Bucs’ Cameron Brate ‘Secretly’ Happy For Ex-Buc Jameis Winston

Cameron Brate

Getty Cameron Brate admits when he really thought about former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston's touchdown last season in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay tight end Cameron Brate says he had two thoughts running through his mind during Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s cameo touchdown pass in the 2020 playoffs at New Orleans.

“Obviously at the time, I was pissed that we gave up a touchdown but secretly I was like, ‘ah, good for Jameis making a play there,'” Brate said in Wednesday’s press conference. “But still a guy a lot of guys on the team are close with. Can say nothing but good things about our time with Jameis. I always wish him the best, but not Sunday.”

The Bucs will see a lot more of the former of Winston on Sunday when the Bucs (6-1) and Saints (4-2) clash at the Superdome. Winston left in free agency after the 2019 season, sat behind NFL great Drew Brees for a season, and became the starter after Brees retired.

Winston doesn’t look like the 2019 quarterback who infamously threw 30 interceptions for the Bucs but also 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns. He has 1,114 yards, 13 touchdowns, a 58.9% rate, and three interceptions in six games for the Saints.

“He’s probably throwing it 15 times less a game,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians noted in Wednesday’s press conference. “They’re playing with a lead, and we didn’t have that many leads that (season), so we had to throw it. So, yeah, he’s playing very, very well at the position.”

Defending Winston

Besides Winston’s success throwing the ball down field, he still makes plays with his legs, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He has 126 yards and a touchdown this season.

Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who coached with the team during Winston’s time, knows defense will need to be ready for a run or a pass from the former Florida State star.

“Well, they go hand-in-hand. You can’t (pass) rush without the coverage, and you can’t cover without the rush,” Bowles told the media on  Thursday. “We have to make sure we’re on the same page and execute our game plan and go from there.”

Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead, who played with Winston, admits he’s waiting for an opportunity, too, when Winston goes deep. Winston has completed passes of 72 and 58 yards on his longest plays of the season thus far. That includes a “Hail Mary” in Week 2 at Washington.

“He has a great arm and throws it deep, so we’ll have a chance,” Whitehead told the media on Wednesday. “He’s playing (well), making the right decisions, making smart reads, running the ball (well). It’s going to be a good test and I’m excited to get back and play against him.”

Not Just Jamies on the Bucs Radar

While Bowles expressed his appreciation of Winston, he reiterated that the Saints have plenty of other strengths on offense to stop.

New Orleans recently re-acquired running back Mark Ingram via a trade with the Houston Texans. He will complement star running back Alvin Kamara, who has 419 yards rushing and 241 yards receiving this season plus five touchdowns overall.

“Tough runner — he’s been a tough runner in this league for a long time, so it gives them an extra one-two punch,” Bowles said of Ingram in the press conference.

Bowles added that the Saints have quality receivers and tight ends. Leading receiver Marquez Callaway and tight ends Adam Trautman and Juwan Johnson all average more than 10 yards per catch.

“The biggest thing for us is we’re not just playing Jameis. He has 10 other guys that play damn good football over there that we have to prepare for,” Bowles said. “He’s a great guy. I love him off the field, but we have to get ready for the Saints, not just Jameis.”


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