Jameis Winston's work this offseason has been exemplary, as far as we can tell, but we don't really know much about how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have worked with him. How quickly are they bringing him up to speed, what are they focusing on, how are they coaching him up?
Alex Marvez of Fox Sports has a few answers in a lengthy column featuring interviews with Lovie Smith, Dirk Koetter and Winston himself.
"We said we could probably slow down a little bit and give Jameis more immediate success right now in practice," Koetter said. "But look, we're not game-planning for our defense or the Tennessee Titans (in Week 1). We're learning a system.
"We're going to have a huge amount of volume in right now, way more than we would ever have in one game. We have enough stuff right now for 10 game plans. We're putting in stuff we're going to use over the course of a whole season. It will all get shrunk down and Jameis will have input on that. We purposely made a decision that we're going to throw a huge book at him and see what sticks."
So far, so good -- or at least that's the message we're getting from the offseason workouts. Winston's done well, and everyone's impressed. But he's not perfect yet: Koetter also told Marvez that Winston has two things he has to learn right now: the language of the offense, especially in the context of a no-huddle situation, and all the different dropbacks.
"The old days of just having three-, five- or seven-step (are over). We have a lot of different kinds of drops based upon whether you're under center, in the shotgun, if play-action is involved or if we're moving the pocket. Each play calls for its own set of footwork. Even within that, it might be a certain type of footwork if you're throwing to the left against one coverage and a different set of footwork if you're throwing to the right against another coverage.
This is not something you hear offensive coordinators talk about a lot, but it's definitely true. Every throw features some kind of a dropback, whether it's just taking one foot back after receiving the snap from the shotgun, or a lengthy seven-step dropback from under center. And a lot of those dropbacks are timed with receivers' routes -- on the third step, a quick slant should be open. On the fifth step, a seam route. The seventh step, a deep out. And all of that is complicated by the addition of a lot of different dropbacks. That timing is crucial in any NFL offense, and Winston has already had some exposure to those dropbacks in college.
There's a lot more in that article that you should read, including bits on why Dirk Koetter and Mike Bajakian were hired as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. But one final thing that stood out was yet another one Winston's famous work ethic: he's planning to hang around team headquarters for much of the next six weeks before training camp, and will hold an unofficial training camp with the wide receivers at some point as well.
Winston is primed to succeed in the NFL. Now it's just a matter of translating the offseason work to live NFL football.