Any high-level college player would relish the opportunity to learn from a proven NFL quarterback, and Jameis Winston was no different. Leading up to this year's draft, Winston was able to speak with several current players, including Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. Winston and the Buccaneers are set to face Newton's Panthers this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
"I've talked to Cam numerous times," Winston said. "He's just a great person for me to look up to and kind of model my style off (of). What we've been through, we've basically been through the same things – the Heisman, then going to the league so he's definitely a great person to try to seek for things to do to better myself."
What did Winston learn from Newton?
"What I learned from most of the guys that mentor me," Winston said. "Just be yourself. We're blessed to play this great game of football. One thing – he loves football. He exaggerates how blessed he is to be playing and that's what I do. He brings energy, he's a very enthusiastic person. (He said to) just bring energy to the field and be yourself."
Although their skill sets are somewhat different, both passers have similar numbers so far this season; Winston's thrown for 678 yards and four touchdowns while Newton's earned 685 yards and five touchdowns in the air. Winston's also found the end zone on the ground, scoring once, while Newton's rushed for two touchdowns.
As always, a division game is critical, no matter how early in the season. The Bucs haven't defeated the Panthers since 2012 and are looking for their first home win since 2013. Winston hopes that his team will be 2-2 this time next week.
"It'll be great," Winston said, "just for this city – to have some wins behind it. Unfortunately our only win was on the road this year but it'll be big for this city. We need that. We need to bring that winning atmosphere back into Raymond James."