There is no quarterback controversy in Tampa Bay because head coach Lovie Smith has already named rookie Jameis Winston as the Buccaneers starter. Winston was the Number 1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, after becoming one of the best college quarterbacks in the country. “Jameis Winston will be our starting quarterback. He will take first reps tomorrow. We’re excited about that,” Smith told the media. Coach Smith strongly believes Winston is the right guy for the job, otherwise he would have never named him the starter. “I would never put a guy in that position if he wasn’t ready for that. A lot has been said about Jameis and mentors. Jameis doesn’t need a mentor- Jameis is ready to take the reins and go with it,” Smith said.
Winston won the Heisman Trophy in 2013, becoming the youngest player to win college football’s most prestigious award. During his time at Florida State University, he also led the Seminoles to victory in the 2014 BCS National Championship Game. Despite his iconic college career, Winston’s off-the-field issues raised questions whether Winston was mature enough to be an NFL quarterback. He was accused of rape in 2012 by a female Florida State student, but the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. The quarterback also stole a pound of crab legs from a grocery store, but Winston claims he simply forgot to pay for the crabs. The controversy surrounding Winston didn’t stop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from drafting Winston the top pick in the draft, and Smith has stated the quarterback has already developed a strong rapport with wide receivers Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. “We have had a lot of evaluation of him. It’s where we feel like he is. We brought him here to be our quarterback and we feel like he is ready to take this next step,” Smith stated.
The Buccaneers will open the regular season on September 13th against the Tennessee Titans. Besides Winston, Mike Evans, and Vincent Jackson, the team’s other notable players include running back Doug Martin, running back Mike James, and wide receiver Louis Murphy. Mike Glennon is expected to be named the backup quarterback for Winston. The Buccaneers were a disappointing 2-14 last season, but they are hopeful Winston can help turn the team into a contender in the NFC South.