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Bucs think Jameis Winston can be a better player his second year

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The coaches of the Tampa Bay Bucs seem to agree on two things.

Jameis Winston was good last year. He has to be better this year.

Winston, already the acknowledged leader of the Bucs, faces the pressure of improving the Bucs’ record from six wins. He will be expected to improve as a player.

That’s been the beauty of having him here for a year now,” said quarterback coach Mike Bajakian. “When he got here last year and for much of the early process, it was dedicating so much of our time to learning the offense, learning the procedure and being able to manage the offense. Now we’re at a point where he’s proficient enough in the offense that we can focus even more on the details of his technique, so everything from his footwork to his release, to again, accuracy.

“Little things like that are things that we’ve emphasized – moving in the pocket. All those little details that go into playing the position are now a matter of attention for us and he’s done a good job of focusing on that.”

Winston, the No. 1 draft pick a year ago, has lost some weight. He seems to be in much better shape.

“Everything in this league is about durability and being able to play as many snaps as possible,” Bajakian said. “Last year we were fortunate he could take every snap, but by being in better physical shape, there is a better chance of lasting the season and avoiding injury. That’s number one, first and foremost.

“Number two, he’s been able to – again when you’re more physically fit, fatigue doesn’t become as much of an issue.  In the quarterback position in particular that’s not as much of an issue as let’s say wide receivers, your defensive backs, your offensive lineman, but still, being in better physical shape can allow him to maintain a better base, play with lower hips and better feet and can allow him to just focus on the details of his technique”

The offensive coaches of the Bucs met with the media Thursday. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken talked about the differing opinions on Winston.

“Without knowing a person we make judgments before ever being around them,” Monken said. “I think that’s just common. It’s not just Jameis. It’s in general, people, you make thoughts and impressions.

“Heck, you meet someone on Facebook or Twitter or Snapfish or Fishchat – I don’t know what it is now – and you think you know them. You think you’re a part of their life. You have no idea what they’re like. You have no idea until you get around them and you’re around them day-to-day, [learning] what they’re about. That’s really in terms of life, it’s not just him.”

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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