Jameis And The Locker Room

March 16th, 2020

Locker room vibe questioned.

Is this week the final day that Mr. Entertainment, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, is an employee of the Bucs?

Joe knows many Bucs fans who hope that is the case. Several of these same fans some five years ago cringed at the mere thought of the Bucs drafting Jameis, and never gave the kid a break from Day 1.

But things over the weekend starting to bubble to the surface that seem to indicate Jameis may not be the most popular player among  his teammates.

For example, former NFL suit Michael Lombardi took to his “GM Shuffle” podcast last week to directly suggest the Bucs’ locker room needs repair. This came up when the discussion of the Bucs possibly signing free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was bounced around.

Adnan Virk: Just in terms of talent, do you think Bridgewater is an upgrade over Winston? I’m not convinced he is. I think Winston has the stronger arm. I think he’s mobile. I do think he makes mistakes, no question. Too many interceptions, that would annoy me. But I don’t think Bridgewater has the arm. If I am a Tampa Bay fan, I don’t go, ‘HEY, we got Bridgewater over Winston!’ I don’t think that’s a win for me.”

Michael Lombardi: I think you are right. But I think one thing [Bridgewater] can do is protect the football. I think that is what they crave. What do you always crave in most sports? If you have a coach who is an @sshole the next coach you hire is a friendly guy. Then you fire him for an @sshole, right? So if you have a turnover machine at quarterback who is the next player you want? You want somebody that is going to protect the ball, right? … I think the one thing about Bridgewater that you are not giving him enough [credit] for is, his intangibles within the locker room. Something I think Tampa needs. I think he unifies. And players love him. And I think that is what Tampa needs as much as anything.

What??? Joe thought Jameis was the leader of the team? Now Joe has heard and read a few pieces over the past couple of days that seem to be an interesting puzzle. What the answer is, Joe is not sure.

While driving to record this morning’s edition of the Ira Kaufman Podcast, Joe listened to “The Audible,” a fantastic college football podcast co-hosted by Bruce Feldman and Stuart Manzel, both of The Athletic. No one who covers college football is more plugged in with coaches and suits more than Feldman. No one.

In this episode, Feldman fielded an e-mail from a listener asking what were the reasons Florida State went from national champion to the wet hind leg of the ACC in six years? Feldman’s answer nearly had Joe driving off the road.

Feldman said former FSU coach Jimbo Fisher “sold his soul” to Jameis and that Jameis getting so many passes for his college stunts — these are Feldman’s words, not Joe’s — sooner or later divided a locker room and that is when the decline at FSU internally began, even though Jameis led the Seminoles to the national semifinal five years ago, the year after he and FSU won the national championship.

That internal turmoil, Feldman said, continued with Jameis’ eventual successor Deondre Francois, who former coach Willie Taggert eventually threw off the team.

Feldman added that your starting quarterback cannot be a divisive figure or that will rot away a program from the inside out, specifically the locker room.

(Remember that last paragraph as you continue reading.)

So in a matter of hours, Joe is sensing something here. Feldman believes Jameis started the locker room issues in Tallahassee before he left. Then, there’s Tiki Barber dropping hints on national sports radio that there is still a culture issue with the Bucs — and Barber is well plugged-in.

Then, Joe hears Lombardi’s claim the Bucs’ locker room needs to be unified.

What the hell is going on here? Joe thought all of this locker room s(p)it was resolved because of Jameis? Didn’t Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht say on “Hard Knocks” that Jameis even motivated and inspired him?

Joe concluded nearly two years ago, as much as Joe likes Jameis and would be pleased to see him remain as Bucs quarterback, that Jameis simply isn’t the leader folks tried to sell fans. It was clear a couple of years ago when Jameis’ Uber hassle first broke followed by the subsequent three-game suspension.

Leaders don’t hide those things from their teammates or employers, or their coaches. Jameis did. Or at least, tried to.

Shortly after the Bucs learned of Jameis’ three-game suspension, Joe heard from a third party that there were a handful — less than five — Bucs players who were fed up with Jameis after that. At least one, Joe was told, flat out turned on Jameis. Of those players, one is no longer on the roster and you shouldn’t need a calculator to figure out who that was.

