Jameis Winston -- to simply put it -- is an enigma on the football field.
His 5,109 passing yards in 2019 and jaw-dropping throws demonstrate just how talented the former No. 1 overall pick is. At the same time, his 30 interceptions in 2019 and questionable playmaking decisions make it impossible to ignore the negatives. When he's good, he can pick apart any defense. When he's bad, it's hard to know what's going to happen.
Winston's variability on the field has led him to where he is today: a backup for the New Orleans Saints. Despite his time as a starter and statistical success, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not bring him back on a new contract. Other NFL teams showed little interest in making him a starter, leading him to take a one-year, backup deal.
In an interview with Bleacher Report, Winston detailed how he's handling his new situation. Making changes to his game, the quarterback doesn't see this as the end of his time as a starter in the NFL, but rather a pit stop before he once again heads toward a chance at stardom.
"It's a love of the game, bro. It's bigger than me," Winston said. "Do I feel like I've earned my stripes? I do. Do I feel like I'm better than a lot of starting quarterbacks in this league? I do. But God has a plan that I haven't even thought of yet. I have to respect this game first. Respect is earned.
"This is not over for me," he said.
At just 26 years old, Winston understands he has plenty of good years of football left in him. But to get the opportunity to show that, he'll need to make changes. This offseason, he's begun retooling both his body and his mind. A vegan diet has allowed him to drop around 17 pounds, while innovative drills have allowed him to fine-tune his footwork and pocket presence.
At the same time, Winston will be able to sharpen his mind by sharing a room with Drew Brees. There, he'll be able to study how the long-time passer succeeds first hand, rather than looking up his workouts and tendencies on the internet.
"It's different when you have someone who's a Hall of Fame quarterback that you can ask," Winston told Bleacher Report. "He can say, 'Hey, bro, don't watch this stuff. Just watch me. Come work out with me. Let's work out together. Let's do this again. Let's watch film together.' Now he has no choice, because I'm going to be sitting in the room. I'm going to be with him every day."
Winston isn't alone in the path he's decided to take. The quarterback is essentially following in the footsteps of Teddy Bridgewater, who spent the last two seasons in New Orleans learning from Brees and company while getting the chance to show his skill. Bridgewater's journey was due to injury, but his decision to settle for a backup role rather than force something else paid off in the long run. This offseason, Bridgewater signed a three-year, $63 million contract with the Carolina Panthers.
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However, Bridgewater is more the exception than the standard when it comes to backup quarterbacks. More often than not, being No. 2 on a depth chart makes it challenging to get back to No. 1, no matter how good a passer once looked on the field. Robert Griffin III -- another injury example -- can attest to that. Despite a dominant rookie season that showed his true ceiling he's never been able to earn a starting spot, though he's not giving up just yet.
Only time will tell if this route works for Winston. If it does, the Redskins could once again see him down the road, whether it be as Brees' heir or a starter somewhere else. Yet no matter where he ends up, he believes that other teams will one day fear to see him under center.
"I know what I'm worth," Winston said. "And I know day in and day out, without publicly coming in and saying it, that historically I'm one of the best quarterbacks to play the game."
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