TAMPA, Fla. – Funny how the advice business works. Out of all the pearls of wisdom Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has acquired in his 23 years on this planet, his biggest source of motivation didn’t come from Dirk Koetter or Jimbo Fisher.
How about Dr. Seuss?
No, were not talking Green Eggs and Ham here. Winston’s mojo is fueled by a rather un-Sam-I-Am-like passage he heard from center Ali Marpet – straight from the Seuss book “Happy Birthday to You!”
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
“That really stuck with me because we are all our individual selves,” Winston said. “Nobody can be us more than us. It’s so simple.”
Being his truer-than-true self has served Winston well for the majority of his youthful NFL career. The Bucs’ budding superstar became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in his first two seasons.
Winston’s “Youer than You” isn’t all eye-popping stats, though. Some raise his coaches’ eyebrows. While he’s not afraid to take a chance between the lines, sometimes he crosses the line. In the past two years, he is second and third in the NFL, respectively, in interceptions. He’s also lost nine fumbles in that span.
Winston knows that entering Year 3, he must be smarter, yet not lose the essence of what got him this far.
“Change is good at times,” Winston said. “I’m working on my patience, but you are who you are.”
The stubborn young gunslinger knows he has history on his side. After all, Winston’s 33 interceptions after his first two years in the league are fewer than Peyton Manning (43), Dan Marino (38) and Brett Favre (37).
Winston doesn’t want to lose his ability to take chances. The goal now is to get better and play smarter.
“Most of those early turnovers were me trying to do too much. (They were) me trying to be the hero,” Winston said. “This is a team game and definitely with the weapons we have now, we’re going to be able to take advantage of every opportunity that we get. I’m getting better every single day.”
Winston’s team clearly looks up to its rising star. When I surveyed the locker room the past few weeks and asked them what they respect about their starting quarterback, you find a variety of answers.
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