QB Jameis Winston (5.30.24)

So how’s this first month been for you? And then, especially with the increased reps that you’re getting because Deshaun’s (Watson) not taking all of them.

“Just an extreme level of gratitude that we’re able to come out here and compete and just get better as a team. I thoroughly enjoy just developing relationships with my teammates and obviously getting some reps, so that’s pretty fun.”


Jameis, how is your attitude might not be the right word, but here you’re the number one pick in the draft a while ago, and now you’re in this role. So how did things change for you?

“I’ve been in every role in terms of the quarterback position in the NFL that they have to offer. So I focus on what I’m grateful for. I’m grateful that I was the number one pick. I’m grateful that I went through some adversity in year five, I’m grateful that I got to learn from a Hall of Fame head coach and a Hall of Fame quarterback. I’m grateful that I ended up being here with a historic franchise, a culture franchise with an elite fan base. So, I’m focused on what I’m grateful for.”


Is the offense you’re learning here under (Ken) Dorsey unique to you or have you been exposed to some elements of it on other teams?

“Well, I’ve been exposed to a few concepts, but the way that he’s put it in has been world class, and I really have just became immersed with learning because there’s a lot of new verbiage for me in terms of protections and formations. So I’m just excited to learn and continue to master this offense.”


Jameis, it seems the thing with this offense is the choice routes with the receivers. Could you just touch on from your perspective, the importance of the communication with the receivers and the challenge of learning what they’re seeing and matching it up with what you’re seeing so that there aren’t any miscommunications when that comes into play?

“The twist routes is one of those routes where you have to be on the same page. When you just think of the name of the route, it’s a choice, it’s an option. So they are always right. But what we’re doing now is developing that trust. And I think Coach (Jim) Schwartz is doing an amazing job of giving our receivers different looks, so they’re not anticipating something. They’re actually having to read and react, and we’re just getting a lot of good reps at it.”


I was going to ask you about choice routes, too, just as a quarterback, to kind of have that. I know there’s certain keys that you’re looking for as a receiver and as a guy throwing the ball, but that improvisational aspect of those routes and how exciting is that?

“Well, I think that just that challenges the offense to continue to be on the same page and it allows us to have more communication, have more film time together, trust and commitment to one another because we have to be accountable for the decision that we make. And I think I just get a huge credit to the defense because with choice routes, if you’re seeing the same coverage, you kind of get comfortable making the same decision. But when you’re seeing different things, they’re able to learn and grow and continue to learn and grow.”


So you’ve been around Deshaun as much as anybody. What have you seen as he’s gone through this recovery process and then out there throwing the ball?

“I’ve seen intentional leadership of him taking mental reps, like he is one of the best quarterbacks in this league. I’ve seen a consistent growth and just him focusing on his shoulder routine, focusing on building that strength back. And when he throws it, he spends it, so I haven’t seen anything of lack. I’ve just seen him just continue to grow, continue to lead these guys because it’s challenging when you’re not getting the reps, it’s challenging to have a presence when you’re sitting back from afar watching. And he’s done an incredible job just staying locked in, staying focused. I smile when he’s communicating to the receivers in the back, communicating to the offensive lines, talking protections because that is football and he’s not missing the beat.”


Jameis, off of that, you talked about a little bit having some sort of history with Deshaun prior to coming here. Now that you guys are on the field together, though, just how is your guy’s relationship developed even more?

“Well, it’s continuing to grow, and that trust and commitment is starting to come in just between us, just regular conversations, not just about football, but about life, about increase.”


Is he a big reason why you wanted to come here?

“Absolutely. A big reason that I wanted to come here because the opportunity was here for me to serve and to give to my teammates. And him being one of the best quarterbacks in this league, being a quarterback that I have had to see him grow as a number one draft pick and just see his ascension as a player. I have familiarity with that, so it’s an honor to serve him.”


Jameis, outside of learning the offensive system, but what have you learned about Ken Dorsey from the last month or so?

