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Tampa Bay turns Jameis Winston into a game-manager for Bucs

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Yes, Jameis Winston was a game manager.

No, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Although the Tampa Bay Bucs chose to run the ball on 17 of their 19 plays, head coach Lovie Smith found no problem in suggestions that Winston was a game manager for the Bucs. After all, the Bucs ended up winning the game against the Saints.

“As you make reference to that, that’s a bad thing,” Smith said.
“That’s just not a bad thing. I think every good quarterback should be a good game manger. We’re not going to run the ball 60 times and ask him to only play action pass. No, but what we would like to do, we want to establish the run and from there it opens up everything else. When he’s played 15 years for us here and you ask him that question, I would like for him to say, ‘Hey, I’m really managing that game well.’ As a quarterback, that’s a good thing.

Smith said Winston improved in all facets of his game from the team’s opening-day defeat.

“All areas and that’s not running away from the question,” Smith said. That’s what we needed to do. It’s about throwing the ball. He protected the football. I thought he made good decisions. He threw the ball better.

“When I was talking about protecting the football, when he needs to be the drop-back quarterback and pass the ball down the field, and I’m going to go right back to the drive before the half, that’s what he did. He can throw the football. His speed is talked about an awful lot. What a quarterback needs to do when he needs to run and be mobile in the pocket, he did that. I thought that was a pretty impressive touchdown run he had yesterday too.”

Smith was pleased that Winston didn’t try too hard to make up for his week one disappointment against the Titans.

“We’ll eventually leave the first game, but when there’s disappointment, you assume for a young player it’s overwhelming to him and that’s just not the case,” Smith said. “You go back to work. That’s what we’ve seen from him throughout. He’s had a day that’s not as good as he would like, he comes back from it quickly. It was good to see him do that.”

Smith suggested that the Bucs’ offense left points on the field.

“No doubt,” Smith said. “When I say we left a lot out there, we had some opportunities offensively where we got field goals instead of touchdowns, though we had favorable positions a few times there. And then just some plays we actually missed, as much as anything. I thought our offensive staff did a good job calling plays and putting the guys in position. But it’s always – when we say we left points out on the field, it’s about us not executing a certain play a certain way. But we’ll get more opportunities this week.”

Smith said he liked Winston’s touchdown pass even better than the third-and-16 Winston converted earlier on the drive.

“Third-and-16 was good, but, the touchdown pass – it was just a small window. He had to release it at a certain time,” Smith said. “Good coverage on their part. That was a great throw. Might have been Jameis’ best throw on record here, I’ll say.”

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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