Jameis Winston no longer has a starting job. He still has plenty of confidence.
“I know what I’m worth,” Winston recently told Tyler Dunne of BleacherReport.com. “And I know day in and day out, without publicly coming in and saying it, that historically I’m one of the best quarterbacks to play the game.”
And he’s now publicly come out and said it. He publicly said even more.
“Do I feel like I’m better than a lot of starting quarterbacks in this league?” Winston said. “I do. But God has a plan that I haven’t even thought of yet. I have to respect this game first. Respect is earned.”
Winston will need to do something to earn another starting job, thanks to his 30-interception performance in 2019, one that highlights his propensity for trying to do more than he can.
“My entire life, I’ve been a winner,” Winston said. “Little League football. Middle school. High school. College. Obviously, the NFL is a little more difficult. But I’ve been a winner. I don’t want to be viewed as a loser. It’s going to come. It’s going to happen. This is something I’ve been fighting for my entire life. Building up to this.”
Winston had his chance to keep his starting job in Tampa. Entering the final two weeks of the 2019 season, Winston and the Bucs had won four in a row, moving the team’s record to 7-7. And then it fell apart for Winston and the Bucs, with four interceptions against the Texans and two against the Falcons, including an overtime pick-six than ended the year and Winston’s Tampa career.
“If people think I’m just going to lay down and give up because of a few losing seasons, that’s never going to be the case,” Winston said. “It’s not over for me.”
He resents his current perception as being an over-the-hill, used-up passer.
“I’m 26,” Winston told Dunne. “There’s people talking about me like I’m an old, washed-up quarterback. Like I’m 40 years old! I’ve got so much life. I’ve got so much energy, man. . . . This is not over for me.”
So what should we expect?
“Expect to see the national championship, Rookie of the Year, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback being the best version of himself, taking care of the football, bombing the ball down the field, throwing touchdown after touchdown, leading the pack and being cool as the other side of the pillow,” Winston said.
Taking care of the football is the key, and Winston realizes that he needs to learn how and then to throw the ball away. His inability to do that has left him without a starting job; before he ever gets another one, he’ll have to prove that he’s a different player than he has been.