Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter willingly admits that at this time last year, he was a little hesitant to unleash quarterback Jameis Winston on opposing defenses.
Winston was throwing a lot of interceptions in practice back then and Koetter’s fear, which was borne out on opening day against the Titans when he threw two picks, was that Winston would do the same on games days. Early in his rookie season he had seven int’s in his first four games.
The result was a drastic change in approach, Koetter dialing back heavily on the number of aggressive downfield throws he was planning to make and opting instead for mostly safer choices.
Fast forward to this year and most of Koetter’s fears are gone. In their place is a new belief that, as a QB with 16 starts under his belt and having gone through a second full off season and pre-season in the offense, Winston is ready to play the aggressive style Koetter wants right from the get go.
“I feel a lot more confident because Jameis is practicing better,’’ Koetter said. “I go off of what I see in practice, and (at this time last year) we were still in that phase where Jameis was turning it over three or four times every day.
“He’s not doing that now. Now, that doesn’t mean that we’re never going to have a turnover again. But I am confident that Jameis can go out there and instead of playing defensive, we can be on the attack a little bit more.”
Winston had an impressive stretch after game four where he didn’t throw an interception in five of the next six games. That’s the Jameis the Bucs want to see starting this Sunday in the Georgia Dome.