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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Winston, Koetter deny their relationship is strained

Roy Cummings

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA – The Buccaneers are now 4-9 on the year and as such not only are they guaranteed of another losing season, they are guaranteed to finish last in the NFC South for the sixth time in the last seven years.

Were those numbers and facts somehow reversed, you wouldn’t be hearing about friction between quarterback Jameis Winston and coach Dirk Koetter. That’s Winston’s take on the matter anyway.

Winston on Sunday responded to a report claiming his relationship with Koetter has soured by saying the reports are nothing more than a predictable byproduct of a season gone sour.

 “Listen, me and coach Koetter have a great relationship, first and foremost, and we have the same goal when we go out there on that football field and that’s to win the football game,’’ Winston said.

 “So, it doesn’t matter what anybody else can possibly say. Obviously, a lot of stuff can come out when we’re not doing as expected, but that’s false. Coach Koetter coaches his tail off and he definitely supports me.

“It’s a distraction and a lot of distractions comes up when we don’t perform like we need to perform.’’

Koetter as you probably expected denied there’s any abnormal friction between him and his quarterback as well, saying that he didn’t hear about the report until after the game and that it came as “news to me.’’

“I think Jameis and I have had an extremely consistent relationship for the last three years and I don’t think anything’s different about it but that’s just my opinion,’’ Koetter said.

The report also alleged that Winston has grown frustrated with Koetter’s offense because it’s too predictable. Winston didn’t flat out deny that claim, but he did say he welcomes the opportunity to execute an attack that’s more or less predictable.

“Being predictable, that’s what makes you a good football team, when they know what you’re going to do and you still go out there and you beat ‘em,’’ Winston said. “Being predictable, I don’t get that.

 “If you’re executing to the caliber that you’re supposed to execute, it doesn’t matter if they know you’re running power. If you run power and you execute power, you get it.

 “It doesn’t matter if they know you’re throwing the ball to Mike Evans. If the quarterback and Mike Evans are on the same page, it doesn’t; matter. Being that predictable that’s non-existent in my world.

 “I play the game with confidence and I play the game to dominate. And if a defense knows something is coming, I’m glad they know it’s coming. Now stop it. That’s football, it’s a man’s will against another man’s will.’’

 And in the case of the Winston-Koetter relationship story, it’s one man’s word against another man’s word. Or maybe it’s the word of two men, the reporter and his source, against two other men, Koetter and Winston.

Either way, there is sure to be some tension between Koetter and Winston and as Winston said, it’s more than likely a result of the fact both are locked in a losing season.

Winston isn’t used top losing, not yet anyway, and we know he doesn’t like it so he’s probably quite frustrated with most everything right now, including the offense he’s running.

But how can Winston be any more frustrated with Koetter than Koetter is with Winston, who all but gave another game away on Sunday by turning the ball over three more times.

No, he wasn’t the only one who turned the ball over for the Bucs, but he led the way yet again, and so if friction really does exist between he and Koetter, that’s probably the source of it.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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