Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers Transcript: Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich

Below is a transcript from Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Video from media availability with the team's offensive coaches and special teams coaches can be found on Buccaneers.com.

Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich

(On how the progress is going working with Jameis Winston)

"Well, the best thing is we have to run the kid out of the building. As you know, this kid Jameis is here all the time. Jameis is here all the time working on his craft. So, as a coach you appreciate players that go about it the way he goes about it. So, it's excellent from that standpoint. Now, we just have to input the information that he needs to be able to execute this offense the way we would like him to execute the offense, but he's doing a hell of a job. He's picking it up quick. Now, it's just getting through the little new offenses and having an understanding of how we manipulate defenses and how we are able to operate at a high level." 

(On Winston progressing and working on his footwork)

"He's getting better. He's getting better - and with all quarterbacks, that's something that all quarterbacks do around the league. So, it's not just Jameis, but it's something as a quarterback you work on non-stop. The rest of your career, you're always working on footwork, because that really determines how accurate how the ball is going to be. The lower half of your body really operates the upper half, so we're just trying to get him as clean as possible. But yes, it's a lot of work we're doing and he's getting better piece by piece."

(On if the interceptions that Winston has had in the past have been the result of his footwork)

"Yes, but that's with everybody. That's with everybody. Most quarterbacks get in trouble when their feet are out of wack. When their feet get out of wack that's when the ball gets out of wack. So like I said, there's things that [are] universal with the position that we just have to constantly be on Jameis about. He's constantly getting better at it, but that's not a thing that takes one-two weeks to get better. It's a thing that takes time to get better and we just want to see him getting better day-by-day and piece-by-piece."

(On how much it helps to have players like QB Blaine Gabbert to help Winston progress)

"Blaine's a great help. Those two guys are hitting it off great and Blaine's done it before. Blaine's been in the system. I've been with Blaine in situations like this, so he's able to help out and that's why it's good to have veterans like Blaine. Blaine is going into his eighth [or] ninth year. He's seen a lot of different things [in] football. Fortunately for me, two years ago I was able to work with him in Arizona. To get a guy with that sort of talent inside the room is a beautiful thing for us as a staff and a beautiful thing for Jameis, because he's done some of these things. Jameis may not have done some of these things [that] we ask him to do, [so] It's always great to have another player to lean on for information."

(On how much Leftwich relies on the feedback Jameis gives him)

"Well play-calling is always about the quarterback, right? So, that's something that - the first thing I told Jameis is; I just need honesty; I don't care what the answer is, just give me honesty, because once I know how he's winding and how he thinks I can begin to call plays for him and that's how – it's the thing with Jameis, it must be truthful, it must be. I don't care how bad an answer is. I always tell him, 'I don't care what your answer is, just tell me what you were thinking on this situation, that situation,' because it helps me learn him and the more I can learn Jameis the better I can call plays for him. That's the most important thing as a play-caller. I don't think you can call plays for a guy and have continued success without knowing the guy. So, my whole part of this is just trying to learn what Jameis does well, what he may not do so well, and put him in position to be successful."

(On why Leftwich thinks turnovers have been such an issue in Winston's career)

"It's tough to say without being here."

(On if Winston's mentality has to change for him to avoid turnovers)

"I think the mentality with us as a whole must change, because a lot of these interceptions – we talk about it as a staff, right, wrong or indifferent you're down 28-7, around the league that's when interceptions begin to show up. So, as a whole, as a coach that's what I see. I say let's be in a better position, better predicaments to give him an opportunity to be successful. I know at the end of the day people just see interceptions [and] touchdowns. I get that, trust me. But, being in that position and now coaching that position I have an understanding when those little nuances and those little things begin to show up. So we're going to try and do a better job of creating an offense to help us score points and help us win football games and being more situational-football aware and try not to end up in situations that these guys have ended up in the past where it's 28-14, 27-10 in the second quarter – third quarter, where you're just chasing trying to play catch up, because around the league that's where most of the turnovers show up."

