NFL AM: Jameis Winston Drops Weight


Jameis Winston shows up for mini-camps in better shape:

When Jameis Winston was named to the 2015 Pro Bowl, much of the discussion about the rookie’s inclusion was about whether or not he deserved to be there. Who cares? Today the Pro Bowl rosters are full of guys who wouldn’t really be pro bowlers if player after player didn’t opt out.

The more important question for the rookie signal caller was what he would get out of going to Hawaii. As those around Winston in Tampa have learned, he took this opportunity as he takes many others, as a chance to get better.

When looking around at his peers in Hawaii, Winston noticed something about many of the best players in the game. They were physically fit in a way the rookie signal caller felt he was not, and he knew he had to do something about it.

“The most important thing I learned is I have to get my body in shape, because those men look good,” Winston said after attending his first Pro Bowl. “Not just the other quarterbacks-everyone. Their bodies look good. But also, Russell Wilson’s preparation at the Pro Bowl. You know, it’s a relaxing event, and he is still doing everything the right way. He is the first one to the huddle, leading guys in stretches, running everywhere you go.”

Winston and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates hit the field for mini-camp on Tuesday, and it seemed the Bucs quarterback didn’t just pay his physical fitness lip service over the offseason. Instead, Winston showed up about 15 pounds lighter and noticeably more fit.

When asked about their quarterback’s new physique, Winston’s teammates took notice right away.

“Absolutely. He’s lost a lot of weight. He’s slimmed down. I was joking with him the other day, he took his shirt off and I said, ‘Man, what happened to the belly?” He’s got a six-pack like me,” Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans joked. “He’s put in a tremendous amount of work and I think it’s going to be a great year for him and this whole team.”

“He’s in great shape. He’s toned up a little bit and he’s excited,” Donovan Smith said. “So are we.”

New Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter spoke about Winston showing up in better shape, and it’s fair to say the Bucs new head man was less than surprised by his quarterback’s dedication.

“Well a lot of our guys have come back in really good shape,” Koetter said. “We’re pleased with where several guys are. Jameis has been the most highly publicized and not only did Jameis work with Tim Grover, but he also worked a lot with Dave Kennedy, our strength coach. Jameis was very dedicated this offseason program and like Jameis always says, he does know how to work and hard work pays off. He looks good, but there are a lot of other guys that go all over the country to different places and then come back and forth with our strength coaches and we’re pleased with the majority of them.”

While Winston’s new body is evidence of his intense work ethic, Koetter isn’t so sure how much being in better shape will help him be a better quarterback.

“Well, that’s hard to say,” Koetter said. “You would hope just learning how to manage his body through the course of a regular season, but let’s face it, Jameis made it through last year and played every play fine. But the ability to stay healthy through the long season would be the best place.”

Probably the biggest thing that the Buccaneers and their fans can take away from Winston’s new shape is that it’s just another sign that this young man wasn’t satisfied with being the first-overall pick in the draft. He’s constantly looking for ways to get better, and when he sees another quarterback doing something better than he does, he likes to watch them in attempt to, “steal their super powers.”

Winston may never have super powers or be the most fit quarterback in the NFL, but he’s more than willing to work when he sees ways he can improve, and that should help him become a great quarterback, and that’s just shy of super hero in Tampa!

Dolphins could be trying to move up to the third pick:

There is growing speculation that the Miami Dolphins could try to work a trade with the San Diego Chargers to move into the 3rd-overall pick to select Ohio State tailback Ezekiel Elliot.

“There’s been talk they can move up to get Ezekiel Elliott, moving up from 13 and getting in to that maybe top-6, top-7,” Mel Kiper said to reporters on a conference call last week.

For some reason this seems much more like speculation than the rumors about the Philadelphia Eagles before their leap to the 2nd-overall spot, but maybe that’s because this move would make so little sense for Miami.

Sure, the Dolphins need some help at tailback, and Elliot is one of the best running back prospects we’ve seen in some time, with some even comparing him to Adrian Peterson, but that still wouldn’t justify the move.

Miami has too many needs to be giving up assets to move into the top-3 for a player you could argue shouldn’t be selected that high to begin with. Sure, that was written by a guy who has the Cowboys taking Elliot fourth-overall in my mock draft, but Tony Romo’s injury is the reason they’re picking as high as they are.

The reality is it’s a bad idea for almost any team to take a running back that high. Forget about the fact that a tailback’s shelf life isn’t typically very long. That’s down on the list of why taking a tailback in the Top-10 is almost always a bad idea.

When a team is selecting in the Top-10, it’s almost always because they have quite a few issues, and the Dolphins meet that criteria quite easily. With as many needs as the Dolphins have, trading assets to move up for a running back just months after letting Lamar Miller walk is just absurd.

The fact is, even great running backs don’t make teams great. There’s a list longer than we have time to write of great running backs that were stuck on mediocre football teams.

Adrian Peterson is the best back we’ve seen in a generation, but the Minnesota Vikings have only been better than okay when they had Brett Favre. Whether you’re talking Maurice Jones-Drew, or Barry Sanders, the history of the league is littered with great tailbacks that couldn’t carry their teams to greatness…And MJD was drafted 60th overall in 2006.

Elliot is a luxury item on the shopping list that is the NFL draft, and the Dolphins would be much better off realizing they need too much milk and bread to be looking in the lobster tank.

Reshad Jones wants a new deal, may hold out:

Miami Dolphins’ Reshad Jones is half way into a four-year deal with the team, but after being named to his first Pro Bowl last season, the veteran safety wants a new deal.

As one of the teams with a new head coach, the Dolphins took advantage of an added voluntary veteran mini-camp this week, and let’s just say the turnout wasn’t great. Jones was joined by new Dolphins defensive end Mario Williams and Ndamukong Suh in not showing up for the mini-camp.

However, unlike Williams who just signed with the team, or Suh who signed a massive deal just a year ago, there’s some thought that Jones is considering holding out, and may skip the team’s offseason program unless he’s rewarded with a new deal.

Miami Herald Columnist Armando Salguero reported Tuesday that sources close to Jones say he is “not content” with his contract, and plans to sit out until a contract is reached.

You never know how this is going to play out, but the hold out is a player’s only leverage in these situations. We can argue all day about whether players should honor their contracts, but it’s a silly argument as long as the teams that write them don’t and often never do honor them in their entirety.

Jones is a good safety, but he’s already one of the top-10 paid safeties in the game, so we’re not sure how much more he could really expect.

About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.