Bruce Arians says Buccaneers will be built around Jameis Winston, thinks QB 'can win it all'
Tampa Bay's new head coach said he has 'no qualms' about Winston being his guy
Just because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a head coaching change entering 2019 doesn't mean they'll also make a quarterback change.
A day after announcing Bruce Arians as Dirk Koetter's replacement and Jameis Winston is all but guaranteed to return as the starter in Tampa Bay.in the process, the new man in charge of the Bucs indicated that
Appearing on "The Rich Eisen Show" Wednesday, Arians was asked whether he trusted not only Winston's arm but his character, and the two-time Coach of the Year honoree expressed nothing but support for the team's former No. 1 overall draft pick.
"I've known him for a long time," Arians told Eisen. "We all make mistakes. He's made his. I've made mine. I feel like I've got a great feel for him, his excitement for the game. His willingness to work is unbelievable. He's in the office at 5 o'clock in the morning. And so, yeah, I have no qualms about that."
Winston, of course, had a troubled 2018. On the field, he was uneven in the fourth season of his NFL career, swapping starts with veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and finishing with just 19 touchdowns to 14 interceptions in a 5-11 last-place season. Off the field, he received a three-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy -- a punishment stemming from a November 2017 investigation into groping allegations made against Winston by a female Uber driver.
Arians, however, reminded Eisen that he's known the embattled Bucs quarterback since he was in high school, when Winston attended one of Arians' football camps, and suggested his Buccaneers team will be centered on the former Florida State star.
"There is no doubt," Arians said of Winston's role as the Bucs' starter. "No doubt. Everything is going to be built around him. I think he can win it all. He has the intelligence, the toughness and obviously the arm ability to lead a team."
Taken first overall in the 2015 draft, Winston set a franchise record for most touchdown passes as a rookie with 22, then broke the team record for passing yards in a 28-touchdown follow-up a year later. Since 2017, however, he's missed eight games and nine starts, failing to convince Koetter in 2018 that he belonged as Tampa's full-time starter. ESPN previously reported that the team intended to retain Winston on his $20-million fifth-year option in 2019.
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