The Making Of A Quarterback

September 16th, 2016
Building a franchise quarterback.

Building a franchise quarterback.

In case you missed it yesterday, had a pretty impressive long-form feature on America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, and the tedious, detailed steps the Bucs put in place before Jameis was drafted to ensure his growth.

The article, typed by long-time veteran NFL reporter Judy Battista. sort of follows Jameis from the day he was drafted until this week, and how he has progressed from a wide-eyed rookie to the unquestioned leader of the Bucs.

Winston’s picture adorns one corner of the facade of Raymond James Stadium. He hosts the team’s virtual reality tour of the upgrades recently unveiled at the stadium. He is rolled out to address suite holders, spends hours at his teammates’ charitable events, hosts sick children at practice and sends messages to ill fans, almost always with no publicity. Most importantly, the off-field headlines he has generated recently have been of nothing more noteworthy than real-estate transactions — Winston recently bought a five-bedroom, Mediterranean-style home in a suburb north of Tampa, where he lives with his girlfriend and their dog. He has emerged, very quickly, very comfortably, as the player around whom the rest of the team revolves, from the locker room to the boardroom. …

The view from the outside world of the NFL as Winston settles into his second season can best be summed up as resignation that they are likely to have to contend with the quarterback’s talent for a long time. His four-touchdown performance in a road victory over the Atlanta Falcons — despite a shaky first quarter — only served to solidify the expectation that Winston will take the next big step in his career. The Bucs have won one Super Bowl in their 40-year history, but have never had a true franchise quarterback, with none of their top passers — Josh Freeman, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Vinny Testaverde, Doug Williams — making it past Year 6 with the team. From the moment Winston was selected, much more was expected of and riding on the young signal caller. In a league constantly searching for the next great quarterback, and often sifting through those who could not fill that role, Winston gave indications last year that he would be a fit for the job.

Not immediately, though. Winston began his rookie season with seven interceptions in his first four games. Koetter, who was Lovie Smith’s offensive coordinator last season before being elevated to the top job when Smith was fired after the 2015 Bucs lost their final four games, said turnovers were his biggest knock on Winston when he came out of FSU. The Bucs purposefully moved slowly with the QB during his rookie season, taking care to simplify game plans, to largely remove protection calls from his to-do list. They did not want to overload him with information and did not want him to be paralyzed on Sunday. Mike Bajakian, the Bucs’ quarterback coach, spent extra hours with Winston on the field after practices, walking through plays over and over, verbalizing no-huddle calls, drilling his most vital subject. The focus was on the mental before the physical.

The article is fascinating in its detail in describing the nuances the Bucs mapped out to do everything in their power to provide Jameis the resources to succeed.

Also in the article is specific coaching tools Dirk Koetter and Mike Bajakian used with Jameis and how they had to walk a delicate path: Stress checkdowns too much and they might brainwash Jameis into a Checkdown Charlie zombie; emphasize the deep ball too much and Jameis might transform into a mad bomber.

So if you are looking for an excuse this morning to nurse an extra cup of coffee, or procrastinate at work as the hours drag until the beginning of the weekend, click the link above and enjoy.

10 Responses to “The Making Of A Quarterback”

  1. Buc50 Says:

    Great article…very long

  2. BigHogHaynes Says:

    LOVIE sure as hell knew Jaboo!

  3. Buc1987 Says:

    I miss you Mr. Patrick.

  4. Bird Says:

    Cool stuff. Jameis -I mean what can you say. I was skeptical at first but man he is just killing it right now-on and off the field. Way to go Jaboo!

  5. Ben the GA Buc Says:


  6. Buc1987 Says:

    I said before he was drafted that he’d be better than Andrew Luck.

    And the fans? They scoffed at me.


    Judy Battista… Always a class act in her profession.

  8. Buc1987 Says:

    “He is probably the best natural leader I’ve been around,” Bajakian said. “I’ve dealt with a lot of college-aged guys. He is still a college-aged guy. He understands people. He is very perceptive, very observant; he sees things. Whether it is body language or things coming up, he sees it and reacts appropriately to it and says, ‘That guy needs a pat on the butt,’ or, ‘That guy needs to be pushed a little more.’ He’s not afraid to do it. The No. 1 thing that makes him a good leader is he wants to win. He knows, to do that, he’s got to get the most out of the guys around him.”

  9. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    The biggest thing we were all critacal of was his off the field behavior wich is Laughable now because he has been nothing less than a model citizen and has done his fair share in his community. I can’t say enough how happy I am to have #3 leading this team. And looking back on his rookie year the bucs and Koetter did a great job of easing him in while not putting alot on his shoulders, and the biggest thing that helped him imo was the running game being so succesful with Dougy being the no. 2 rusher in the league. So because of that he was able to work off the play action wich is our strength. I love how this team is being built and it seems like Koetter and Jameis are a match made in heaven. #no ceillings

  10. cometowin2 Says:

    Great article Judy!!!