So just looking at the breadcrumbs, Joe has to wonder if some of Jameis’ teammates are burned out on his leader schtick?

Joe also posed the following question: Did some defenders go to Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians and basically say they were not coming back if Jameis (and his interceptions) remained the Bucs’ starting quarterback?

All of a sudden Joe is hearing stories about Jameis and the locker room on podcasts and reading about them. Just before the free agency dinner bell rings. Right about the same time that Jameis’ days with the Bucs could be drawing to a close.

The timing sure seems fishy.

Or is all of this just a bunch of well-placed plants with the right people to help calm Bucs fans who will be upset the team is walking away from the best quarterback in franchise history?

(No, Joe doesn’t believe anyone with the Bucs is using Feldman. His take on Jameis is more of a coincidence.)

59 Responses to “Jameis And The Locker Room”

  1. Adrnagy Says:

    Be careful … grass might not turn greener on the other side.

  2. gotbbucs Says:

    Weird, who would have thought that a loud mouth that puts the team in a bad position had doubters in the locker room?

  3. SteelStudBuc Says:

    How frustrating do you think it is playing for the Bucs and watching Jameis throw interception after interception? Seriously that would cause alot of distaste dont ya think… eventually guys are gonna tune him out

  4. Thisisouryear!!! Says:

    Reading that he bragged he was worth 30 million didn’t sit right w me. I don’t think he was ever a team first guy. Hi

  5. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Stop it….Doug Williams was the greatest QB in Bucs history. 5 years, 3 playoff appearances. 10 points from the super bowl in his 2nd year and the teams 4th year of existence. You grasshoppers don’t understand the magnitude of what they overcame.

  6. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Man it turns out the loud obnoxious Uber driving you know what QB that cannot stop coughing up the ball may not be popular with his teammates…..what a shock

    Also look at just how cringe his Motivational tactics are.

  7. Bucs4821 Says:

    I agree with @Bruce Blahak. What Doug Williams accomplished was extraordinary. He improved every season in a run-first offense.

    I also have to mention Joe’s statement that Phillip Rivers is an older Winston. When Winston starts 6 playoff games, we’ll have that conversation.

    Raheem’s 10-6 2010 is amazing when you look at that roster. But, please feel free to take a look at Gruden’s 2007-2008 rosters and how you got back to back 9-7 seasons there.

    And let’s not forget the 2007 division title was essentially clinched with a late season win in New Orleans with *Luke McCown* !!!!

    Just a few of my thoughts from my daily JBF visits and Ira podcasts…

  8. BigHog Says:

    Just before the free-agency dinner bell rings!!!… Nothing but SMOKE!!!

  9. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Joe knows many Bucs fans who hope that is the case. Several of these same fans some five years ago cringed at the mere thought of the Bucs drafting Jameis, and never gave the kid a break from Day 1.

    C’mon now – I pushed the “Weapons for WINston” narrative hard. Lol

  10. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Nice write though

  11. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    O lord moderated again

  12. El Buco Realisto Says:

    And some fans gave jay-miss a full second (third-forth) chance, and the breaking point was when the truth was revealed during the suspension!!!!!!!!! And when Fitzmagic started and players wanted Fitzmagic to keep starting, it was way more than just a couple of players!!!!!!!!!

    But this is stuff we knew already, but the jay-miss sheep, did not want to hear, and tried to put all the blame on Djax!!!!!!!!!!! Even tried to assume that said player was bad mouthing jay-miss!!!! Not knowing that Jay-miss camp was doing that exact same thing!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Hethrew 30 Says:

    Joe says he knows “Several of these same fans some five years ago cringed at the mere thought of the Bucs drafting Jameis, and never gave the kid a break from Day 1.”

    Why do you give a guy who can’t take care of the football who has major character issues, and is the #1 overall pick who will make millions a “break.” This Joe is so blind to his own stupidity. Huge numbers of fans, me included, were skeptical and he only proved us right. And you think he should get a “break.” What a goofball.

