Winston will have “every opportunity” to start Week One


As expected, the Buccaneers made quarterback Jameis Winston the first pick in the 2015 NFL draft. As assumed, it appears he’ll be installed right away as the starter.

“It’s pretty difficult to say with a straight face that we’re not going to give Jameis that opportunity to win it right away,” G.M. Jason Licht told PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio on Friday. “He’s the first overall pick. We think he’s very advanced in terms of his ability to play and pick up schemes and concepts and learn the playbook relative to most rookies, or any rookie we’ve scouted in recent history. So he’s gonna have every opportunity.”

The team’s willingness to make him the Week One starter (against the Titans and, most likely, No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota) becomes even more obvious when considering the strong conviction Licht and coach Lovie Smith developed regarding Winston. Peter King of recently detailed the team’s thought processes regarding the former Florida State quarterback.

Licht had his eyes on Winston a year ago, when the draft-day quarterback debate focused on Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. By the Rose Bowl, even though Oregon blew out Florida State and Winston had a Garo Yepremian moment, Licht and Smith knew Winston was their guy.

And so they embarked on doing their homework regarding Winston’s off-field issues, a process that potentially was skewed by the joint desire of Licht and Smith to select Winston with the first overall pick that was secured over Tennessee in part by the decision to bench key players during the second half of a Week 17 game against the Saints.

King raised the question of potential confirmation bias with Licht, who denied that the team found what it wanted to find and ultimately concluded what it wanted to conclude with Winston

“This was a thorough investigation,” Licht said. “We were not going to mistake charisma for character.”

While most of Winston’s incidents that can be attributed to being young and rambunctious (at best) or entitled (at worst), the sexual assault allegation carries the greatest concern.  But the Bucs didn’t interview his accuser, Erica Kinsman.  Last month, she filed a civil lawsuit against Winston.

“That was investigated three times,” Smith told King. “No charges were filed. I understand something happened. But when do you get to the point where you say, ‘We have to let the courts decide, and we abide by their ruling?’ They did not charge Jameis with anything. And at that point, I am going to make the judgment that I am not going to hold this incident against him.”

There’s another ruling to be made, however. And this one will turn on a much lower standard of proof. Ultimately, if a jury accepts Kinsman’s story over Winston’s, her version will prevail.

Regarding the question of getting the facts/allegations directly from Kinsman before the draft, the Bucs were in a no-win situation. If they’d interviewed her and drafted Winston anyway, her lawyers undoubtedly would have issued a press release on Friday morning expressing confusion and outrage at the team’s decision to disregard her explanation.

Either way, that portion of Winston’s off-field portfolio has a long way to go, with Kinsman and Winston inevitably giving depositions with starkly conflicting versions of the events and — barring a settlement — both of them testifying in open court at a trial.

Absent a settlement that Winston’s camp vows won’t happen, the process will be at times a distraction for Winston and the Buccaneers. The outcome could potentially end up being a major distraction for the player and the team, especially if Winston loses and is required to pay a seven-figure judgment to Kinsman.

23 responses to “Winston will have “every opportunity” to start Week One

  1. of course he will be the starter in week 1 but to bad for him in will be in a lovie smith offense. remember last season how McCown was going to be great because he was a veteran and he failed miserably even for him and let’s not what happened to a young guy who had flashed potential on a dysfunctional team as a rookie. his only hop now at a career is to get traded or cut and get as far away from tampa as possible. all the people worried about winston’s character and him getting away with the stuff he did in college rejoice! his punishment will be playing in what lovie calls offense, which means you will be asking whatever happened to him 5 years.

  2. Why no mention of roethlisberger, who has been given hundreds of millions of dollars. He was given a chance to rehab his image. Let this kid do the same..

  3. ….I really can’t stand QB’s wearing single digit number jerseys..#3? He should have picked #12…a ton of HOF QB’s have worn that number. I know it’s not a big deal…just a observation.

  4. He won’t lose. Her lies will be exposed yet again. She is praying for a settlement that will never come. Can’t wait to see her under oath…

  5. The ‘stat lovers’ wanted Mariota.

    The realists knew that Winston was the choice from day 1.

