Jameis Winston joined the Buccaneers with a lot of questions and baggage along with him. He continues to change everyone’s believes, including his coaches.
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The Buccaneers went through great discussion prior to selecting Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 draft. There were some questions about his character, after incidents while he was at Florida State. According to Kevin Patra of NFL.com, Dirk Koetter even initially preferred Marcus Mariota to Winston.
But thanks to his play, and his actions off the field, Winston continues to convince the world that he is a franchise quarterback. That includes quarterbacks coach turned offensive coordinator Todd Monken. After getting to know Winston, as he told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, he was completely wrong about him:
"“It’s who he is, how he’s wired,” Monken said. “I think that’s one thing that’s a misnomer. I think from the outside you would’ve looked at it with all the things that were publicized in the past about him and who he is. I was dead wrong. He wants to win as much as we do. He’s a competitive joker, man, he’s smart, he’s intelligent…you can win a lot of games with guys like that.”“I think that’s just general in life, especially with social media today, but even before then,” Monken said. “Without knowing a person, we make judgements without ever being around them. I think that’s just common, that’s not just Jameis, that’s people. You make thoughts, impressions when you meet someone on Facebook or Twitter or (Snapchat), you think you know them. You think you’re a part of their life, you have no idea what they’re like until you get around them and you’re around them day to day and see what they’re about. That’s in terms of life, not just him.”"
Winston is going to have more on his plate in his second year, but they believe the next step is to improve his accuracy. The concept makes sense as he completed 58.3% of his passes in his rookie year. He showed a lot of promise in taking care of the football, with 22 touchdowns versus 15 interceptions.
But more important is how Winston represented himself and the Bucs’ organization. All of the concerns fell by the wayside. Winston was a leader for himself and his teammates. He lost a lot of weight for his second season, as Mike Evans told Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. He was a stellar member of the community, proving the doubters wrong on a daily basis.
Monken is absolutely right. We all make snap decisions about people. There may be the rule that we learned as kids; “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. We don’t follow it. Whether it’s a person’s looks, attitude, or reputation, we prejudge. The league was split on Jameis Winston, it’s no surprise that the Bucs’ coaches were too.
But to his credit, Winston continues to prove everyone wrong. We will be happy to have him on our team for a long time.