The Day Lovie Smith tipped Tampa’s Hand

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Today was the day – I’ll always remember this day.

During the NFL owners meetings in Arizona, the NFC coaches breakfast to be exact; Lovie Smith basically said the Buccaneers as of today are drafting Jameis Winston.

When asked at the owners meeting Wednesday if it would be an “erroneous assumption,” to believe the Bucs will choose Winston over Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota or another player, Smith shook his head.

“No, I wouldn’t say it’s an erroneous assumption,” Smith said. “I would say when people make that assumption, we haven’t had the pro workout (for Winston) yet. But we’ve done a lot of research, have watched a lot of video and had both of them in and talked with them individually and had them on the board. But the process, the game isn’t over yet. I think you can have a leader, but you have to let the game play out, and we’re doing that.

“We’re excited about this final stage almost to decide exactly which direction to go.”

Winston’s pro day is this coming Tuesday. My DVR is already set. It really is the final chapter in what will decide if Winston ends up in Tampa if he’s not already the pick for Tampa.

Hear the full audio of Lovie Smith today here.

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Tampa Ownership ‘Comfortable’ with Jameis Winston

This is hardly groundbreaking, as it’s been reported before over at Walter Football prior to Jameis Winston making an official visit to One Buc Place in Tampa. But Joel Glazer says that the Buccaneers ownership is ‘comfortable’ with the presumptive number one overall pick.

“You know, we spent a lot of time with Jameis. We spent a lot of time with Marcus Mariota. There are other potential players that could be up there with the first pick. But yes, we as an organization are comfortable. We’re comfortable with Jameis,” Glazer said, via JoeBucsFan.com

“We found both Jameis and Marcus to be impressive young men when we spent our time with them. Great success in college. Both academically very successful. Unbelievable amount of work on both players and other potential players in this draft. We as an organization are comfortable.”

To me, this just isn’t ground-breaking. I am a little bit tired of the little poker game that the Tampa organization is needlessly playing with Winston while he makes visits to the Titans and Jets. In my mind, they should get Winston signed, get the suspense out of the way; trust in what others have told them leading up to the draft and give the man a playbook. Make him yours, put your stamp on the organization and start divulging energy into other things.

Charles Davis of NFL Network said the following on last night’s edition of ‘Path to the Draft’:

“I think [the Bucs] will go all the way down to the wire and then go on the clock and [then] announce that Jameis Winston is their guy,” Davis said. “Why? Becuase of everything that has happened in the past. I believe they want [Winston] to prove all the way through, no more hiccups. No more bobbles. No more off-the-field quote/unquote incidents.

“[Winston] has been doing a fantastic job on the run up to this. I mean, I don’t think he could have done a better job in answering the questions along the way, lighting up a room wherever he went, dominating things at the combine — the visits with teams? All I have heard is just off-the-charts with him.

“But I don’t know if Tampa will afford him that luxury of, ‘OK, he’s our guy.’ And 30 days out [from the draft], start negotiating.”

So perhaps this is the reason – albeit not a good one – but a reason the Buccaneers are being so damn coy about this right down to the end.

I’m watching the 1992 AFC Wildcard game “The Comeback” between the Houston Oilers and the Buffalo Bills. It got me thinking about something else. Winston enters the league – why is he not a perfect fit for a modified Run and Shoot type offense?

It would help the Tampa run game, and Winston can make the calls at the line to decide when to run the ball (when he sees five in the box). Sure, Winston lacks the mobility the offense calls for, but he certainly has the quick release needed for it.

In this game I am watching, the Oilers possessed a 35-3 lead at one point. Everyone seems to know that part of history. What they likely don’t know, is that the Oilers called just four run plays to 22 pass plays down the stretch of the game, failing to salt away the clock and seal the sure victory.

Still would like to see Winston throwing to the Tampa receivers in some iteration of the run and shoot.

NFL Veteran Combine Post

Here are notes as I watch the NFL Veteran Combine (a first-time NFL event) that received one hour’s worth of run-time on NFL Network.

