From a media and fan perspective, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians is a treat. Unlike some of his coaching cohorts, Arians usually tells you what he really thinks, aware that showing emotion or humanity over a football game won’t lead to the end of Western Civilization.
He was back at it on Monday, clearly still bothered by what he saw on Sunday, particularly from quarterback Jameis Winston.
‘With another quarterback? Oh yeah’
On Sunday, the 24th and final pass attempt from Winston was a game-ending pick-6, his second interception of the game and 30th of the season. He is now the first quarterback in league history to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 picks in one season.
It was also the final pass of his rookie contract. As the first overall pick in 2015, Winston has played out his five-year deal.
While Arians, regarded by some as a quarterback whisperer, was publicly supportive of Winston at times this year, earlier this month he denied that the team had decided to re-sign him beyond this year.
On Monday, he delivered quite the message to Winston.
Asked if the Buccaneers could win with another quarterback, Arians unhesitatingly said, “With another quarterback? Oh yeah. If we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too.”
To be clear, it’s not that Arians is wrong in his assessment, just that it’s rare to hear an NFL coach be so blunt.
For his part, Winston doesn’t seem to quite grasp why his terrible ball security is such an issue (he also had 12 fumbles this season).
Asked if he thought his turnovers might keep him from being in Tampa Bay next year, he said, “That’s the last thing on my mind. I’m focused on how I can get better. ... When you look at my numbers, I’m ballin’.”
Arians told media that the Buccaneers will take time to determine Winston’s future with the team — he could be franchise tagged, giving him one more season with Arians to see if he can put things together — but probably won’t make a public announcement.
“I would think within a few weeks we’ll have a decision which way we want to head,” he said. “Will we let it out? Probably not because you lose your leverage on that one, too. So stay tuned.”
Arians also said that Winston wasn’t benched because of the season-ending shoulder injury suffered by Blaine Gabbert in the preseason; the only other quarterback on the roster was 29-year-old Ryan Griffin, who was undrafted out of Tulane in 2013 and had never played a snap in the NFL before getting a few this month.
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