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Bucs begin off-season work with slimmer Jameis Winston

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There are new coaches. New players. New schemes. Heck, even the quarterback has a new waistline.

Let’s hope there will be new results.

The Tampa Bay Bucs started their first off-season program under new head coach Dirk Koetter Monday, beginning with two weeks of lifting and conditioning. Another eight weeks are to follow for the Bucs.

It’s a long road,’’ Koetter said. “Everybody’s excited. The coaches are happy that (the players are back).

“I didn’t want to bombard them with too much heavy stuff today, mostly just an outline of what the next 10 weeks are going to be like.’’

With Koetter still handling the offense, you might think the most improvement should come from the defense and special teams. Koetter, despite a team record 6,014 yards last year, says the offense has to get better, too.

“We’re by no means where we need to be on offense,’’ Koetter said. “When you win six football games, you’ve got a lot of stuff (you need to improve on). We have score more points, No. 1.’’

Perhaps that will be better with second-year quarterback Jameis Winston, who said his weight is down to 230 and falling. Winston said he wants to get better in every phase of his game, but he admitted deep balls are a priority.

“You know, I don’t let (receivers) go by himself,” Winston said. “He’ll do a 50-yard route, and I will sprint 50 yards downfield. When I’m out there with the guys I don’t let them do all the running because that’s the only excuse a receiver or tight end can have. ‘Well, you’re not out here running” And I say, ‘OK, I’m going to show you. I’m going to do the same running you’re doing so we can’t have any excuse.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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