn’t mean they are biased. It might mean they have more “dirt” to share. Perception vs reality. From the first time I saw Winston on the field as a 19 year old red-shirt freshman I was impressed with his “it” factor and obvious NFL… Read more »

surferdudes
surferdudes
6 years ago

Scu, an early riser, man after my own heart. One should see the sun rise, and set everyday. Winston looks like he’s about 30 years old, that’s why he looks NFL ready. Really, he not only peaked physically, he looked like an old player at times this year. The play where he fell over backwards losing the ball, his legs gave out, or he’s just a bumbling fool. Since Fisher Q.B.’s have struggled at the NFL level, that’s right struggled. Coming from that system shouldn’t be an advantage. Mariota on the other hand looks spry in comparison, and clearly has… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  surferdudes
6 years ago

Ok surfer saying he looks old has zero merit here, not sure where you got that. His foot slipped as he was trying to make a play, not sure how you missed that in the thirty replays. And people need to get over former fsu qbs struggling in the pros, they have nothing to do with Winston. If you people think that ej, Russell, and ponder were anything near Winston , your reaching greatly. And Tampa needs a leader, I’m tired of all do the quite nice guys on this team. this team is soft

shuster
shuster
6 years ago

There is absolutely no debate among the experts: Jameis Winston is the better QB on the field and if you ignore the off field issues he should be #1. But how the hell can you ignore the off field issues? And do you really think giving him $10 million pocket money is going to help the situation? There is at least a 50/50 chance this kid parties himself right out of the league.

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Now I have another 35 year old attorney friend who graduated from FSU and Florida Law School and is an avid Gator. He has said the same thing I said when I also talked to him yesterday concerning Baseball which screwed up his passing technique and he should be at a camp now to correct what he has done this past year. He believes it will get corrected and we’ll see the Jamis Winston when who won the Heisman. As a retired attorney he has read all the Winston legal papers on the so called misbehavior and sees it as… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Horse
6 years ago

Watch out horse your speaking the truth ,Jon gruden is going to call you a homer.

matador
matador
6 years ago

I’ve generally been critical of PR for a variety of reasons, but I thought this was a good article, providing a lot of info I didn’t already know. I’ve already admitted that I don’t have enough info or insight to know which of these two will succeed in the NFL, and would add there’s a chance the answer is neither – Winston due to character and temperament, Mariota due to the need for his game to evolve. Remember how many QBs enter the draft each yr and how few elite QBs there are. Plus then you have situations like Wilson,… Read more »

e
e
6 years ago

There seems to be a lot of people that don’t like the idea idea of picking Winston basically because he’s a jerk. With that logic, then we shouldn’t draft a QB at all because Josh McCown is a really nice guy. All of the usual QBs suspects are in the playoffs again this year. All superb pocket passers. Some can move if they have to… and there are a bunch of couch warmers this year; RGIII, Vick, Kapernick, Manziel… and they have one thing in common. They are not pocket passers. In fact, I ‘m having a hard time thinking… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  e
6 years ago

Nice comment e that officially makes you a noles homer. Welcome to the group.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

CGmaster- You should be a lawyer for Winston cause everytime someone doesn’t agree with drafting Winston you charge on here like Drew Rosenhaus trying to defend Terrel Owens its disgusting

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

No what’s disgusting is you’re judgment of someone you know nothing about. And I know you have no point when no you just lead to name calling. Meaning you’re clueless as I thought.

e
e
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

Actually a ‘Canes fan and Winston drove me crazy.

surgeandsettle
surgeandsettle
Reply to  e
6 years ago

I think most detractors are butt-hurt gata fans

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
6 years ago

And the funny part is I still hear some people say mariotta has a higher ceiling. Winston is this good playing baseball half of the year. Imagine how good he can be just focusing on football 365 days a year. Go noles!

