Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow figures to be a big part of offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski's system this year, but he has more work to do in order to live up to the expectations that came with being acquired in a trade with Cleveland and signed to a six-year, $36 million contract earlier this offseason.
While Winslow, 26, has been a Buccaneer since late-February, he still is digesting Jagodzinski's playbook.
"I'm just trying to learn the offense, it'll come," said Winslow. "It's a wide zone scheme offense and go with the play-action off of that. It's not a complicated offense and I really like it, a lot of guys like it so we're excited."
Learning Tampa Bay's offense isn't something the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Winslow is too worried about. The heat and humidity that comes with playing football in Florida is, however, a concern, and something Winslow is attempting to get acclimated to since he hasn't played football or trained in Florida since his playing days at Miami.
Getting used to the heat will come in time, and training camp certainly will help Winslow in that regard. The weather conditions aren't exactly ideal in the Tampa Bay area this time of year, but Winslow knows the Bucs will reap the benefits of those hot and humid conditions vs. regular season opponents at Raymond James Stadium.
"I haven't been there in six years so it's a rude awakening, but I'm getting use to it," said Winslow. "When I was at Miami and the fourth quarter came around and the team would die and that's when we'd beat them out, but right now I'm dying so I just have to get use to it."
Bucs head coach Raheem Morris has been pleased with what he's seen from Winslow so far, but acknowledges that the former Pro Bowl tight end can — and needs to be — in better shape.
"He's getting used to running around in the pads," said Morris. "He's a phenomenal athlete. He's shown some toughness in the run game. I saw him try to get at [linebacker] Quincy Black last night. That was a nice little battle going there. He's getting used to this weather. I see his mouth open a little bit. I see an athlete that was running around in shorts and now is getting tired in the pads. That's good. We have to embrace that. He has to get back to his [Miami Hurricane] playing form when he was playing in the [heat] all the time. He went up there to Cleveland and got fat. Not literally, but he got fat."
Morris is running a tough training camp with full pads, but the youngest head coach in the NFL has earned the respect of many of his players, including Winslow.
"I love him. I'll run through a wall for that guy," Winslow said of Morris. "He's everything you could ask for in a coach. He's awesome. He's a no nonsense kind of guy. He's a real cool guy, but there's a fine line. Just don't disrespect him and come to work. He'll call you right out. Oh, yeah I totally respect that."