Ronde Barber: Jameis Winston More Mature, Needs To Win Football Games

Ronde Barber has noticed "a slight maturation" with Jameis Winston this offseason

Tiki and Tierney
October 30, 2018 - 8:30 am

USA Today Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a tough three-game stretch to open the season: at New Orleans, against Philadelphia and against Pittsburgh. Those teams went a combined 37-11 last season.

And Jameis Winston won’t get to play against any of them. He was suspended for three games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

What do folks in Tampa Bay think of Winston, a former No. 1 pick, as he enters his fourth season in the NFL?

“I know a lot of people in Tampa like Jameis,” former Bucs All-Pro and Super Bowl champion Ronde Barber said on Tiki and Tierney. “People want to see Jameis do well. He’s a hometown kid playing at Florida State. He needs to play well on the field to help let all this stuff go away. I don’t mean that in the manner of it shouldn’t have ever happened, (that) he shouldn’t have gotten suspended by the league. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying winning football games (helps) him be a better man. Ben Roethlisberger is a great example when he went through his travails. He goes out and plays great and they go to a Super Bowl. Some of his transgressions go by the wayside. That needs to happen to Jameis.”

But first, he needs to get on the field. That won’t happen until Week 4 when the Bucs play the Bears in Chicago. By then, Tampa Bay could be 0-3.

“If they don’t get off to a fast start, people are going to use it as an excuse,” Barber said. “That’s just the reality. I honestly don’t know that the opinion of (Winston) has changed. People that disliked him coming out of college probably have their reason to dislike him still. People that loved him coming out of college are the ones saying, ‘He needs to put this behind him and play football.’ You get the feeling that that’s what’s happening.”

Barber, though, has noticed a change in Winston this preseason.

“He has been very understated at practice, with the media,” Barber said. “It feels like there was a slight maturation process going on with him. Time will tell, and he’ll have opportunities to prove everybody wrong – or right if you’re in his corner – and you just hope that he does that. He’s a heck of a talent. He’s a heck of a charismatic guy. People on his team genuinely are behind him. But he needs to get back to playing football. I think that’s his only remedy.”