Bucs’ coach Lovie Smith said performance wouldn’t make him pull Jameis Winston

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Through the first quarter of the season, Lovie Smith sees good things. Really, he does.

Quarterback Jameis Winston is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with seven, and his quarterback rating is only 71.2. But Smith still speaks with calm when he talks about Winston.

“You say the same thing about most picks,” Smith said. “It’s not a good decision on throwing the football. It’s as simple as that. [He] would like to have some of those back. We had some options, just some tough decisions that were made yesterday.

““This was the problem yesterday. No, we do not see it (as on ongoing problem). You can’t bring all that in. Yesterday we made some decisions that we would like to have over. Jameis hadn’t been in a situation where wet balls were involved. There were a lot of circumstances that you could probably say contributed to it a little bit, but no, I’m talking about yesterday’s game we turned the football over too many times and we don’t see that as a constant problem going forward.”

Winston played very well against New Orleans, and well in spots against Houston. But Sunday’s game was his worst.

“We made some bad decisions at the beginning of the game [in] the two games we’ve had here, but I just don’t think that will continue,” Smith said. “It’s part of the process, it’s as simple as that. Jameis is a good football player. It’s just not all on Jameis, believe me. We say those turnovers [are to blame] and they had a lot to do with it, but there are other areas we need to improve also and we will.”

Smith said the wet day contributed toward Winston’s problems.

“It was a wet day yesterday, so you have to take that [into consideration]. There were tough conditions yesterday, so that’s not defining who Jameis is, yesterday. There were tough circumstances. Their quarterback fumbled the ball first snap of the second half. There were a lot of things that came into play. We don’t want to overreact, but at the same time we are reacting to a bad performance that we had yesterday.”

Smith would not blame the wet conditions for Winston’s first interception.

“It’s just not like we have plays designed and you’re just here. If you don’t want to throw it there, you have another easy option. We had an easier option on that.”

No, Smith said a bad performance would not make him bring in another quarterback.

“It doesn’t,” Smith said. “Jameis had a tough day yesterday. When you have a quarterback that’s going through a tough situation you try to run the football, get your running game going, which we were able to do. Maybe lean on it a little bit more, but when you get behind you can’t do that either. Jameis will be fine. [It was a] tough day at the office yesterday. He’ll bounce back this week.”

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 garysheltonsports@gmail.com.