  14. Ineffable Dullard Repairman Says:

    If I didn’t know better I would’ve guessed I was reading the TV listing for the next episode of a daytime soap opera.
    All the rumors, ballyhoos from unnamed sources … This is the way the women from my neighborhood speak of the lascivious blonde who lives four doors down.
    They really don’t have substantial evidence so they take a sliver of truth, expand on it, and turn it into earthshaking negative news.
    Poor gal …

  15. MirrorMirrowOnTheWall Says:

    No one cares about the Buccaneers.

  16. westernbuc Says:

    Besides DJax, I wonder who turned on Jameis…

    I think it’s weird that these guys are all promoting Teddy Bridgewater. No one pegged him as a starter, now everyone is linking him to the Bucs in an offense he doesn’t fit.

    As for Lombardi, I get what he’s saying but that’s terrible strategy. That’s what the Bucs have done for a decade. Raheem was soft, so we got Schiano, who was unproven, so we got Lovie, who’s defense sucked, so we kept Koetter, because he provided stability, and now we have Arians because he’s confident and can fix any QB.

    Now when we move on from Jameis, Arians should move on from the QB whisperer label he gave himself

  17. Bobby M. Says:

    Been saying it….Winston is an act. His sole focus is his heroics not winning. You’ll hear more in the next three days, Bucs we’re keeping an eye on him and I’m certain testing him to see if he’d lie. He’s a bs artist, he’s been caught, now he wants out. He needs a new team to sell his act to.

  18. Buc4evr Says:

    I don’t know what the answer is at QB, but after the last two games, it’s not Jameis. Bridgewater may not have the raw talent that Jameis does but he is a hell of a lot smarter. The window is closing and if we don’t have a QB that can provide consistent play We are never going to see the playoffs before it’s time to go into a complete rebuilding mode. I’m tired of Jameis’s excuses. The guy is a knucklehead.

  19. Bucsfanman Says:

    Yeah, talk about cringing. Every time I hear the words “the best QB in franchise history” attached to Jameis, I think for what? Stats?
    I’m not a big fan of “rah-rah” leadership anyway. Show me. Lead by example.

  20. Check your sheet Says:

    The footage of the turnover machine eating W’s stands out as one of the craziest things I have ever seen from a supposed “leader”. The looks on the faces of those watching the glimpse of unbridled madness that the turnover machine flashed was evident and telling. This due was enthusiastic but uncontrolled, just like the turnover machine. I have seen more than enough of the madness and lack of accountability. New day in Tampa Bay and good riddance. Go Bucs!

  21. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Joe, just HOW long have I been saying the same damn thing!! (And often getting crapped on for saying it). Winston has divided both the fan base AND the locker room.

  22. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Ding! Ding Ding!
    100% agree with Bucfanman. Its possible that this “rah-rah stuff is wearing thin with some of his teammates. I watched a line his teammates after a win, while they waited to get congratulated by Jameis. I noticed Mike Evans seemed bored and disinterested while Donovan Smith and Jameis were carrying on in front of him.

  23. Sport Says:

    Been saying this for awhile. The only group somewhat happy on the team are the WR’s. OL, entire D, coaches, owners, TE’s, RB’s are all tired of the way JW plays the position. Look at how hard that team played for Fitz in 2018. Go watch Hard Knocks and Fitz trying to coach JW not to ‘try so hard’ with the locker room crap.

    When talking to our Center before the 2019 season, he mentioned how small the oline was is in NE and had success. Intimating they were productive despite their smaller stature due to Brady being QB and smart with the ball. And with the Higs the Bucs had combined with smart QB play, the Bucs should kick some a$$.

    Well, that just might happen.

    And for those who think locker room chemistry doesn’t matter, you’re kidding yourselves because in reality the game is only 3hrs long. And they are together in practice, classrooms, meeting rooms and locker rooms for days and days.

    Do the math.

    In BA I Trust!

  24. ModHairKen Says:

    “Several of these same fans some five years ago cringed at the mere thought of the Bucs drafting Jameis, and never gave the kid a break from Day 1.”

