The Facts: According to Tampa Bay Times staffer Rick Stroud, of all the things Bruce Arians has said since being introduced as the Bucs head coach last week, this probably meant the most to Winston. "It's his team," Arians said. "It means a lot to me, man," Winston told Stroud in his first interview since Arians was hired. "And that's just how he is, he stands behind his players and I'm happy our team gets to see that side of him. And I just can't wait to get in the building and work with him."
Diehards Line: Winston, the Bucs' 25-year-old quarterback, exchanged greetings with Arians at the team's training facility Thursday. But those words, spoken later in his news conference with confidence and conviction, is what Winston needed to hear. "I was very excited," Winston said. Although Winston has never said a disparaging word about Dirk Koetter, or vice versa, there came a point after the Bengals game when Koetter clearly didn't trust him with the ball. When Winston returned to the lineup after being benched for three games, he was a different quarterback. He threw 11 touchdowns and three interceptions in the final six games of the season, including a Hail Mary and a deflected pass. Winston's passer rating was 97.7 during that stretch. Arians doesn't have a magic wand to make all the turnovers stop. But Winston welcomes a fresh start with a new coach. Arians' staff also should benefit Winston. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich played 10 seasons in the NFL. With a new staff and a strong supporting cast, there is reason for optimism. But it's on Winston to put it all together. We'll be watching for more.