The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their offensive coaches available to the media today, which means we have dozens of largely predictable and meaningless quotes. One thing stood out, though: new offensive coordinator talking about how he was "dead wrong" about quarterback Jameis WInston. Greg Auman has the video.
Video: Bucs OC Todd Monken talks about what he's learned already about Jameis Winston. "He's a competitive joker." pic.twitter.com/Z82oqnve3n— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 19, 2016
For those of you who can't play the clip, here's the full quote via the Tampa Bay Times.
"I think that's one thing that's a misnomer. I think from the outside you would've looked at it with all the things that were publicized in the past about him and who he is. I was dead wrong. He wants to win as much as we do. He's a competitive joker, man, he's smart, he's intelligent...you can win a lot of games with guys like that.''
Monken went on to blame social media for the impression he had of Winston, which is kind of hilarious. You'd think that a former college coach of all people would know to separate a player's social media presence from his actual personality.
The chaff about Winston as a person off the field has always been a bit weird, and seemingly tied up with a lot of racial prejudice. He got busted at Florida State for a litany of minor incidents, and a rape accusation for which he was never charged remains an ugly stain on his resume. But despite that, there was never any question that he worked as hard as anyone on that team. And while he's often goofy and high-energy in his public appearances, everyone who was remotely close to him said he cared about winning.
But people find it really hard to divorce players' public image and visible personality, from the way they practice and play the game. During the draft, Jon Gruden disparaged players who were on social media, as if there aren't literally 1.5 billion people on Facebook. Billion! With a B! Players will have social media profiles, and the way they act and present themselves there has extremely little to do with their performance. And yet, somehow, every time some player's performance slips we see the same thing: they're not trying hard enough, they just don't care, they spend too much time on Instagram.
It's silly, but I guess we can't expect it to stop.