Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Winston Used Benching as Time to Grow, the Bucs Rushing Goals and Donovan Smith Has a Man Crush on Chris Godwin | Carmen Catches Up

QB Jameis Winston has used the past few weeks as a time to grow as he returns to the starting lineup and Smith gets candid about everything from offensive line play to his unusual eating habits in this edition of Carmen Catches Up.


Quarterback Jameis Winston was named the starter on Monday after he came in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick in New York. Winston was 12-of-16 for 199 yards and two passing touchdowns in his quarter and a half of play. He engineered four straight touchdown drives that pulled the Bucs within three points after being down as many as 17 at one point. Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken had said following Winston's benching in Cincinnati that he would get another opportunity in this league. That next opportunity happened to come just a couple weeks later.

Monken also said that throughout Winston's time on the bench, he was an 'unbelievable' teammate and that he saw the time as a 'speed bump' during which he was on the bench. Winston himself said, when speaking to boys at a juvenile detention center during a visit as part of the Bucs' Social Justice Initiative that he took part in, that he was using this experience as a time to grow, just as he does during every period of adversity throughout his life. It was prompted by a young man who asked how Winston felt after he got benched. The question was met with oohs and some small gasps but Winston refuted the toughness of the question, thanking the boy for asking it. He was candid in his response, saying he felt humbled. He said he had two choices in how to handle it; he could sulk and be discouraged or he could learn from it, work harder and grow. He clearly chose the latter and now he will get his next opportunity this Sunday at home against the 49ers. Scott Smith has more on the story here.


Left tackle Donovan Smith was on the Bucs Total Access radio show yesterday. Unsurprisingly, he talked a lot about the offensive line play and what they're doing well while also speaking on what they could do better. After a game that saw running back Peyton Barber rush for a career-high 106 yards, it opened up the conversation as to the offensive line's role in that effort. Smith said it was cyclical effort of sorts and that he appreciates how hard Barber runs, refusing to go down on initial contact. Indeed, 47 of Barber's 106 yards came after contact, showing just how hard it is to bring the stout back down. In turn, it fires up the offensive line, according to Smith.

"It helps us and gets us fired up because we see you're fighting for every bit of yard," Smith said.

Smith also revealed that the Bucs have a 125-yard-per-game rushing goal. Each facet of the game has a certain goal and there are multiple that pertain to the offensive line. Left guard Ali Marpet has told me that another goal of the offensive line is one or less sacks each game as well. There is a banner hanging in the Bucs' weight room that details these goals and serves as a reminder each time these guys step in there what their jobs are on Sundays. As for this next game in particular, Smith says he'd like to see that 125 yards rushing come to fruition along with no sacks of now starting quarterback Jameis Winston.


Another little fact that came out from the radio show with Smith was his man-crush on wide receiver, and fellow Penn State alum, Chris Godwin.

"The mark of a man? The standard? That's Chris Godwin. He's absolutely perfect."

Smith's words, not mine. Following a game with multiple Penn State alum on the field in New York, rookie running back Saquon Barkley had said how he looked up to Godwin during their time together as Nittany Lions. That's high praise for one of the leagues young stars by one of the league's young stars. You'd never hear it straight from Godwin himself, who's a little bit quieter and more unassuming in nature if you catch him around the building. Smith said not to let that fool you, though. The guy is a trash talker, albeit 'in the nicest way.'

"He's a very humble guy, but don't let that fool you. He can talk the talk," Smith said. He said usually Godwin's trash talk comes in the form of challenging his defenders, saying things like, "You don't want none of this," and the like. And for the most part, defenders don't. Godwin has caught 40 of 57 receptions thrown his way this season for a total of 533 receiving yards, giving him a 13.3 yards per reception average. For a team that has so many players to throw the ball to, that's pretty darn good. Head Coach Dirk Koetter said there are conceivably six high-level receiving options on any given down between wideouts Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin, and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cam Brate. Godwin is in just his second year but is showing flashes of that 'X' receiver capability, something that isn't going unnoticed by Smith or the rest of the team.


On a silly note, Smith also divulged some weird eating habits, which might be a little contrary to what you would think of an offensive lineman. Smith apparently doesn't eat cheese unless it's melted. He doesn't like the way coleslaw looks, so he doesn't eat it. And the weirdest, if a food has 'holes' in it, he won't eat it. What qualifies exactly as 'holes' is unclear.

View Team Photographer Kyle Zedaker's top photos from the Buccaneers' Week 11 matchup against the New York Giants.

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