(On situational awareness of the game)

"That's the situational-football awareness that I'm talking about. Just having an understanding of this as a whole. You can't be offense-defense. You've got to have full awareness of the game in itself, and how it's going, and how it's happening. So, that's another thing I'm on him about, just football and situational-football awareness, because you can think of four or five plays in the game and that really determines if you win the game or not. I don't care how good the team is on paper, I don't care how bad the team is on paper. You look at the game and it's four or five plays on this level that really determines the outcome."

(On if it's been a transition for Winston to give honesty to Leftwich)

"I don't know. It's tough to say, because he's giving me what I'm asking him to, to be honest with you. So, I don't really know what has happened in the past. I'm just trying to show him the way that we're going to do it the best way we believe for us to have success and continued success. It's not just, 'Okay we played well this week.' No, we have to understand, we have to have the mindset [that] we expect to play well every week and I expect them to play well from a numbers standpoint, but putting our team in position to win football games, because ultimately that's what it's all about."

(On if it's hard for a quarterback to speak up when they think a play isn't going to work)

"It's actually easy for quarterbacks, because we think we run it anyways, right? We think we control everything. For the most part around the league we think we run everything, so that's the easy part. The tough, difficult situation is when you don't know somebody. When you don't know somebody, just like it is with everybody else, it's hard to really communicate and talk to people you don't know. So, we've been building from the day I've been in here, we're building. Jameis and I are building a friendship also, like I'm doing with the rest of these players, we're building friendships with these guys, because that's what you ultimately want. Family, everybody preaches family around the league, but this is what it means. It really means if you're going to be family this is what it takes. It takes the valuable relationship with everybody on the team and that's what we're doing as coaches."

(On if it takes Winston spending time away from the facility to process information)

"Well, he's over here from five-to-five every day. He can have the other 12 hours. He can have the other 12 hours to enjoy his family. Once he walks away from here I want him thinking football, but they key right now is that when he gets out of the building I believe in that. I believe in go enjoy your family, spend time and do that, because once we get started, it's non-stop every day. So, right now his kids over here so much sometimes. Sometimes I've got to tell them, 'You've got to get out of here,' That's how much he's putting in and I appreciate that as a coach, but there is a balance to it."

(On if Bruce Arians has rubbed off on Leftwich at all)

"Well, I've been with B.A. a long time, so he rubbed off on me a long time ago around 2001-2002, somewhere around there. We all know B.A.'s mindset, so the great thing is as a coordinator – I'm sure Todd feels the same way – but we all know B.A. I kind of know what he's thinking for the most part. I know how he sees the game. I've been in the room with him in Arizona. I was the guy sitting next to him, shoulder-to-shoulder. So, I understand the way B.A. thinks and the way he feels about this whole process. So, I have an understanding of where we need to be and where we have to go."

(On why Jameis thought he needed more armor)

"I have no clue."

(On if Leftwich has heard a quarterback say they want to be bigger)

"Yeah, but I don't know how true of a statement we're going to allow that to be. It's just, I heard that too, I heard that. I don't know how accurate of a statement that is. I'll ask him that question again after today."

(On Leftwich's impressions of the running backs)

"Well, I love what Peyton [Barber] gives us. I love the guys there's been – Dare [Ogunbowale], Sean [Wilson]. We've got some guys that can do something with the football. Guys like Rojo [Ronald Jones II] haven't had a lot of real opportunities. I know around the league that group may not be looked highly at around the league, but I like where we are at, to be honest with you. I like what Peyton brings. The tape really makes me have no worries when I watch Peyton play, to be honest with you. The tape says a lot of good stuff. He's a phone booth guy, knows how to make guys miss, drop his shoulder. May not be the fastest guy, but he's a runner with the football and it's more important that when you turn around to hand that football up, you're giving it to a runner, not a specific fast guy. He sees it as well, he makes the right cuts, so I'm perfectly fine with having Peyton in."

(On how Leftwich feels about the team; offense following the NFL Draft)

"I'm still confident with where we are as a team. I think we try to get better at all positions at every draft. Unfortunately for us, as an offense, we only got one guy. We got one guy, but like I said this thing is about team. This is really about team and what we can do to help us win football games. We'll bring the right layers in here that we feel fit to help us win football games and where we don't, we'll get better at those positions and we'll make – not that we have to make due, but I'm confident enough in what we have here as a roster standpoint to give me the confidence going into the year. Ultimately, it's health, but I'm confidence in the players that we have. I believe in that locker room in there. These guys have shown me – the way these guys have worked their butts off this summer. How serious, how important it is for these guys. That's all you can ask for as a coach. That's all you can ask, and they've given us everything from that standpoint."

