It truly is a shame that a 21 year old rookie had to say what he said after the Bucs' 38-10 loss during the finale to the season, but that's the harsh reality of where this Bucs organization is right now.
“We have to fix the whys,’’ Jameis Winston said after the final game of his rookie season.. “Why are we playing football? We have too many different whys right now. When we all have that same why, the whys that we want to win together and we become that true family, we’re going to be hell, now.’’
Winston alluded to this "loser mentality" after the Bucs' loss to the Bears in last week's home finale, but expouded on it after the Bucs were routed by the Panthers.
“We’re going to create a winning mindset this offseason, I guarantee it,’’ Winston said. “We’re going to create a mindset that you will never give up, a relentless mindset of being able to persevere over adversity.
“We’re going to have that next year, because that’s me. I’m relentless. I want to win. And this is going to be a long process, but we are going to come back strong and we are going to get better.”
Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune observed exactly what Winston was talking about in the Bucs' locker room following Sunday's loss.
"At one end of the Buccaneers locker room late Sunday, a group of defensive linemen joked and laughed out loud as they began the process of unwinding from another lost season," Cummings wrote.
"At the other, rookie quarterback Jameis Winston sat alone in front of his corner stall with his head in his hands, a steely look of determination on his face and a fire in his belly."
The task of changing the culture within the Bucs' locker room can't be left to a 21 year old rookie alone. Jameis Winston needs help. The good news is that I think he will get it. I think veterans like Clinton McDonald and Vincent Jackson will be the elder voices who stand behind Winston's leadership.
Winston also has a strong ally on the defensive side of the ball.
This is a serious issue, which I wrote about last week. Bucs general manager Jason Licht's toughest job this offseason is identifying the losers within the Bucs locker room and removing them...no matter who they are.
It's good to know that the Bucs finally have players in Jameis Winston and Kwon Alexander who are ready to rid the Bucs of this nasty disease of losing.