During a filming of NFL.com's "Rookie Confessional" on June 21, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie quarterback Jameis Winston said facing Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt in Week 3 of the 2015 NFL season is "going to be a fun matchup."
Make no mistake about it. Jameis Winston is looking forward to going up against J.J. Watt.
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Winston, the rookie quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and top overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft, made this known during an interview with NFL.com for its "Rookie Confessional" series (via CBS Sports' John Breech) on June 21.
When asked which NFL player he was looking forward to facing in 2015, Winston told NFL.com it's no other than the vaunted Houston Texans defensive end.
"The player I'm most looking forward to play against has to be, probably J.J. Watt," Winston said. "We play them Week 3 in Houston, I believe. It's going to be a fun matchup."
Breech says Winston's definition of fun may be something he will eventually regret. Watt is a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. If Watt gets the better of Winston and ends up sacking him on numerous occasions, the latter might want to take his words back.
Watt has amassed 295 tackles, 57 sacks, 37 passes defended and 12 forced fumbles. Breech foresees him becoming a better player in 2015 because he's working out intensely during the offseason.
Breech bases his assessment on a previous article he wrote about Watt on March 2. He says this is where Watt has been working out and "eating more eggs per day than some small chicken farms can produce."
On the other hand, Breech says Winston has roughly three more months to prepare for Watt.
Winston told Breech he wants to prove to everyone he's "a baller":
"What I want to prove at training camp is just that I can play. That's the main thing about football, is going out there and playing because it ain't really about talking. It's about playing. So I just want to prove that I'm a baller, shot caller."
Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told The Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud on June 17 the best piece of advice he can give Winston is "just to be a rookie":
"The thing I told (Winston) was just to be a rookie. Don't try to come in and turn the franchise around the first year. You're still a rookie, still young. You haven't played a snap in the NFL. Being the first overall pick, a lot comes with that, but you can't do it overnight.
"Let the 'rah rah' guys be the 'rah rah' guys. That's me, Clinton McDonald. Lavonte (David) doesn't do much talking, but he talks with his play. Vincent Jackson. Let those guys do that, you just play your role...He's done that very well.
"I can speak from the worst of the worst. From getting hurt the first two years, to being labeled a bust, to people calling for your head, to people saying, 'He's always been good.' You got to be thick-skinned, though. It's the NFL. It's a man's game.
"Not because it's all grown men playing it because you've got to react to things as a man. You're going to be attacked. As the first overall pick, you have to be perfect; otherwise, it's not good enough. That's just how it works."
In order to help Winston adapt to the rigors of being an NFL quarterback, the Bucs have reached out to Stanford-based company StriVR Labs which develops virtual reality technology for quarterbacks. This allows the player to evaluate a practice play from a 360-degree perspective, per The Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman.
Auman adds the technology "allows a quarterback to read a defense from a couch or in an open indoor space where he can simulate dropping back or rolling out." It will cost the team approximately $250,000.
StriVR Labs founder Derek Belch told Auman on June 19 the Bucs are aiming to begin using his company's product by the start of training camp late next month:
"I actually talked to Tampa (Friday) morning, and we can start it for them on Day 1 of training camp. We're probably going to get back down there in a couple of weeks, really sit down with them and go through everything and hammer it out.
"The younger guys, this is how they learn. They're used to video games, to techy cool digital things, so we're speaking their language.
"Ours is not a video game, but they like it. We can do this for every position on the field."
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