Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks’ next opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5), led by Jameis Winston

Second-year quarterback Jameis Winston led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an upset win at previously 7-2 Kansas City last weekend. Sunday he faces the Seahawks in Tampa, Florida.
Second-year quarterback Jameis Winston led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an upset win at previously 7-2 Kansas City last weekend. Sunday he faces the Seahawks in Tampa, Florida. FR48783 AP

SEAHAWKS’ NEXT OPPONENT

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (5-5)

1:05 p.m. Sunday, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Against the Seahawks: The Buccaneers have lost eight of the 12 meeting between expansion partners from 1976. Tampa Bay lost the last meeting 27-24 in overtime on Nov. 3, 2013, blowing an early lead in Seattle. The Bucs won the last time these teams played in Tampa, 38-15 on Dec. 26, 2010. Tampa Bay has hosted Seattle just twice in the previous 10 seasons.

Line: Seahawks by 5½

What to know: In many ways quarterback Jameis Winston’s second season has been even better than his impressive first. He is tied for fifth in the NFL with 25 touchdown passes and is above 60 percent in completion rate, after 58.3 percent in 2015. But he is still making mistakes. He’s thrown 10 interceptions, after 15 last season. Yet the Buccaneers are just one game behind Atlanta for first place in the weak NFC South, and Winston is coming off an upset win over the previously 7-2 Chiefs in Kansas City. … Mike Evans is Winston’s go-to target. Evans, in his second season, is second in the NFL with eight touchdown catches, third in catches (65) and third in yards (916). Expect Seattle’s three-time All-Pro Richard Sherman to go back into his occasional shadow mode and follow Evans around the field Sunday. … The Bucs’ leading rusher is former Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers (393 yards). … Tampa Bay is ranked 16th in the NFL in points per game, 11th in total offense, 16th in rushing and 13th passing. … The Buccaneers’ defense is led by seventh-year veteran and 2013 All-Pro Gerald McCoy. He leads the team with 4½ sacks – as a tackle. He forever gained immortality with Seahawks’ Pro Bowl defensive end when he said Michael Bennett, his former Bucs teammate, should get paid more by Seattle … The Buccaneers’ defense has struggled giving up big plays, especially at home where Tampa Bay is 1-4. It is 24th in points allowed (25.9 per game), 26th in total defense, 25th against the run and 25th against the pass. Tampa Bay has forced 17 takeaways, sixth-most in the league, but its turnover margin is just plus-1 because of all of Winston’s interceptions.

Quotable: ""It's team stuff; I'm not going to talk about it. One thing I can say, I told them how grateful I was to be their quarterback." – Winston, after his sterling performance last weekend in beating the Chiefs, to Bucs media on the inspirational letter he read to his teammates last Wednesday.

BUCCANEERS QB JAMEIS WINSTON

CONFERENCE CALL TO SEATTLE-AREA MEDIA

November 23, 2016

(On the letter he wrote to his team last week) “I think it just put everything back in perspective. The guys went out and they fought real hard for each other.”

(On what he’s seen as a turnaround the past few weeks) “Just more of a family atmosphere. If we play together, there’s a better chance we can win together.”

(On his own improved play) “Just trying to keep things simple. We’ve got a lot of good additions back on the offense and just taking what the defense gives.”

(On whether it’s hard to lead the team at 22 years of age) “No sir. One thing about the leadership role, you’re never too old, you’re never too young and you never can count someone out. If they have something to say, everyone is typically open to it, as long as it’s from the heart.”

(On whether he was more cautious taking a leadership role as a rookie) “I was, just because you have to really see who you’re really working with.”

(On whether he has had to earn his leadership role) “Yes sir.”

(On the Seahawks defense) “The biggest challenge for me is not playing out of the game plan. Their defense is a very tenacious defense and they’re going to do what they do. My job is just to not play above my head and just take what they give.”

(On his relationship with Russell Wilson) “You can learn just about anything from Russell Wilson. I personally believe that he is one of the best quarterback in this league, as far as passing and being able to use his legs. I like to view him and watch film on him just because he is a complete player. I had a chance to spend some time with him at the Pro Bowl, just seeing the type of guy he is. He’s just a top notch, guy, a true professional. He actually helped me with my offseason preparation as far as eating right and making sure I kept my body right.”

(On whether nutrition was a problem of his) “Any type of food that was put in front of me was going to be ate [laughing].”

