There’s a reason Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter wanted to limit what he threw at quarterback Jameis Winston last year.
Because he had ringside seats for a first-round pick being overwhelmed, and he didn’t want it to happen again.
Koetter told Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com that he’s putting more and more on Winston’s plate this spring, and not just because Winston wasn’t ready for it as a rookie. He goes back to when he was offensive coordinator in Jacksonville, and Blaine Gabbert was taken 10th overall and started 14 games.
“I think when we had Blaine Gabbert in his first year—and I’m not criticizing anybody—but there’s an example where Blaine maybe got forced into situations a little bit too early,” Koetter said. “I’m a fan of Blaine and I wish him the best, except when he plays us.”
Gabbert has recovered slowly from his disastrous start, only now getting his feet back underneath him with the 49ers. But as it pertains to Winston, the progress Koetter has seen is more rapid.
They’re going to run more no-huddle this year, but also plan to give Winston more options at the line of scrimmage, allowing him to audible into plays he likes better.
“Jameis is a good communicator at the line, good at the no-huddle, studies like a wild man, and that’s what we love about him,” Koetter said. “I trust my judgment and I trust the judgment of our coaches. We’re around Jameis every day and we know what he’s capable of.”
And they know that by pacing him last year, he’s hopefully in a better position to implement that plan.