With the incidents that surrounded him off the field during his time at Florida State, his good behavior is probably a surprise to many but not head coach Lovie Smith.
“I can’t say anything has surprised me,” stated Smith. “You know how much time we spent with Winston and the research we’ve done, people we’ve talked to? Early on when you talk to him, you’re going to see exactly what he says is what he’s going to do. He’s not a BSer. This is what we thought he would be. I think the best thing we could say is that we haven’t been surprised about anything.”
Perhaps the change of scenery has done him well. It’s easy to act like a dumb college kid when you are in college and surrounded by other dumb college kids. The professionalism of an NFL organization and NFL veterans might be just the thing Winston needed to clean up his act.
But, behaving himself is not even half the battle when it comes to being successful in the NFL. There is still so much work to be done this summer in preparation for the upcoming season; preparation the entire organization must take part in as they install a new system with first-year offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.
One promising aspect is that the offense suits Winston’s skill set. He always had one edge over Marcus Mariota when it came to developing into a quarterback at the NFL level: he ran a pro-style offense in college while Mariota ran the spread. According to Coach Smith, that’s exactly what Tampa wants, “We’re not an option attack. We’re not running the wishbone or anything. It is a pro-style offense. We want our quarterback to be able to make the throws. We think Jameis can do those things.”
Koetter was impressed when he saw how much Florida State gave Winston to digest on offense and decided to throw the kitchen sink at him this summer. “We’re going to have a huge amount of volume in right now, way more than we would ever have in one game,” said Koetter. “We have enough stuff right now for 10 game plans. We’re putting in stuff we’re going to use over the course of a whole season. It will all get shrunk down and Jameis will have input on that. We purposely made a decision that we’re going to throw a huge book at him and see what sticks.”
Again, it has only been a few months, but from the sound of it, everything is moving along brilliantly for Winston and the Bucs. Teammates and coaches alike are happy with the way Winston has conducted himself. If he keeps up the hard work, there is no doubt he has the talent to succeed at the NFL level, that was never really a question.