It was evident to anyone watching the Bucs beat the Falcons on Sunday. The rookies were taking full control of the Bucs franchise. It takes a special group of young players to do this, and Jameis Winston and Kwon Alexander seem to be those players.
Appearing on the "Move the Sticks" Podcast hosted by NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, Bucs general manager Jason Licht confirmed what most of us were already thinking hoping for.
"Everybody here in the building feels it," Licht said when describing Jameis Winston's energy. "He's a winner, he's a natural leader, he's incredibly smart, one of the smartest young quarterbacks...maybe thee smartest young quarterback I've ever been around at this stage, and the hardest worker on the team."
We'd expect positive reviews of Jameis Winston from the guy who drafted him, but that's pretty impressive. However, it's not as impressive as his next statement.
"The team already knows that this is the leader," Licht said.
There you have it. The next time Gerald McCoy says that he has a tough time holding Jameis Winston back from leading, know that Gerald McCoy is by himself. As Jason Licht points out, this is Jameis Winston's team, and quite frankly, this is now his franchise.
Jameis Winston exuded that leadership before the game against the Falcons in this awesome video on Buccaneers.com, but also after the game with a brilliant press conference.
"He was doing this for a purpose," Jameis Winston said of Kwon Alexander's decision to play on Sunday. "It's different when you look in a man's eyes and he's just doing it because he's getting a pay check or he just likes playing football."
I'm not sure if Jameis Winston was alluding to anyone in particular, but the look in Winston's eyes and Kwon Alexander's eyes is the look of hope for the Bucs fans and players heading into the future. Those two rookies are playing with more purpose than most players who have been on the roster for years have played with. Here's hoping the players on this roster start following Jameis instead of trying to hold him back.