“Well, one, the most important thing I learned is that Miami Hurricanes aren’t that bad [laughter]. But I’ve really enjoyed his coaching presence. What we do on the field in terms of drill work has been fine, fine work. You know, one of my favorite quarterback coaches that worked with Peyton Manning – Clyde Christensen, Mike Bajakian, they always worked on the feet. And I’m just so happy that is what he’s emphasizing with his feet, with his timing, and also him installing the plays, him calling the plays. Man, he’s definitely been in this position. It seems as if he’s been in this position before. And I’m just happy that we’re able to communicate, and it’s very important to me because this is a new offense for me. So, us communicating, me continuing to learn, and him being tough on us and challenging us to get better, challenging us to be quicker and faster has truly been a blessing.”


You talked about the pressure that Deshaun (Watson) must be feeling right now and how you had that pressure being the number one overall pick. Have you instilled any advice on him? And if you did, can you share that?

“Absolutely. Focus on today. There’s nothing more important than winning today. You know, it’s times where he’s not throwing – focus on today, focus on your healing. It’s times when he’s out there lighting it up, throwing – focus on the day, do your best. And I’ve been so impressed with how he’s continued to stay locked in and focus, you know, even when he’s not in. You know, I think we, as a unit, we’ve done a great job of allowing him to get the reps, the mental reps that he deserves because it’s his. But I’ve been so impressed with him and how he’s just been going about each day. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t expect it, but our conversation has been, ‘Hey, man, continue to do what you doing. Cause you’re doing an amazing job at it.’”


You mentioned that you played just about every role as a quarterback, so how do you view your role headed into this season?

“Continuing to serve and inspire and be prepared when the time is required for me to go out there and execute to the best of my ability. But I’m here to be a man of increase and to inspire my teammates and to encourage us to communicate, to be together and be the best that we can be.”


Jameis, what was more fun, the PGA or the (Kentucky) derby?

“You know, what was fun was really getting a chance to be in Louisville and spend time with my family. My great aunt turned 70 last year, and she wanted to go to the derby, that was on her bucket list. She didn’t make it to PGA National, the championship with me, but both was quite fun. I just love being with my family and experiencing greatness man. Seeing those horses and those jockeys and seeing those golfers, like up close, you know, I’ve been to a few golf tournaments, really ain’t pay attention. But with this being the championship, I wanted to witness greatness, and it happened.”


You seemed pretty excited when Scottie (Scheffler) came by?

“Well, you know, he was battling a little adversity, man. He continued to play, you know, and golf is very mental game, so just the things that was going around, you could easily be deterred. The quarterback position is very similar to just a golf player. You know, like, you don’t determine what’s going on around you, but you have decisions, and you have to be decisive, and you just have to continue to play with the next swing.”


Are you a good player?

“I am not a great player.”


But you play?

“I do. I compete, I can say, like, you know, I stopped playing because I just was getting, you know, I wasn’t to my caliber, right. I wasn’t elite in it, but I have won two longest drive competitions. So y’all come out to the golf tournament this Monday, I’ll have something for you.”


There was a report that NFLPA was proposing a change to the offseason workout program. From your perspective, like, how would you feel about that if you kind of scrapped spring and reported in training camp?

“Yeah. We have a lot of men and women who have came before me that are making these decisions for the betterment of these NFL players. Me personally, man, whatever is required, I’m willing and able to do. Again, I’m grateful for this opportunity, but that’s something that I have to continue to look at and I’m sure me and my teammates and the PA will continue to discuss that. So, it can be for the best of our fellow players.”


Some players seem to be taken aback by that news coming out this week. So, does the PA discuss or consult with you guys on this, or is this a situation where they’re coming up with a plan independent of you as players, your input?

“A lot of the PA’s references are players or officials that have experienced the NFL from a wide perspective who have been in it for a long time. So, I definitely trust their intellect, but as I said, I would love to dive into that myself before I give you a firm answer on that.”


As a quarterback, you’re expected to be a leader. That’s kind of the position, right? But how helpful is it when other guys kind of come into their own in different positions on both sides of the ball, even on special teams?

“The more leaders you have, the better right? Anytime that you have people that are willing to stand out in front, be accountable, dependable, incredible. You have a great team.”


What inspired the no shoes at the podium today?

“Well, grounding. We got to take in the sunlight, you got to be connected with the earth because God gave us a beautiful day out here to just be immersed with and be one with and be present.”


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