The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were looking to fly under the radar in the run-up to the 2015 NFL season, and so far they have managed it.
The Bucs drafted controversial quarterback Jameis Winston to very little backlash, and the offensive weapons around him have all managed to remain relatively injury free, with Doug Martin impressing at running back as he looks to bounce back from a very poor 2014 campaign.
However, things aren't going as swimmingly as possible for Winston, with the Buccaneers sending a bit of a warning to their new face of the franchise: Protect yourself.
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In each of his two career pre-season games to date, Winston has scored a touchdown by diving head first into the end zone. He also has resisted sliding when not running for the goal line. The Buccaneers however, want him to be a lot more careful with his body.
“[W]e don’t run an option football,” head coach Lovie Smith said, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “We want to protect our quarterback."
Smith went on to add that he and the rest of the coaching staff still have a lot to teach the Heisman winning quarterback, and Winston needs to realise that he is not indestructible.
"Sometimes the play calls for you to get what you can and get down. We need to work on him getting down. We’re not going to put him at risk an awful lot, but it’s football. Believe me, we know who we have there, and we want to keep him protected.”
Winston knows that he can’t play well unless he’s able to play. And he won’t be able to play if he’s injured.
“I got to learn that, because I love to compete, I love to be competitive,” Winston said.
With Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and the aforementioned Martin around him, Winston has a chance to succeed in his rookie year, but the former Florida State Seminole needs to stay healthy.
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