    This kid is going to thrive in Tampa. A realistic expectation for year 1: 3,000 yards – 25 tds – 15 int.

  6. Notice how differently the first two draft picks are being approached psychologically by their teams. The Buccaneers are saying Winston will have every opportunity to win the starting job. Meanwhile, the Titans have declared Mariota will be the week 1 starter. Could this be because the two quarterbacks are opposites in how they approach entitlement?

  7. Funny that Coetter said he picked up the first 15 plays of what he’d install in the offense when he came in for a visit in 45 minutes. But hey, he’s not that smart, right PFTer’s, lol?

  8. So, can someone help me out? What is Tampa Bay? The 4th or the 5th organization to clear Winston? At what point to we realize that it is not “confirmation bias” but maybe that everyone who has looked into this rape allegation isn’t part of some giant conspiracy to cover up for an individual most don’t even have ties to?

    But that would be too logical…

  9. And BTW, Kinsman couldn’t even reach that “much lower” burden of proof in her COC hearing against Winston late last year. You don’t think Winston’s attorneys is not going to hold that up in court and bash her over the head with it?

    As to if the jury believes Erica’s version of events over Winston’s…Which version of events?

    There’s like 8 of them…and it depends on which time of the day you ask her because she is liable to give you one version at high noon then another at midnight.

  10. Realfootballfan says:

    “Funny that Coetter said he picked up the first 15 plays of what he’d install in the offense when he came in for a visit in 45 minutes. But hey, he’s not that smart, right PFTer’s, lol?”

    Winston’s more informed critics never said he wasn’t smart. On the contrary, he’s highly intelligent. (He had almost the same exact score on the Wonderlic as Peyton Manning.) … But, like many intelligent people, it’s common sense that Jameis Winston completely lacks. Completely.

  11. tennesseeoilers ,
    You must not read these comment sections then, lol. Jovial and likes to make people laugh, yes (btw, that’s the same thing people said about Donnavan McNabb, Eli Manning, Brett Favre, and a few more QBs over the years, but I understand people have a narrative to sell). Extremely hard working too though, so it shouldn’t really matter should it if when it’s time to work, he’s serious as a heart attack about it, should it? Btw, the personality he has is his dad’s personality because he likes to joke around and have fun too, but that’s also the man that pushed him the hardest when he was growing up. I think that’s who we always say we wish all these young athletes and young people were like right? You wish they had real role models in their lives, but you’re criticizing him for being like his Pops, a fun loving, jovial person that still knows when to turn that off when it’s time to punch the clock. The thing all of us FSU fans know about the kid is one of the first things he’s said repeatedly since Thursday night, I just work. I’m ready to go to work. That’s why he’ll be very good in that league.

  12. Just a few facts from TB fan here….

    Dirk Koetter is the Offensive Coordinator not Lovie. Lovie is hands off from all reports.

    There is another #3 (Wilson) up in Seattle that has done pretty well with the number….not HOF but he certainly has shown he has the stuff to play at a high level. #3 was also Winston’s high school number so maybe he had good reason to be #3. Its his choice.

    I suspect many of the Winston haters will be running to the back of the bandwagon when he lights it up this year against the lesser teams. I know the NE, SEA, and GB of the world will still eat us alive for now as the rook learns the NFL.

    I wanted Mariota over Winston but my team chose otherwise and I respect that…and support Winston now. I wish some of you would just give this kid a chance and let him fail rather that assuming failure is assured.

  13. I suspect many of the Winston haters will be running to the back of the bandwagon when he lights it up this year against the lesser teams. I know the NE, SEA, and GB of the world will still eat us alive for now as the rook learns the NFL.
    I’m a Winston supporter but wanted to point out that the Bucs don’t play NE, SEA or GB or this year! They actually have the 4th easiest schedule in the NFL so hopefully Winston will be able to really excel his rookie year!

  14. Compared Jameis Winston to Floyd “Moolah” Mayweather Junior, Winston is a saint who will hard for the money. Good luck Jameis with new your career in the National Football League.

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