  • Just turned it on to see Brady Quinn kind of leading off the show, saying all the right things; under-throwing a few receivers deep. Apparently this isn’t live because I saw this post on NFL.com earlier today. Still has that same delivery I remember from Cleveland.
  • Dan Jeremiah said between Quinn, Mike Kafka and Tyler Wilson; these guys have a real chance to stick this year on a roster because after the top two QB’s it’s not a deep or great draft class.
  • Lots of Michael Sam coverage – can this guy just go the Hell away? No one cares! Wake me up when a gay guy who can play football at the NFL level comes out.
  • Jamaal Anderson the Defensive End is going through some drills. They said he ‘moved well today’, I didn’t realize his production was limited to 7.5 sacks in six seasons!
  • Jeremiah says that Anderson is a 3-4 DE that can play the run downs as a big body. I would bet he gets another shot.
  • Felix Jones, back from the dead! Jeremiah says if he can block and catch he can get back in the league as a third-down back. Solomon Wilcotts says perform a physical and make sure he’s 100% and then he can be helpful in some situational spots in games.
  • Michael Bush and Mikel Leshoure are mentioned, Leshoure apparently looked better than Bush and ‘has some juice left’ Jeremiah says.
  • Just read this post about Michael Bush, it’s kind of sad.
  • I missed a significant portion of what happened next because I was getting my four month old settled before bed.

Dan Marino, the 90’s, and a blockbuster commercial

I remember this commercial rolled out around the time I first got my Sega Genesis back in 1993. I didn’t have a ton of games to start, but I had Madden 92′ and Sonic the Hedgehog. It was a magical time in my life. Madden was the most amazing video game football experience that I had ever had to that point. Sonic was what all the kids were playing.

I remember instead of buying new games, my parents were big on blockbuster rentals. To me, this opened an entire new world. I recall renting games like hockey (later bought it) and The Simpsons.

So much back in that day in age of 1993 that I remember well:

  • Dan Marino and that Blockbuster commercial – him playing the same Madden game that I did. Marino was pretty much on top of the world still in ’93 except for that gruesome leg injury.
  • My grandma LOVED her some Danny Marino as she called him. If the Bengals weren’t playing, she was sure to have the Dolphins and Don Shula on. I was very close with my grandparents (now departed) around this time. They moved in with my mom and I and it was one of the happier years of my life due to their presence.
  • Bret Hart – my favorite wrestler of all time – was just coming into his own and had his first run as WWF World Heavyweight Champion at this time. I was real into WWF during this era.
  • The NFL was awesome back in 1993. The game hadn’t gone so corporate yet. Field turf wasn’t infiltrating every stadium slowly one by one. Teams still wore a lot of traditional uniforms instead of the stupid Pro-Combat look they’ve switched to today. Guys didn’t change teams quite as often. By all accounts, the NFL might be more popular in present day; but it was a more meaningful game back in 1993.

Just had to throw this up here on the blog.

Your Daily Jameis

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This is your daily bread – our daily bit of Jameis Winston news in the final 40 days leading up to the NFL draft.

Yesterday a report came out on JoeBucsFan that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are displeased with the overall make-up of Marcus Mariota’s character and ‘laid back’ nature.

“The other thing that [the Bucs] are not a big fan of, and you’re going to hear more about this, they are not big fans of his personality,” Cummings said. “And you’ve got one very engaging guy with loads of charisma. He’s likeable when you get around him, in Jameis Winston. And then you’ve got another guy who’s very introverted, very quiet. He doesn’t really command your attention when you’re around him, a very quiet soft-spoken guy.

“The Bucs are looking at it and saying, you know, ‘I got a guy here that kind of grabs you by the throat when he’s in the huddle and says, ‘We’re going guys. We’ve got 82 yards to go. We’ve got a minute and 12 seconds to do it. We’re going to get there.’ And then you’ve got another guy who, I don’t know what he says in the huddle, but it doesn’t come across that way, at least according to scouts it doesn’t.

“So I think the Bucs are in the camp that they’re a little bit concerned about that guy, not the face of the franchise, the leader of the football team,” Cummings said. “I think they want the leader who has more natural leadership abilities.”

