In each of his two career preseason games, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has scored a touchdown by diving head first into the end zone. He also has resisted sliding when not running for the goal line.
The Buccaneers want him to be more careful with his body.
"[W]e don’t run an option football,” coach Lovie Smith said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “We want to protect our quarterback. Sometimes the play calls for you to get what you can and get down. We need to work on him getting down. We’re not going to put him at risk an awful lot, but it’s football. Believe me, we know who we have there, and we want to keep him protected.”
“Jameis is such a competitor, he has a hard time cutting his losses,” offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “He doesn’t ever want to cut his losses. That’s good and bad. That’s well documented. He’s going to make some plays, and we’re going to love him, and there’s going to be some other times we’re going to say, ‘Get down! Get down!’ That’s how it’s going to be, so get used to it. We’re working on it, but get used to it.”
Winston knows that he can’t play well unless he’s able to play. And he won’t be able to play if he’s injured.
“I got to learn that, because I love to compete, I love to be competitive,” Winston said. “But at the end of the day, it’s like Coach Koetter says, you’ve got to know just when to leave it alone. And I’m young right now and I love the action. You know, as quarterbacks, we don’t get hit at practice, so I want to go in there in the preseason and get it out of the way. . . . It’s going to take some time for me to adjust. But I know I’ve got to protect my body, and I’ve got to protect this team by staying injury-free.’'
Already, Winston has taken too many risks with his body. With 16 regular-season games looming, Winston needs to figure out how to protect himself, quickly.