For those who hate him, they saw an arrogant jerk. For most others, they saw a well coached but charismatic Jameis Winston face the music today.
With the risk of being called a "Winstonite" or even worse an "FSU Homer" (for a Gator fan, there's no greater insult), Jameis killed this interview today. He was personable, engaging and funny. I can see why players gravitate towards him. His confidence is refreshing and stunning.
My jaw dropped when he dropped the "One thing about me is I plan on winning the Super Bowl next year so it going to be Jameis versus Peyton Manning and Jameis versus Tom Brady. I want to be viewed as like that. " Hell yes we need this type of fire in the Bucs' locker room.
Was some of his answers coached? Sure. How many times did he say "I want to be the face of the franchise" almost subliminal messaging the Bucs or another team to see him in that light? He dropped the Glazers by name. Showed love to Tampa (as you would expect). Made fun of himself and joked with the media "You lose four offensive linemen, Nick O'leary and Rashad Greene what would you do?"
The thing that impressed me is Winston knew the press was coming with knives drawn and he greeted them with a smile on his face and twinkle in his eye. By the end, he had the press in the palm of his hand, even if he used third person a couple times (JC hates that).
It was leaps and bounds better than milktoast Mariota, who had me nodding off with some of his answers. You want to talk coached? Listen to that kid, but be sure to drink a red bull first.
Back to Winston, some believe he's as good as he'll ever be and that Mariota has more growth and upside. Jameis made an excellent point (and one he pounded in a couple times in several different interviews on the day), this is the first off-season he's actually focused entirely on football. A two-sport athlete all his life, Jameis' time was split between baseball and football. Now with a singular focus, perhaps he can work on that pesky turnover problem that has so many worried.
Winston's baseball career likely contributed to the scare earlier in day when a doctor at the combine detected weakness in Winston's throwing shoulder requiring an extra MRI. He checked out fine, much to the relief of many Noles fans and maybe a few at One Buc Palace.
As for the off-the-field stuff, I know some of you were hoping regarding a certain case he'd go out and say, "I did it. I'm sorry" but that wasn't going to happen. It will never happen. No matter which way the press asked the question, his answer was going to be about looking forward.
But he did say clearly to question of whether the the off-the-field stuff is now behind him. He must prove it to his coaches by his actions, not his words.
"It’s important because I know how hard I’ve worked and it would be a privilege to get accepted by the Glazer family in Tampa. I know I have to gain their trust," Winston said, "I know I have to gain a lot of people’s trust. But whatever happens, this is just my opportunity and I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity because this is what I dream of. I dream of being a Hall of Famer one day and I dream of being the face of someone’s franchise."
There wasn't much else he could say.
One thing you can't say is he's boring. If Jaboo is the pick, It's going to be a fun year.