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Buccaneers OC to Jameis Winston: Don't try so hard

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers know what they have in quarterback Jameis Winston as he heads into his fourth NFL season.

Although offensive coordinator Todd Monken lauded Winston's leadership and physical attributes when speaking to reporters Thursday, he doesn't want his quarterback to put additional pressure on himself.

"The thing is what I've seen, irrespective of the physical stuff on the field, let's not try so hard," Monken said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "He's got natural leadership qualities. A toughness about him. Guys want to follow him.

"It's OK to fail. He's human. It's OK to be hurt. It's OK to have that side of you. Let's just go. You don't have to try so hard. Guys will follow you. Just be yourself."

Monken's stance echoed what wide receiver DeSean Jackson said of Winston in late March about trying too hard.

The Buccaneers offensive coordinator, however, understands the spotlight falls on certain members of an organization, whether they are on the coaching staff or a high-profile player.

"I think the best way to put it is that in our league, there's so much pressure put on the coaches and that one position," Monken said. "Nobody gets the credit either way for winning or losing than the quarterback or the coaches.

"That's fine. That's the way it is. OK, no one is going to blame [wide receiver] Mike Evans for why we haven't made the playoffs. That's part of it. We get that. That doesn't mean we all don't want to win."

Meanwhile, Winston comes off a season establishing career highs in completion percentage (63.8) and passer rating (92.2).

The quarterback has the confidence and physical tools to succeed, but Monken wants Winston to get on the field and play freely while understanding the team is behind him.

"I think the main thing is, 'OK, Jameis, be yourself. You don't have to try so hard. The guys know naturally you're our leader,'" Monken said.

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