Bucs coach sees game through player's eyes

Once a quarterback, Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich is now a mentor to the Buccaneers franchise's quarterback.

Leftwich will be calling the plays for Jameis Winston. 

Ten years ago, Leftwich began the 2009 season as the Bucs' starting quarterback under first-year coach, Raheem Morris.

Leftwich's experience as a nine-year veteran of the NFL informs his decisions as a coach, particularly when it comes to dealing with a young quarterback like Winston.

"When I am in this position I see things completely differently. It is a hard job to play quarterback in this league. I'm smart enough to know that it is really difficult, especially early on in a quarterback's career," Leftwich said.

Byron Leftwich was hired to coach quarterbacks by Bruce Arians when he was Arizona Cardinals' head coach in 2016. Last season, Leftwich took over as offensive coordinator after the Cardinals fired Mike McCoy.

When Arians came out of coaching retirement to take the helm in Tampa, Leftwich was his choice to handle the offense.

His job will not be an easy one. The Buccaneers struggled mightily to establish a run game in 2018, putting more pressure on Winston to perform in 3rd-and-long situations. Leftwich says his conversations with the Bucs' first overall draft pick of 2015 have one common theme: Mutual honesty.

"My first thing I told Jameis," said Leftwich, "I just need honesty. I don't care what the answer is, just give me honesty. 'Cause once I know how he's wired, how he thinks, then I can begin to call plays for him."