Smith: Jameis Winston to start as Bucs' quarterback
Bucs head coach Lovie Smith wasted no time in making his first training camp announcement. He did wait to tell the team. Smith wanted there to be no question about who is their starting quarterback.
"Jameis Winston will be our starting quarterback, he'll take the first reps tomorrow," Smith said. "We're excited about that."
Smith told Winston well before camp of his decision and he has no reservations about it.
"All this talk about Jameis needing a mentor. Jameis doesn't need a mentor, said Smith. "He's ready to take the reins and go with it."
Smith is well aware of the history and struggles that rookie quarterbacks have in their first season and he's not lowering his expectation for Winston because of it.
"I'm not going to go to Jameis and say, 'Ok, you know the history of rookie quarterbacks, said Smith. You guys aren't suppose to do well.' You're not going to set the bar too high. I just don't know how to do that. We expect him to do well and whatever he feels like he can do, I want to him to think that way. We'll manage what he does and the situations we put him in."
Getting Winston ready for opening week starts with Dirk Koetter, but the defense wants to be part his schooling as well.
"He's going to be tested during this camp, said defensive end George Johnson . He's going to be tested during this camp. We feel like we're going to be the best team to give him the test. And when we actually give him our all, he's going to get better, and then when he gets into the game feel like I've seen this before. 'Our guys play a lot tougher than this.' And he's going to play good."
With the Winston decision out of the way, what's the message that Lovie Smith wants to deliver to the rest of the team?
"I do have one, said Smith. I think I'll probably give it to them first. I don't believe I go in there and say 'Ok guys, here's the magic pill.' This is what we do. We're going to set some goals and from there my message is to say it's time for us to go to work. Show up on time everyday. Let us coach you, work hard and let's see how good of a football team we can become."
FOX 13's Kevin O'Donnell is at One Buc Place and will have updates throughout the weekend.