TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston emphatically denied Sunday that there has been any kind of rift with head coach Dirk Koetter after a report suggested that there was growing friction between the two amid a 4-9 season.
“Me and Coach Koetter have a great relationship, first and foremost, and we’ve got the same goal when we go out there on that football field — and that’s to win the football game. So it doesn’t matter what anybody else can possibly say.
“Obviously, a lot of stuff can come out when we’re not doing as expected, but that’s false. Coach Koetter coaches his tail off, and he definitely supports me. So whatever anybody else has to say outside of that — that’s just water under the bridge, man.”
The NFL Network reported that Winston and Koetter’s relationship was “not in a great place” and that Winston did not feel that Koetter gave him the proper support while he attempted to play through a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder earlier this season. The report also stated that Winston was growing increasingly frustrated with the predictability of Koetter’s offense.
“That’s a distraction. And a lot of distractions come up when we don’t perform how we need to perform,” Winston said. “I’m a strong believer that coaches coach and players play. If you look at today’s game, the players [and] I didn’t play. I didn’t play. I had three turnovers.”
“I think Jameis and I have had an extremely consistent relationship over the last three years, and I don’t think anything different about it, but that’s just my opinion,” Koetter said, emphasizing that he’s more concerned about winning games than reports. “I know the truth about our relationship. My big concern is our football team.”
Koetter was then asked if there is anything he thought he could have done differently to lend more support to Winston while he was recovering from the injury, which he attempted to play through for three games before sitting out three weeks to recover.
“I could have ripped out my medicine bag,” Koetter said. “Done some shoulder surgery and fixed him up.”