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

Again if you think all these FSU Fans and Florida writers would still clamor for Winston if he had played for USC your full of S**t

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

Glad to see that you can speak for the rest of us. I think you’re full of s*** saying your an Arizona st fan. Just come out and tell us you’re an Oregon fan steady.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

ask scubog he has known me for 8 yrs

jrwilson85
jrwilson85
6 years ago

This Winston debate has generated more comment than anything I can remember. It’s kind of like the Bucs have to play the part of Blues legend Robert Johnson by going to the crossroads and making a deal with the devil. A lot of Bucs fans would pay that price for a winner!!!!!

martinii
martinii
6 years ago

What a great problem to have, especially in an offseason following the dreadful 2014 disaster. Great article Scott and I have really enjoyed the comments and discussions above. This site has for the most part knowledgeable and well mannered participants. I really don’t like the haters on other sites. I was a Mariota supporter, but I admitt you detailed Winston profile has me thinking. As many have stated above we need to win and we must use our first pick with that single objective in mind. We cannot lose sight that this team needs several other pieces, especially in the… Read more »

jongruden
jongruden
6 years ago

Its the equivalent of Oregon having a NFL franchise and they have the #1 pick and you think all the Duck fans are being objective in their support for Mariota, lol wow you guys crack me up. from here on out I will not put any validity to any opinion coming from a Florida writer esp FSU fan from here on out. I want objective non bias opinions thats why I will listen to Macabee he is for Winston but at least he doesn’t wear the Maroon and gold while saying it. CGMaster I will not respond to you from… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

Your problem is you are so enamored with mariotta, that anyone that supports Winston is an automatic homer to you. You want non biased opinions, look at ANY scout and they echo the same things we do. But I’m sure they are all Nole homers too. And please do stop responding to my posts, I’ve been trying to ignore you for weeks and you keep attacking my posts. I don’t seem to have a problem debating with anyone in here but you. So please move on, I won’t lose sleep over it. And one final thought since you hate Winston… Read more »

kram0789
kram0789
6 years ago

Other than QB, the OL was the worst unit on the team and a strong case can be made for being the worst unit. We need to add two, maybe even three starters to this group. The rub is I do not trust the Bucs to be able to do this effectively. Last year they added via free agency and draft 16 players that were suppose to have an impact. They hit on 2. Yes they were 2-14 on personnel decisions. That is so far below acceptable that there isn’t even a grade for that amount of ineptness. Given their… Read more »

76Buc
76Buc
6 years ago

Scott, L & L and the Glazers may call the draft shots, but they are out of their minds if they don’t let the OC have input.

LDavid54
LDavid54
6 years ago

The correct answer is neither Mariota or Winston should be drafted in the first half of the 1st round. To suggest drafting Winston 1st overall is laughable. Does he have the physical tools to succeed in the nfl? Absolutely. However I think we all can agree that his behavior off the field is enough of a concern to exclude him from the 1st overall pick. Winston reminds me of a mix between Jamarcus Russell and Vince young. Both of whom were talented but lacked an intangible essential to be a successful nfl qb – mental toughness. If we draft Winston… Read more »

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Lets calm down here and throttle it back some. We have 109-110 days so lets remain civil. I surely don’t have a clue who is the best QB to pick or if we do go another way who do we draft. pewter report doesn’t know either; they’re just giving you their opinion and will throw data in there to support that position. Lets try baby steps here? Monday night watch Mariota carefully; check out who is coming out early that we might like; Watch the Combine; and who doesn’t behave these next 19 plus days. When it is said and… Read more »

artpac
artpac
6 years ago

Here is the thing, and as one of the “undecideds” in the room I will try to show why I am undecided. 1. Why draft Mariotta—He is fast, and he is a leader and he is smart. Why not draft Mariotta?-his upside is Russell Wilson. Last I checked we have not Richard Sherman, no Earl Thomas, no Marshawn Lynch. I like Russell Wilson. He is really good. But I don’t see him ever developing into a top 5 QB. 2. Why Draft Winston? I think he is the 2nd best prospect after Luck since Peyton. He is really good, and… Read more »