    And several did, despite the crab legs incident, the vulgarities on the lunch table, and the allegations of sexual assault. The kid then came in and was wobbly at times, brilliant at times, but still prone to stupid unforced errors, like pulling a Trump on the Uber driver. The 3 game suspension ruined 2018.

    He received a golden opportunity in 2019, and he BLEW IT!


  25. El Buco Realisto Says:

    I love it when the sheep finally figure out what the “real” fans knew years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Bucs53 Says:

    This article is a bunch of garbage made up of conjecture and hindsight bias. By all accounts (from his own teammates) Winston was a tremendous leader at FSU. It was said time and time again by everyone that played with him. You could also see it on the field starting from when he was a redshirt freshman.

    I firmly believe it’s time for him to go, but spare me the revisionist history.

  27. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Jameis is that one sales guy who’s numbers look great on paper but when you actually break them down, he sold a lot of jobs that didn’t make the company very much money at all. But again, the JW lovers will always bring up those numbers.

    Or he is that coworker who made you work more hours since he didn’t do his job (the defense thought this every time he tossed an int).

    I’m sure he is loved within that locker room smh

  28. Bird Says:

    Those end of year interviews must have been fun

    So what was a positive about season ?
    And what was a negative about season ?

    Im sure jameis name came up regularly

  29. SteveK Says:

    Leadership and turnover margin. This makes Brady elite and the best fit to fill our void at QB. This team, with Brady, will be a serious SB contender.

    It’s here or back to NE. I really hope Brady comes to Tampa. And I’m a Buckeye fan.

  30. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    I think Joe is reaching big time at this point. All the article said is that player love Bridgewater. He did not say the players hate Winston. I know this is red meat for the haters and will get a ton of comments by them, but man what a reach this one was. Please for the love of god sign someone, anyone so we can stop silly articles like this.

  31. Youngbucs Says:

    Bucfan 53
    Jameis is 5 years in the nfl is contract is up and u talking bout FSU still lol
    Jameis Winston the Carmelo Anthony of the nfl

  32. Defense Rules Says:

    TEAM chemistry does matter … a LOT. And nothing hurts TEAM chemistry like continual losing. Even back to our grade-school playground games, everyone wanted to be ‘picked’ for the team they just knew was gonna win. Why? Because the kid doing the ‘picking’ for that team was perceived as a winner. Why? Because he won more times than not, and everyone knew it.

    Jameis’ problem is that, despite all the hoopla and despite all the excuses, he’s lost more times than not. If he’d taken this team to the playoffs for the past 5 years, does anyone REALLY think that we’d be discussing his future with the Bucs? And it wouldn’t matter if he was an a-hole or not.

    Brady’s not coming, thankfully. Neither is Rivers, thankfully. Bucs are building something for the future, and neither of them fit the bill. Bridgewater might come here, but somehow I think that he wouldn’t be BA’s first choice (and Teddy probably knows that).

    Odds are still high IMO that Jameis will be the Bucs’ QB this season … by default. But he’ll be on a VERY short leash with BA. And look for the Bucs to sign a quality veteran QB who can take the reins if Jameis stumbles.

  33. Aceofaerospace Says:

    I still don’t see how Mr Pick-6 had the nerve to walk into the locker room after throwing is most recent (definitely won’t be his last) pick-6. What could he say? My bad? That ones on me fellas? Chin up guys, wait’ll next year? I’ve got to improve? Sorry about that guys, but at least I’m balling? Nobody told me there’d be a defender there?

  34. DoooshLaRue Says:


    Excellent summation of the Soiled Messiah’s Bucs career.

  35. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Oh, give me a break.

    The college stuff was because of his off field issues. The rest can’t be blamed on Jameis except the turnover stuff.

    Tiki Barber said there are still troubles in the locker room? Did he call out Jameis directly? Nope.

    And as to a commenter saying he wasn’t a team first guy because he said he is worth 30million? Get real. $30m is nothing compared to what guys are getting this year.

  36. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    @Defense Rules

    I believe you nailed it.

