Oh Lovie certainly sent us all in a tizzy earlier this week didn't he? By proclaiming the Bucs were okay with star QB prospect Jameis Winston's sordid past, many assumed that automatically indicated where the Bucs were leaning. After all, it seemed he and Bucs GM Jason Licht were putting together a preemptive strike against the bad press of drafting Winston by saying he was exonerated in the ugly sexual assault allegations that have been a black cloud over Winston throughout his career at Florida State. Of course, one must be charged to be exonerated and Winston never was.
Regardless of issues with terminology for the Bucs the book was closed on this issue. Or is it?
The MMQB's Greg Bedard reminded us of a very important point - Lovie Lies. We're not saying he's a dishonest person, but Lovie definitely shields the truth when it comes to the media. Rarely is he open and frank. From Darrelle Revis to Mike Glennon to Mike Williams, we've seen Lovie tell us one thing and do exactly the opposite. It's coach speak 101. Tell the media what they want to hear, let them go off on the wrong direction and then do what you really want to do.
With both him and Licht going out of their way to say they're okay with Jameis, it truly felt like they were just prepping the fanbase and getting ahead of the Winston backlash. But if you think about Lovie, the man, and all that he believes in. His track record and history. Its hard to see him being okay with Jameis, no matter how great he looks on film. If you have one guy who is a little better on the field but has a terrible track record off of it and another guy who may take a little more time but has tremendous upside and is sparkling off the field, everything you could hope for in a young man. I don't know, I just don't know. Lovie needs to win immediately. He knows it and he knows this could be his last NFL HC gig. He's gotta get this right. Would a normally conservative coach like Lovie roll the dice on a prospect like Jameis? It would be highly out of character for him.
I personally believe Winston will be the pick in the end because Lovie can't wait for Mariota to develop. He's got to win now - this season - and out of the two Jameis may be better equipped to come in day one. If Lovie drafts Marcus, he might be doing it for the next coaching staff.
Still, he, Licht and the Glazer family might be able to sleep better at night because he won't worry about his QB being a knucklehead at 3am. That may be all they need to sway in that direction.