JACKSONVILLE – These are the dog days of training camp. Most everyone has a game under his belt and while it may not look like it they’re all just about ready to start playing games that matter.
They are from a mental standpoint, at least. The coaches, however, know better, which is why this is the perfect time for teams to start working out against rival clubs in an effort to get better.
Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston understands the challenge. On a day like today when he’ll be facing the Jaguars defense in practice, the test is more of a mental one than a physical one.
This then is one of those times when Winston’s leadership skills will be tested the most. This is when he has to find a way to rally everyone in an effort to get the most out of them, and he’s already at it.
After a sluggish first day of workouts against the Jaguars on Monday, Winston immediately issued the challenge to his teammates to show up and be better on Tuesday.
“One thing we know,’’ Winston said, “is we’ve got to stay in love with the grind. We’ve got to get better every single day. There’s no reason that we should be lagging right now, man.
“I mean the (regular) season is getting closer to us right now. It’s not getting further away from us. That’s the (important) part, so we’ve got to get pumped up.’’
The second episode of Hard Knocks, which will premier tonight at 10 p.m. on HBO, is expected to focus a bit on Winston and his leadership skills, but those skills will be tested long before that.
The Bucs and Jaguars are expected to spend a good part of today’s workout focusing on the red zone, a place where the Bucs faltered after moving the ball 92 yards on their opening drive against the Bengals on Friday.
Winston realizes that’s an area the Bucs definitely have to get better in, so today’s workout carries a little more importance than some and Winston knows strong results are expected.
“That’s why I love our coach,’’ Winston said, referring to Bucs coach Dirk Koetter. “He’s a perfectionist, and that’s the standard that we have to play to every day.
“And we can do it, and he knows that. That’s what coaches do – they push you to the edge. They push you because they want the best for you.’’