Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians knows a thing or two about quarterbacks. Last season, his team was led to the NFC Championship game by Carson Palmer, a 13-year NFL veteran and three-time Pro Bowler.
On Sunday, Arians and the Cardinals will be tasked with slowing down another talented quarterback in second-year Buccaneer Jameis Winston. The Cardinals coach holds Winston in high regard and knows his defense will be tested when the two teams meet in Arizona on Sunday.
"He would be fun to coach, there's no doubt about it," Arians said during a conference call on Wednesday. "He's a winner and a great leader and obviously a heck of a young quarterback."
Arians and Winston have somewhat of a history. Winston attended a camp Arians hosted when Winston was younger and the quarterback left a good impression. Since then, Arians has followed Winston's career closely.
"'Jaboo' is legend in Birmingham," Arians said. "My son lived in Birmingham - we had a little football camp back then in Birmingham and he threw one day. We had a bunch of local kids there and one of his high school coaches was a good friend of mine, so we've known him and watched him grow and we're very, very proud of him."
When Winston attended the camp, it was more than a decade ago. But he still has one vivid memory of his time there.
"One thing I just remember is him showing me those Super Bowl rings, and I still haven't gotten one yet, so I'm shooting for that," Winston said. "He really motivated me to go after a Super Bowl. He showed me that Pittsburgh one and it was gorgeous, so he really inspired me to go after a Super Bowl."
Pictures of Jameis Winston during the Bucs' season opener against the Falcons.
There is mutual respect between Winston and Arians, but make no mistake – both have their sights set on beating each other. The Buccaneers have a 1-0 record, and a win would make them 2-0 heading into their home opener. After nearly reaching the Super Bowl a year ago, the Cardinals dropped their first game and are seeking their first win.
"I'm pretty sure after the game I'll give him a big hug, but we're playing against the Arizona Cardinals," Winston said. "We've got to get ready to play these guys. These guys are a good team."