The closest thing in sports to marriage has to be the relationship between an offensive coordinator and the quarterback. You both agree on a philosophy that won’t always be black and white, will have a lot of grey, but you understand each other well enough that when faced with the tough calls, the important decisions, you will hopefully find yourselves on the same page. The opposing teams defense is doing everything possible to try and take you away from your philosophy. As in life, there are surprises, setbacks, bumps in the road. Which is why the pairing in either relationship is such an important part of the team dynamic. The pairing of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and quarterback Jameis Winston has all the ingredients for successful union.
Few remember the 2003 draft and the gaffe by the Minnesota Vikings causing them to run out of time to submit their draft pick allowing the Jacksonville Jaguars to move up to #7, and draft Leftwich. What most do remember is that Byron Leftwich was already showing the tenaciousness that would eventually lead him into coaching. Operating almost exclusively out of the shotgun, reading defenses, and always pushing the ball downfield, Leftwich had the “it” factor, you just couldn’t take your eyes off of him. After breaking his left tibia (shin) against Akron in November 2002, Leftwich would return and lead the Thundering Herd on several scoring drives before eventually losing the game 34-20. He is a true competitor.
Now, Jameis Winston, the gunslinger, competitor, leader of the Buccaneers has a true soul mate in an offensive coordinator. Even under the best of circumstances, with the best coaching it still takes time to develop at the NFL level to be an elite quarterback. Dirk Koetter taught Winston well his first few years in the league. But now Jameis can turn to a mentor that is not only every bit the competitor that he is, but has also been there, in the trenches, making the reads and flinging the biscuit. For Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans this just may be a marriage made in heaven.