Patriots

Winston on playing 'inspiration' Brady: 'A chance to witness greatness'

The question seemed pretty generic. It had to do with the opportunity the Bucs had in front of them with the Patriots coming to town on Thursday night.

Where the answer went from there painted a picture of a young man getting the opportunity to play against his idol for the first time. The young man in this instance is Jameis Winston. His idol? Tom Brady, whom he'll be tasked with trying to beat.

"Really just a blessing for me personally," Jameis Winston said. "I don’t like talking about me, but to get a chance to witness greatness in front of us with Tom Brady coming into town, it gets you pumped up. It definitely makes you think about how hard you worked to get to this point. I’m thinking about what I’m going to say to him when I see him and meet him."

Winston watched film of Brady and others in the offseason, which was a quasi-continuation of what he did growing up, following Brady and his contemporaries from afar as a fan.

"Growing up, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, guys of that nature and more, every successful quarterback that was playing when I was coming up, I admired them," he said. "Tom Brady, in particular, he is the winningest. He has won more Super Bowls than each of those guys, so to me that is the most important part.

"His ability to protect the football and take advantage of those opportunities when they are given to him is impeccable. Just studying him, just seeing how calm he is [and] how precise he is, is very impressive. That is the reason why every offseason, every rep I get during the season that I’m trying to be better and better because I know that he’s still out there playing. He’s still getting better and better. He should be an inspiration."

Winston is one of the best young quarterbacks in football, who has shown improvement already from last season to this one, but there is certainly room for him to be more precise. He's completing 63 percent of his passes this year (19th in the NFL) and averaging a pick per game through three games. But thanks to some big-play weapons and an ability to extend plays within the pocket, Winston's numbers in terms of rating (No. 10 in the league) in terms of rating and he's sixth in the league in yards per attempt.

Winston -- who Brady touted as "a great leader, has been since he came into the league" -- said he won't necessarily take his leadership cues from Brady. He has a style all his own he's taken with him to the league from Florida State.

But in terms of playing style? He's open to being more like the guy who he considers walking, talking, passing greatness.

“You see his leadership with his team. We have all different types of leadership within teams," Winston explained. "Obviously, he’s a great leader, [but] I’m talking about play because that is very important. Imitating his leadership is huge, but the way that he plays . . . if you can imitate that, you’ll have more people happier with you."