This report has been backed up that more teams aside from just Tampa Bay are a bit disturbed about Mariota not minding if he doesn’t hear his name called number one overall on April 30th.

What it all points to is more probability that Jameis Winston is the number one overall pick, making his visit recently scheduled with the Tennessee Titans no more than a formality.

I like Mariota enough as a prospect, but in the NFL you need to be almost ‘alpha-dog’ competitive. Mariota isn’t even a beta-dog. Being a QB, you don’t have to be the most outlandish or boisterous personality out there, but you should definitely shed light on your competitiveness. This gives me an uneasy feeling for whatever team ends up with Mariota; there are times when you need to show fire and be able to get in someone’s ass. Even if guys like Eli Manning and Joe Montana have carved out Hall of Fame caliber careers by being quiet leaders, this is another thing that shows edge Winston in terms of a prospect.

Your Daily Jameis

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We are getting excited about the presumptive number one overall pick heading to Tampa. It seems steam is building.

On NFL Networks “Path to the Draft” there was a nice segment tonight about Winston and how his perception is changing around the NFL. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah dedicates his entire podcast to Winston, which I am listening to now; and talks about his arm strength and how he would rate it as a scout. You can hear the entire podcast at that link. It is 53 minutes plus of Jameis Talk.

I actually didn’t know that Winston was accepted at Stanford University. David Shaw was on Path to the Draft talking about how smart he was and how good he is at devouring concepts. Shaw said he was ‘close’ to landing Winston on The Farm.

In this article on Yahoo Sports, Greg Cosell breaks down the positives and negatives of Winston as a prospect.

As Joe Bucs Fan points out, Peter Schrager of FOX Sports has Jameis at #1 overall in his latest mock draft, and he references this snippet:

Winston showed up to Indianapolis last month with questions surrounding his draft stock. He answered many of them emphatically. Issues about his shoulder? He addressed them in both his interviews with teams and in his workout on Saturday, throwing the ball better than any other prospect in the field. Questions about how he’d handle media? He took care of those with a confident approach to the many inquiries he was faced with. His 4.91 40-yard dash? One NFL executive said: “It’s just about what we expected. And we’re looking for the best quarterback in this draft, not the best track star.” Winston was confident and borderline cocky, and another league executive said he “loved the presence.” He’s a fiery competitor, he loves football, and his teammates love him. I’m told Tampa Bay’s two-day meeting with Winston earlier this month went very well, and an NFL front office executive described his team’s meeting with Winston in Indianapolis as “extremely impressive.” There may be off-field concerns, but when it comes to an NFL quarterback who’s ready to start Day 1, he could be the most prepared for the challenge since Andrew Luck. This pick could end up being the most important one of Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht’s career.

The Tampa Bay Times does a sweep of recent mock drafts and shows that it’s 14 to 0 (Jameis vs. the rest of the field).

The Tampa Bay Times also has a feature called the “Winstota Meter”. Here’s a look at it currently, though it hasn’t been updated since Mariota’s pro day:

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This is really happening. Winston is pulling away. Since we began this post, we are now officially 42 days, 23 hours, and a matter of seconds from the NFL Draft starting and Winston becoming the #1 overall pick; beginning his reign of terror against NFL defenses.

Pencil him in as the Bucs anchor to the entire draft. Tampa Bay would be wise to trade into the end of the first round (risk a future pick to do it or multiple) and get a left tackle. Even if there is no franchise left tackle.

More Winston notes

Until this guy is picked by Tampa on April 30th (or signed to a deal sooner to take some of the suspense out of things), we’re going to keep linking stuff that is Jameis Winston related:

 

    • ESPN NFL Nation Yasinskas says Mariota would almost have to blow away the Buccaneers in his visit taken today at One Buc Place to change Tampa’s mind from drafting Jameis Winston. Pat Y. says the ‘odds are Winston will end up being the choice’.
    • Peter King said that Winston does not intend to attend the draft in Chicago and wonders when the last time a first overall pick was not present to shake the commissioner’s hand in person after being selected first. Our opinion is if Winston truly thinks he’s going one, he’s going to make a point to be there. This is done by his PR team at this point to show some humility.
    • Nice to see: