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Jameis Winston: “Our job is primarily to protect the football”

Winston talked to ESPN’s First Take on Friday.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are everywhere, these days. In part because of Hard Knocks and the hype that comes with that show, but that’s only part of it. The Bucs are expected to do well this year, and everyone appears to be excited about Jameis Winston’s third season.

So, hey, Winston gets to go on ESPN’s First Take and all those shows. Winston’s always positive, which you can see above: Brent Grimes only gets better with age, DeSean Jackson is awesome, every teammate is going to do a good job—exactly what you want a quarterback to say.

One thing stood out to me, though. When asked about the defense and not turning the ball over, Winston said that “offensively, our job is primarily to protect the football and keep the defense off the field.”

That’ interesting statement. It’s kind of a cliche line, of course, and something Dirk Koetter would say as well. But it’s not really how Jameis Winston plays football, or has ever played football. He’s not the kind of quarterback who will do everything he can to limit turnovers, he’s the guy who tries to push the ball down the field and into tight windows, scrambling around to get more out of every play.

And that’s a good thing. It’s what makes Winston an exciting quarterback to watch, and it’s what makes him a successful player. He makes throws that very few NFL quarterbacks even attempt.

Thankfully, there’s little risk of Winston becoming a play-it-safe quarterback. The Bucs didn’t get DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard to have him throwing sprint-outs every other play. They want to push the ball down the field. That will come with a few more interceptions than, say, Alex Smith—but it’ll also come with a lot more success.