For rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, the next hurdle is to control his emotions.
Winston, an impact player in his first season with the Bucs with 20 touchdown passes and 3,422 yards through the air, is one of the most frequently mentioned players for Rookie of the Year. Half of his six wins have come via a fourth-quarter comeback or a game-winning drive.
Against the Rams, however, Winston was obviously amped-up until his emotions boiled over.
“I apologized to the team, because it’s not really emotion and passion. That has nothing to do with the play,” Winston said. “It’s just when you are doing that, it takes away from the actual game plan and I have to stop that. I can’t be arguing with the referees and Dirk (Koetter) calling the play. That’s something that I will learn, but that game was just a big game, I didn’t want anybody to take away from us and that’s all.”
Winston said he hopes the Bucs accept his personality:
“I would hope so just because I love them and hopefully their love for me is showing. I would go to war for any one of them and hopefully they would go to war for me. When you’re being yourself, people they follow that. One thing I learned about a great leader – a great leader creates great leaders, not just great followers. I definitely have a long way to go to get everybody to have the same mentality or to be able to follow me.”
Offensive coordinator Koetter said Winston needs to tone it down.
“I think passion is great. I think passion by any player is fantastic, but whatever emotion, and passion being one of those, that a player has on display, as long as it’s not affecting his play or the play or the other players I think it’s great,” Koetter said. “One thing about Jameis is I don’t think Jameis has ever faked emotion. I think whatever you see from Jameis, from what I’ve seen, has always been real. I do think though that sometimes guys can get out of control emotional. They can let their emotions get away from them a little bit.
“Now is that emotion or is that passion? You get into big words that I don’t maybe know the definition of, but I thought there were times in that game where Jameis got a little bit out of control. The thing I talked to Jameis about is Jameis is the guy that should be keeping his cool no matter what happens on the field. I thought there were a few times that we had more than just one player, more than just Jameis too worried about the officials and not worried enough about playing or too worried about talking to the opponents and not worrying about playing. None of that is going to help us win.”
Does Winston affect teammates negatively?
“It affects me negatively when I see him arguing with people,” Koetter said. “Is that a good example? It p—-s me off and then I’m cussing at him on the headset. In fact the two backup quarterbacks reminded me of a play in the game where I accidentally had the button on and they could hear me cussing at [Winston]. I guess that’s a good example. Jameis is the leader of our offensive football team.
“The quarterback should be in complete control at all times. He’s the guy that relays the information. He knows the play before everybody else, so everybody else is waiting for the information. ‘Hey, what are we doing?’ And oh by the way, the clock is running. The quarterback’s job is to get the information from the sideline to the other players and then a lot of times that stuff changes at the line of scrimmage – we’re redirecting the protection, we’re changing the blocking scheme, we’re audibling to another play, we’re in no-huddle, so there’s not five seconds to waste arguing with the referee or getting in a wrestling match with the D-linemen. There’s just no place for that.”
Koetter said that his offense needs to be ready when the game begins.
“We got to get off to a faster start,” Koetter said. “The last two games, we’ve run the ball OK to start the game, we’re moving the chains, but when I say get off to a faster start; moving the ball, moving the chains, getting first downs, that doesn’t get you points on the scoreboard. We’ve got to finish drives.
“We’ve been playing from behind and from an offensive standpoint we have to take that on ourselves. ‘Hey, get off to a fast start. Let’s get the lead and play with the lead.’ Come out of the gates and get points on the board sooner. That’s one thing we definitely need to get better at. The other thing is ever since someone in here pointed out how good we were doing on third down and jinxed us, the last two weeks, we’ve been less than stellar on third down – three for 10 last week. How do you get 30 first downs and only go three for 10 on third down? We’ve got to do a better job on third down. Two games ago that really hurt us in being able to run more plays. That wasn’t a problem against the Rams, but still. The bottom line is, on all these stats we talk about in here, the bottom line is get more points than the other team and we haven’t done that.”
The Bucs had two players make the Pro Bowl, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and running back Doug Martin. McCoy said he would give up his selection in order to let teammate Lavonte David go, however.
“It’s terrible what’s happening to Lavonte right now. He’s easily the best at what he does,” McCoy said. “He had a million tackles, three picks, one for a touchdown, forced fumbles, two sacks – he’s been the most dominant at his position, probably since 2013.
“This has got to stop. It’s very unfair what’s happening to him. Seriously, if I could trade places with him, I would. He more than deserves to be in the Pro Bowl. I believe he’ll be an All-Pro, but what’s happening to him is unfair. You can quote me on that, I don’t care what they say about it, that’s how I feel. He’s the best. He got played and he should be in there, bottom line.”
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier thinks David should have made it, too.
“I’m very disappointed,” Frazier said. “Lavonte, I don’t know if there is another outside linebacker playing better, if you define what a true linebacker is. I’m a little mixed on how they define the linebacker position today. So many of the guys who are deemed outside linebackers are really rush ends. He’s a pure outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme which is different from a 3-4.
“It is a snub. He’s had a Pro Bowl year and should be recognized for that. For him to be an alternate at the level that he is an alternate, you would think I’m a little biased because I work with him every day, but even as a fan, when you take a look at what he’s accomplished he’s had a Pro Bowl-worthy season but the system, in my opinion, is why he’s not a first-team Pro Bowler. His play and his production dictates that he should be a Pro Bowler without question, but the system, I hope they take a look at it and maybe come up with some clarity on what a true outside backer is and how they are defining an outside linebacker.”
The Bucs wind up their home season 1 p.m. Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Raymond James Stadium.