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Bucs’ Jameis Winston reminds fans that rookie quarterbacks throw picks

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One of the knocks on Bucs’ quarterback Jameis Winston during his final season at Florida State was that he was interception-prone.

Lately, he reminded everyone.

Three of Winston’s first five passes were intercepted in a blitz period, which brings to mind that rookies often struggle to throw the ball to right-colored jerseys.

“Our goal is to get Jameis ready,” Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. “We’re doing a lot of things that we normally don’t do this early, too, to try and give him as many looks as we possibly can. And it was the one blitz period where he had his most trouble and that’s how it should be for a young quarterback.

“We’re not inventing defense or anything like that with what we’re doing on the other side. Jameis will tell you on some of those plays he just can’t make, but it’s part of the process of becoming a good quarterback in the league to go through some days like this. Keep in mind there are some scholarship players on the other side that we feel pretty good about. With my glass being half full, I’m pretty fired up about those takeaways we got on the defensive side.”

Winston felt he did well in the blitz period.

So far, the identifying aspect to Winston is that he says the right things, and the right ways. Always, however, he doesn’t make the right play. Despite all the hype, Winston is still a rookie.

“You have to get better every single day,” he said. “No one is perfect and that’s the thing about football. You have to find your corrections and make adjustments.

“You have to learn every day. You just don’t learn on certain things. You learn every day. Even good plays you learn. One area of my game that I think I have been good at is against blitz. It’s just new. You are going to make some mistakes. The thing is to bounce back and to keep moving forward.”

Three days of practice, and pretty much most of the focus has been on Winston. And why not? He is the No. 1 draft pick, the quarterback, and as such, has the most potential to impact the win-loss record.

“We talk about Jameis,” said Smith. “He needs to go through all of this. We are giving him different looks every day. We’re asking him to do different plays every day and he is bouncing back. You saw the Ronda Rousey fight. Most of those fights, both (fighters), you are going to get hit. You’ll hit some and you’re going to get hit some. That’s how it goes. It’s a quarterback. That’s life.”

Winston at least is aiming high. He has been studying film of Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning to learn.

“One thing about Peyton Manning is he is very effective and he is very consistent. Anytime I can be able to watch a prolific quarterback as he is, it means a lot to me. It helps me actually view what greatness is.

“I’m studying everything. I’m studying everything, whether it is tendencies or right now we’re preparing against our defense. Obviously game preparation will be different. I’m just trying to get better every day and I’m out here enjoying myself. I’m having fun and trying to compete the best I possibly can.”

His face is the middle of the marketing campaign. His arm is the centerpiece of the team’s hope.

But Jameis Winston stopped short of calling the Bucs “his team.”

“No sir, I don’t believe it’s my team. It’s our team,” Winston said Tuesday. “It’s my role to play quarterback for this team right now. We have some great leaders and we have some great guys surrounding me. That’s the only individual part that I can play. I play quarterback right now, but we have a great team. This is a ‘we’ team, not a ‘my’ team.”

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.

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