After a relaxing week off, having the chance to go back to Bessemer, Alabama, and watch his nine-year old brother score four touchdowns in his first football game, Jameis Winston is back at One Buc focused on leading a winner.
“This team is so talented, so we’re just trying to do everything we can do to make winning a habit around here, get on some type of role,” Winston said Wednesday. “That’s a good feeling and we want to feel like that more often.”
Winston had his lightest workload last Monday, completing 18-of-30 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown in the 17-14 victory over the Panthers. Part of that, as offensive coordinator Todd Monken said, was because the Bucs were finally running the ball effectively. Another reason for Winston’s more conservative play, Monken said, was due to never needing to chase points during a tied or one-score contest.
Winston said he’ll take a win any way they have to get it.
“No matter what the circumstance is, it doesn’t matter,” Winston said. “If I threw one pass … every victory is a huge win to me. I cherish those.”
The most important stat was zero: the amount of interceptions Winston threw Monday night. After throwing eight picks in the first four weeks – second in the league behind Jets’ Ryan Fitzpatrick – the Bucs young quarterback made it a point of emphasis to protect the football.
“That was the main thing,” Winston said of zero picks being the best part of his game in Carolina. “That’s what I set my mind to and if you put your mind to it you can do it.”
After throwing seven interceptions in his first five games last season, Winston made a “conscience choice,” as coach Dirk Koetter said, to limit the turnovers. He threw eight over the next 12 games, with five interception-free performances.