(On if Leftwich will be on the field calling plays)

"Yes."

(On what Leftwich thinks of O.J. Howard)

"Man, I've never seen guys like that. It's hard to be around guys that can do what O.J. can do. He's very – there's not a lot of those human beings walking around on earth. Trust me, because everybody is looking for him. Everybody is looking fort the next O.J. Howard. He's a young guy in this process, but what he can do being that big, being able to run it's a match up nightmare for defenses. For me, I'm just trying to figure him out too. I'm trying to put him in positions, put him in some easy predicaments, put him in some tough predicaments, so I can see how many different ways I can use him right now and that's the thought process with everybody. Just put them in some unique, different situations that they may have never been in, just some thoughts that we can do, because of the talent level on this team and just try and put them in the position to always win. Trust me, it's good to see a guy that big run around the field and be able to run the routes and catch the ball the way he can do all those things."

(On having the mindset of winning games)

"I see it that way. I only see it that way. I don't even know how I could even begin to see the other part of it. As a staff, when you've been around staff, you have an idea, you have a feel, you know what we can and can't do. B.A. has a great idea of what we can and can't do. We all know B.A., he would have never given me this job if he didn't think I could do it or if he didn't see me ready to do it in some aspect. It's a lot of history there between me and B.A. Understand, I just want to win. The pressure is to win every year. I don't know anything different as a player and as a coach. Regardless of the situation, all 32 teams right now, they are thinking they are going to win this year. We're thinking we're going to prepare ourselves to win football games. All those other things, those are things for you guys to talk about on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to give stories throughout the year, but as a coach and a player, you never really think about that. All you see is the good. So, you're never thinking, I don't know how I could think, 'What if something doesn't go right?' That doesn't even make sense to me. I see everything going perfectly and I'll handle it when it doesn't."

(On how Arians is different now)

"He actually cusses less now than he ever did back then. You had to hear it back then, back then it was crazy. There was no governor on B.A. back then. He really said whatever, but now he's a head coach now so he knows how to stand in front of you guys. As you could see last year, I think he got reprimanded or something for cussing on TV. I don't know how they thought that was going to go 16 weeks without having it."

(On Leftwich's thoughts on giving up on quarterbacks too soon)

"Now I don't want to speak on anybody's players, so I don't want to talk about Josh [Rosen], but I have a lot of respect for what he can do as a football player, I really do. But the quarterback position is turning into a right now position, where it's never been that. It's never been that you drafted a quarterback – we say it's the hardest position in sports and then we draft a kid, not him, but just in general whoever comes out, and we throw them in the lineup. We've got to have an understanding that this kid may be only 21, 22, 23 when we drafted him we said he had these issues here and there and then we play him. Say you start him in Week 1. You just said we drafted this kid and he had this and got to get him better at that. A lot of those things you can't get better in three months, right? So, you stick a kid out there to lead the franchise and this kid is 19 years old and hell he barely know what's going on and you put him out there in a National Football League game you can loose people that way. You can really loose quarterbacks – there's been some very talented quarterbacks that have been drafted high that really should've been, could have been Hall of Fame, Pro Bowl type guys that were put in situations early where they had no chance of really succeeding. So, me just having the opportunity to just go through that, I see that difference. When I'm in this position I see it completely different, because it's a hard job to play quarterback in this league especially when you're 22, 21, 20-years old, that's difficult to ask anyone. You look at any other position, you don't really do that, but the quarterback which is the hardest position. So, I'm a little understanding about how difficult it is to get the job done, especially at a high level. So, I try to coach him that way, really try to coach and help the people. Help the players as much as possible, so they one day can play at a Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame level all the time, but I'm smart enough to know that's really difficult or tough to happen. Especially early on in the quarterback career."

-BUCCANEERS-

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