If you missed it over the weekend, Evan Winter and myself had an opportunity to speak with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston prior to his foundation’s football camp this past Friday.
While most of the conversation was focused on the event and foundation itself, we did get in some football talk with the man a lot of people are expecting to have a career year under new head coach Bruce Arians.
But it wasn’t Arians that Winston was excited about today. Instead it was new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.
Asked how impactful it’s been having a teammate in Blaine Gabbert who played under Arians and Leftwich in 2017 with the Arizona Cardinals, Winston praised the veteran but also shifted to his coordinator.
“Man, what’s so unique about what B.A. did was not only do we have Blaine who’s a former quarterback in his system, but we got Byron Leftwich.” Winston said. “..having Byron in that quarterback room; playing the position, excelling in the position and playing under B.A. you know, winning a Super Bowl with Pittsburgh, I think that has been something that has been a huge thing that means a lot to our whole team.”
Leftwich was a back-up quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008 when the team defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl. He would return to the Steelers in 2010 to play one more season for Arians before the coach headed Indianapolis starting with the 2012 season.
After retiring Leftwich reunited with Arians in Arizona first as a coaching intern, then as the team’s quarterbacks coach, and eventually moved up to be the team’s offensive coordinator before being fired when Steve Wilks was unceremoniously dismissed after just one season with the Cardinals.
As much as Arians and Winston have been connected, the connection between Arians and Leftwich may be just as important and how the coordinator connects with his quarterback will be critical to the team’s success in 2019 at a minimum.
Based on these comments made on Friday from Winston, signs are pointing north for the quarterback and his relationship with the new coaching staff. We talked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback about more than just football though as he was getting set to host athletes from Special Olympics Florida at his Dream Forever Foundation football camp, so if you missed the conversation check it out on both the Locked On Bucs and North and South Podcasts.