    I would add that if the right QB falls to us, BA would draft him even if he intends to start Jameis.

    Offer Jameis $30m for one year. Give him the money. Make him prove himself. Or give him a longer contract with no guarantees.

  37. Ndog Says:

    You know what hurts the team a defense that cannot stop a cold breeze, a kicker that can’t make sh!t and a coach that takes a delay of game penalty to make said game winning kicks harder. This as the sign of an organization that has royally screwed up and they know it so now they are trashing the player to save face on the way out. Cause they KNOW we are getting a much inferior player in Bridgewater and are try to sell to the lemmings (see many above my comments) that this is really a good move. Well sorry fellas dispite what you may believe most of us are not part of the CLUELESS clan.

  38. D-Rome Says:

    Jay-Miss is not a leader and never has been.

    I can guarantee that if Jay-Miss is the starter for 2020 that he’ll come nowhere near the amount of turnovers that he had in 2019. He’ll be benched before he’s given the opportunity. One more three INT game and it’s over for him.

  39. NYbucsfan Says:

    He is a wolf in sheep clothing!!!

  40. TJ Tillman Says:

    Great article Joe, you weren’t defending Jameis. Winston loss me with Uber incident and that same year the sideline brawl he started with Evans and Latimotre. How can you be a leader and be a trouble maker and have inconsistent play along with behavior ? You can’t follow someone who is inconsistent.

  41. Pewter power Says:

    Winston is a long way away from the Jimbo Fisher days and yes I believe the locker room is split on this guy, shaq and others have been honest about that. Cant be a leader if you can’t protect the football. he was on the bench the year before and the team rallied around fitz and you cant act like that didnt happen. Winston is toast in Tampa here needs a fresh start and he’ll do fine until the regular season starts and the interceptions kick in again

  42. Will Says:

    I’m at a point where I almost want Jameis to leave and we get Tom Brady and continue to lose. While Jameis goes to a complete team and starts to win. It’d be what we deserve. YES the turnovers have got to get better but other than the receivers and I’m including the TEs in that statement we’ve never put anything else around him. Lousy kicking game for years, 1 year of a good running game, bottom defense for years except for a 6 game stretch and a great run defense last year for the entire season and and pass defense the last part of the season. When BA came here he said the way to win with Jameis is to put better around him and not have him throw the ball soo much then BL went out there and called a pass happy offense with no running game, lack of creativity and forgot we had TEs on the team. I love my Bucs and watch them every week and go see them whenever they’re in Cali and will continue no matter who is under center next season. I’m not going call anyone clueless or anything like that but I sometimes wonder how many actually watch and understand this TEAM sport.

  43. 813bucboi Says:

    JW is not a leader…point blank period….

    teddy is the pick…

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  44. BrianBucs Says:

    I’m sure that even though a lot of the Bucs players like Winston as a friend and teammate, they are more than tired of playing their butts off and then watching him give the game away. As one Bucs player said during the season “Jameis keeps both teams in the game”.
    Bucs could use a new leader and positive force in the lockerroom.

  45. Stevebobucsfan Says:

    I also feel that with Jameis it’s more than interceptions. I think he’s hardheaded for 1 and I’ll clarify. My thoughts are, Arians and his staff have preached and preached to Jameis throw the ball away, don’t throw into so many double Coverage tight areas and secure the ball. I don’t buy all this Jameis had a locker room problem but, maybe that’s an issue too. All I am saying is I think it’s more than interceptions that pushed Arians to handle Jameis FA the way he did

  46. Cobraboy Says:

    Winston lost me when he ate those pre-game W’s. What a buffoon…

  47. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Youngbucs…..the Carmelo Anthony analogy is superb !!!

  48. Cgmaster27 Says:

    What a dumb article. Yeah its jameis fault 6 years later that fsu sucks.no how about jimbo bailed on the team, willie taggart was a crappy coach, and fsu has had the worst offensive line in college football for the last three years. There ya go, fixed the article for ya.

  49. Crabby Fan Says:

    I don’t care what any one else says about this but….

