Leaping Antoine Winfield

August 2nd, 2021

Taking next level step?

The only type of “leaping” Joe can associate with something in sports entertainment is Leaping Lanny Poffo (he lives in Clearwater), the younger brother of Macho Man Randy Savage.

But the root word “leap” is applied by an NFL writer to Bucs safety Antoine Winfield.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com decided to try to pick a player who will make the biggest leap from every NFC team. With the Bucs, he thinks it’s Winfield.

Everyone played so well for the Bucs down the stretch last year that it’s hard to find someone with room to improve. One place to start is at safety, where Winfield made massive plays early in his rookie year and then during the Bucs’ playoff run. In between, he was a difference maker as a run stuffer and player near the line of scrimmage, but still had some rookie moments in coverage, finishing 52nd out of 64 safeties in PFF’s grading among players who logged at least 50 percent of their teams’ snaps. Winfield has already shown he’s savvy beyond his years and is likely to improve on that weakness on the way to becoming one of the most complete safeties in football.

Well, if Winfield does make a leap, it will be from a solid starter to a Pro Bowl player. At times he played like one as a rookie.

For some reason, Joe doesn’t associate a guy who played at the level of Winfield as a rookie making a “leap.” Maybe that’s just Joe.

Initially, Joe thought that Winfield’s college teammate, Tyler Johnson, would be the guy who makes a leap this year. Johnson got off to a rotten start last year and before the end of the season he was making strong plays.

But after hearing Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians yesterday, Joe will have to reassess.

11 Responses to “Leaping Antoine Winfield”

  1. Wild Bill Says:

    Way too early to give up on Tyler. Coach likes to use criticism to motivate players he thinks have lots of potential.

  2. geno711 Says:

    I will sometimes use PFF as a guide especially when looking at a player from another team – because I do not watch that team like I watch the Bucs.

    But does anyone who watches the Bucs really believe that Winfield was 52nd out of 64 in safeties.

    Come-on man!

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Where was Whitehead ranked?

    And as far as “leapers” go…..my vote is for “Pool Leaping” Tristan Wirfs…

  4. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Macho Man Randy Savage was always said to be from Bradenton Florida.
    I was unaware his real last name was Poffo!
    Back in the day, some of us guys at the Gym would try to imitate him, and some other wrestlers of the day.
    Ric Flair, Dusty Rhoades were all fair game to imitate.

  5. mark2001 Says:

    I’d imagine Jr. and Sr. went over all the tape in the offseason. So I expect he will be even better.

    Have to really love the fact that his dad is so supportive. Lesser dads feel badly or refuse to help their kids equal or surpass their achievements. Jr.s father is the kind of guy that is doing all he can to help his kid be the best he can be, even if he ends up surpasses his fathers achievements. Tip of the hat to you, SR. you deserve a great deal of credit. You sound like a great dad.

  6. Duane Says:

    Winfield is a solid pick, but I think Edwards may be that guy this year. He seems to be around the ball a lot when its in the air, and this is his third year in the system. Winfield made his leap last year when he came into the league during the pandemic, and played his way right into a starting role. I expect the entire secondary to be better this year. They are all young and talented. Should not be to far fetched to expect at least one to break out.

  7. FirstTimePoster Says:

    The last time I heard “leap”, it involved Simeon Rice on Monday Night vs the Colts in overtime in ’03. Bogus call then and I have never heard it called against ANY team since. I’m not bitter.

  8. SlyPirate Says:

    A better Winfield is actually tough to imagine. The only parallel I can make is Troy Palomalu. Can AWJ become a game-plan-wrecking-phenom? A constant disruptor the opposing offense can’t even account for?

    I can see it clearly. AWJ in the backfield, over the middle, causing turnovers. Diagnosing plays before the ball is even snapped.

    If AWJ makes that leap this defense is all time great.

  9. BucUToo Says:

    Had the pleasure of working with Lanny Poffo quite a few years ago. One of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. And Winfield is a beast. So him getting even better. Look out NFL.

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    Madden ’22 only has his rating as 83, and only gave him a 74 for tackling. I think some of it might be that the Bucs are so good in the game, that they have to balance things out a bit, but come on, Winfield is the second coming from Ronde Barber when it comes to tackling by a DB. For a rookie, he was insanely impressive.

    He’ll need to improve on his pass defense, but tackling and dissecting the offense, he’s already playing like a Pro-Bowler.

  11. Brandon Says:

    Considering Edwards is my favorite to start at FS and Winfield at SS, he’ll be able to make more plays at the LOS this year.