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Arians: Much of Jameis Winston's struggles mechanical

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Bruce Arians hit Phase 2 of the Jameis Winston Reclamation Project: publicly identify the flaws.

Immediately upon his hire, the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach went about boasting about the signal-caller, declaring his loyalty to the first-round pick and dashing any thought about the team parting ways with Winston.

Now, Arians begins the tough part of turning around the former No. 1 overall pick: identifying and cleaning up the problem areas. Along with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, Arians believes much of Winston's troubles come from poor mechanics.

"I've studied a bunch of them," Arians told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "Clyde has watched every throw he's made since his rookie year and Byron, too. And it's like you're trying to look safeties off too long and your feet are crossed. So much of it is mechanical."

Winston's turnover-prone problems are well documented, as he's tossed 58 career interceptions in just 56 career games and lost 18 more fumbles. Arians' pointing out Winston's mechanics is notable, as the quarterback often locks on targets too long, tries to make plays from awkward stances too often, and his propensity to bail backward in the pocket is a maddening trait that has gotten him into trouble.

Arians trusts the coaching staff can help straighten Winston out.

"I like to call it the driving range, taking him to the range," Arians said. "Clyde is one of the best and we go to the range 30 minutes a day, just footwork and drills and throwing off balance and making these throws. You don't get to stand there and throw it (overhand) perfectly all the time.

"One of the great feelings as a coach is when you do a drill and you see it in the game. That's exactly what we practiced last Wednesday and the guy can do it now. That's coaching."

Arians also believes that the Bucs will be better at buffering Winston with a strong rushing attack and improved defense in 2019, which will take pressure off the quarterback in a pivotal campaign.

"The other thing is they're down (expletive) 21 points," Arians said after watching the Bucs games over the past four seasons. "Anybody down 21 is going to throw a pick or two and he's down 21 a bunch. You're going to throw picks. Tipped balls. Bad balls. Hit throwing. Being Superman. You think you can make everything.

"Give him a running game. Give him a defense and see how good he can be. I think we can limit (turnovers). Never get rid of them. There's nobody that ever does it. But you can limit turnovers. And you talk about it. You talk a bunch about it on the practice field. That's when it gets ugly: 'What the (expletive) was that?'"

Winston hasn't improved since his rookie season -- the only time in his career the Bucs have also had a 1,000-yard rusher. Arians & Co. are tasked with turning that trajectory around, and that starts with cleaning up the QB's mechanics.

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