(On whether he approached Russell Wilson at the Pro Bowl) “No, just getting a feel for the guys. Guys are talking about different things they do to create an edge, because you’re always trying to look for an edge and always trying to look for total health. Trying to stay in the league as long as possible.”

(On if he was a last minute addition to the Pro Bowl) “Yes.”

(On whether he felt validation with the numbers he’s putting up the last two years) “The mindset of getting better every week and getting better every year. There’s never enough room for improvement, so my mentality is to never be satisfied. So I’m always looking for ways to get better.”

(On Mike Evans’ strengths) “His ability to attack the ball, his ability to catch. His catch radius is phenomenal. Just his competitiveness out there.”

(On whether he felt pressure being drafted first to save the franchise) “I just came in and viewed it as a blessing. I worked my whole life to be a professional quarterback one day. God blessed me to have this opportunity so I’m trying to do whatever I can to take advantage of it.”

BUCCANEERS HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER

CONFERENCE CALL

November 23, 2016

(On the team’s improvement) “That’s always a hard thing to pinpoint. I think we are improving as a football team. I think we have improved and also I think the healthier team has something to do with that.”

(On Jameis Winston’s maturation) “He’s played 26 games now and I think experience is the best teacher. Seeing real live NFL defenses and the best defenses in the world on a weekly basis, you’re either going to sink or swim. Jameis is a fast learner, a great competitor. I think he’s doing a much better job of taking care of the football. He has learned how much time he has to spend, and he always has spent a lot of time, but the time commitment to learn the weekly game plan. I think your own quarterback is a great example. He did nothing but get better throughout his first couple years and continues to.”

(On Winston’s increased leadership) “Jameis is a natural leader. I thought he did a really nice job as a rookie of picking his posts. Not stepping on some of the vets’ toes, but when the time was right, he moved in there. He was unanimously elected one of our captains this year. Jameis is just natural. He always seems to say the right thing at the right time, and he’s one of those guys that’s not afraid to speak up. It’s easy to be a leader when things are going good. He’s not afraid to speak up when things aren’t going good.”

(On Winston’s connection with Mike Evans) “If you look at any team in the league, if you have a guy that was picked first in the draft and a guy that was picked sixth in the draft, they better be able to hook up [laughing].”

(On Mike Evans) “Have you seen him? The guy is 6’6”, 225 pounds and can run, fly. He has unbelievable range, he’s tough, he’s smart. It’s going to be a great matchup. We have a lot of respect for the talent the Seahawks have in their secondary. I would imagine that he’ll get matched by Richard Sherman, that will be a heck of a matchup for people to watch on Sunday.”

(On playing against such a successful team like the Seahawks) “When you watch Seattle on film, that’s who we want to be. That’s who we want to be like. They’ve been doing it for a long time and even though they’ve been to the top, they still play extremely hard. We pride ourselves on being a team that plays hard. It’s a great example, all our guys have to do is turn on the tape and watch. We’re playing a good football team and we know it. We’re looking forward to the competition.”

(What makes the Seahawks defense such a tough challenge) “Number one, they’re very very talented. They’ve been in this scheme for a while. The veteran guys know how to play it. They’ve seen how people are going to attack them. They know where they have to cover up, they’re relentless as pass rushers. As far as coverage they have a good secondary to begin with, and that’s just the secondary. The secondary’s best friend is pressure on the quarterback. They pressure the quarterbacks well as anybody. They have multiple rushers, they can put pressure with four rushers, a lot of teams can’t put pressure unless they bring more than four. Really good linebacker play. [Bobby] Wagner’s one of the most underrated players in the league in my opinion. Good players, good scheme, time spent in the scheme. Back to the experience thing I talked about with Jameis. They’re tough.”

(On what makes Bobby Wagner such a good player) “He can do everything. He’s leading the league in tackles. A lot of linebackers are not good blitzers. They bring him a lot, he’s a very good blitzer, he’s slippery, powerful and he can cover. There’s plenty of linebackers in this league that can’t cover very well. He covers like a safety, rushes like a d-end and tackles like a middle linebacker, pretty good combination.”

(On J.R Sweezy’s situation) “He’s injured on PUP. Not practicing.”

(On the Buccaneers home to road win ratio) “We haven’t played as good at home as we have on the road. I can’t necessarily explain that but it’s really a simple fact. People ask me about it all the time. We play pretty good football on the road and we haven’t played as consistently at home. The last home game we did play good football all four quarters, and we’re going to need to do that this week.”

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