Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Winston's "Tough as Nails" says Koetter

Jameis Winston's toughness and resilience are leaving a lasting impression on Dirk Koetter.

Jameis Winston's rookie season, by all accounts, has been a glaring success. He broke the Buccaneers' rookie passing record and is on pace to finish with the second-most passing yards in a single season in team history. He is also leading an offense ranked No. 7 in the NFL in total yards.

But things haven't always gone Winston's way. His first pass in the NFL was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He also threw four interceptions in the Bucs' Week 4 loss to Carolina.

When Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter was asked about Winston's most impressive traits, his response had nothing to do with any record that Winston is breaking or the fact that he's a likely candidate for the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Koetter said that Winston's resilience and toughness were what impressed him most.

"What's impressed me about Jameis, number one, is his resiliency," Koetter said. "This guy [has had] ups and downs, some incredible downs, where you would think he would be really in the tank. He's got a really unique ability, we've said it many times, to put the last play behind him, put the last game behind him and move on to the next play. That is a huge characteristic to have.

"Then his toughness. Even though our sack numbers are good, Jameis has taken a lot of hits and he gets up. He's scared me a few times on the sideline. I'd say, 'Hey, are you okay?' and he is tough as nails. That is also something you need in this league. His resiliency and his toughness are probably the things that have impressed me the most."

The combination of Winston and Koetter has been one that's led Tampa Bay to a drastic offensive turnaround. Should the team end the season ranked 7th in total yards, it would be the highest finish in franchise history. Last season, before both arrived in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers were ranked 30th.

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