Peter King, formerly of Sports Illustrated, and now NBC Sports was asked by Tampa Bay Buccaneers.com staff writer Carmen Vitali what his impressions of Bruce Arians are compared to a year, year and a half ago. King had this to say:
“He was the classic case of a guy I thought would never coach again. I don’t know that he was necessarily burned out, I just think he had enough. He was at that age where you think, ok, he’s going to Lake Lanier in Georgia, and he’s going to golf and relax and do a lot of the family things that he never got to do when he was a coach. The one thing you never count on when somebody retires is sort of the feel that person gets when they’ve actually retired because it’s one thing to say, ok that’s it, it’s over. It’s another thing to wake up every morning and say, what am I going to do today? Even though I think he enjoyed television, I don’t think he was that passionate about it. I think going in and talking to coaches and being around teams and all that stuff, I think he after a while, he started to miss it. I think when Jason Licht called him, it was a pretty easy decision for him.”
Vitali then asked King what his thoughts were on Jameis Winston in his make or break season, and King responded with this:
“I think you can expect a guy who will have his best completion percentage of his life – college or pro. At least pro.”
Vitali interjects, “Is that because of the system or..?”
“It’s because Bruce Arians is going to stress to him, look, there’s a little bit of a dichotomy in Bruce Arians. Number one, everybody knows him as this guy who’s probably going to throw more deep balls than any coach in football. In 2015, when they were a dominant team in Arizona, Carson Palmer led the NFL in number of deep balls he threw. So, at first you think that, but he’s already told Jameis, I want you to throw to the back, get rid of it, throw checkdowns. Don’t try to throw it into tiny holes. To me, I just think that they will basically enforce efficiency with Jameis Winston. I know that it was always frustrating to Dirk Koetter that Jameis would throw some dumb interceptions, which he did do, but I think now, you’re going to see Jameis be a little bit more patient and a little bit more willing to take the little completions.”
That’s good news to hear someone of King’s stature say. It makes sense that these are some of the things that Winston must do to become a more efficient quarterback. From my perspective, I’ve always felt that Jameis had superb skills, and could become a very good player at the position for us. Obviously, his downfall has been consistency. He has never been able to put stretches of games together without making some senseless mistakes. Just when you think he’s finally got it, he has his Winston moments, and usually at the worst possible time, trying to force the issue when we need a big play. He has to learn that the chances for a big play will come, that until that happens, you have to take what the defense gives you, patience, patience. Winston has some very skilled players around him, and those players will at some point beat their man that is a given. He is only one man, and it’s a team sport, just be ready when those moments present themselves and put the pass on the mark. The rest should take care of itself. If not, that’s not on him. Every player can only be responsible for their job it’s when you start forcing things, that aren’t there, that problems arise. Go Bucs!!