    Jameis played a huge role on making our overall defense better.

    From rookie thru 2 year starters in 2019 they had to mature very quickly in their positions and IMO they did and very admirably.

    The biggest reason was due the Jameis’ turnovers. Our very young defensive backs were placed in alot of man coverage against some of the best receivers in NFC south due to Bowles aggressive blitz packages.

    With all of those picks our young guys grew up very fast. Unfortunatley the same could not be said about Jameis and his inconsistent play.

    All I can hope for now is a good team that doesn’t tend to beat itself so much.

    Go Bucs

  50. MTM Says:

    Winston has zero self awareness on and off the field. The dude doesn’t get it and probably will never get it. I can’t listen to 5 minutes of his non-sense. How can players in the locker put up with it day in and day out?

  51. mark2001 Says:

    And would go along with the reported 30 mil. salary demand, that Jameis is just about Jameis. I’m not sure how much of a “leader” he was.

  52. CalBucsFan Says:

    Ah Joe….‘Is this week the final day’? No, but it could and should be the final week!

  53. 541BucsFan Says:

    JW isn’t linked to any team as a starter. The problem with JW is more than just the INTs. His antics are far worse … theft, rape accusation, assault settlement, eating Ws, 3 head coaches, 30/39 … It’s a different drama every year and it never stops.

  54. WestChap Says:

    Its news to Joe that Jameis is NOT the leader of the team? Where you been?

  55. bucsfaninoregon Says:

    Like several others here, I was WAY turned off by the eating “Ws” act. How juvenile. And, then he would go out and the INTs would start.
    Then the next game same thing. Disgusting for an adult with a brain.
    Uber incidents are consistent with a mental giant like this. And, no, it has nothing to do with the color of his skin. In my book, Doug Williams was the best Buc QB (after Steve Young who never was understood by our Patron Saint, Hugh Culverhouse).

  56. Capeace is kaput Says:

    If I were on that team I know I would want Winston gone. Throwing all those picks means you are a “F” up. I would question the coach on why he is in there.
    Example bench or cut a guy who blows a coverage or fumbles a few times, but the QB that gives the ball up constantly keeps getting a pass. Coaches lose credibility because of that. They will not put up 30 points a game with Teddy but the defense will not have Winstons picks hanging over their head either. Of the QB’s that are out there right now, Bridgewater would be the guy for us, then Dalton. Stay away from Rivers. Brady knows better than to come here and risk ruining his rep.

  57. Silent_Partner Says:

    FSU fans know that Manzel hates Jimbo and FSU. Feldman playing to his audience there. FSU actually fell off a cliff because of its lack of offensive line and LB recruiting which every FSU fan with a brain had been screaming about since 2015 at least. Manzel has gone out of his way to blame Winston for it despite him being gone from the program for four years when the bottom finally dropped out in 2017. Winston is universally loved by teammates both pro and college. I’ve heard guys who were like the 85th guy on the roster in podcasts from those FSU squads and his baseball teammates who could have trashed him say nothing but great things about him as a teammate. Barking up the wrong tree with this one.

  58. Big O Says:

    Weather being Brady Rivers Bridgewater or (Carr and the Bengal guy)
    Give it at least five regular season games before the plant blossoms or dies.

  59. stpetebucsfan Says:

    An honest question. Posters here refer to JW’s “haters”…anybody who thinks JW has not succeeded. But the haters come from all around including now according to Silent Partner from FSU media. I’m not wired into FSU or the Gators just wath them on TV so I have no reason to doubt SP.

    But accepting that why is it that JW does have so many haters? Is it simply because he’s black? Really. Is the best QB in the league not black..and following Mahomes are very popular BLACK QBs like dare I say it…Teddy Bridgewater…Russell Wilson…Lamarcus Jackson…there are more but I think you get my point…people do not “hate” JW because he’s black.

    Is it really just the ints? Is it the betrayal in AZ and the lying that followed. His intemperate mouth at grade schools, on the field and in post game pressers.

    He has a great smile and superficially seems like a nice guy…so why all the dislike?