METAIRIE (La. METAIRIE, La. -- Jameis Winston attempted to minimize the importance of his first game against his former team Sunday when New Orleans Saints host Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He called them "the next enemy."
The former No. The former No. 1 draft pick explained that he didn't need to add emotion or revenge while trying to revitalize his career in New Orleans.
"This week is huge. Every week is huge for me. Winston said that being out for a year gives you a chance to see how much it means to miss this game." Winston spent last year as a backup to Drew Brees when Tampa Bay replaced him with Tom Brady. He went on to win Super Bowl.
"Yeah, against the old team. Winston said that he loves the game and is trying to beat everyone we play. He has been 4-2 as a starter for the Saints, though they are still chasing 6-1 Buccaneers in the NFC South standings.
Winston, 27, said that he has always been an emotionally driven football player. "I believe that that's something I'm working on -- being present and not stuck in my emotions. Being a quarterback means being present and aware of all that is happening. Sometimes, too much emotion can take us to places we don't want.
"Obviously, I want beat 'em. I want to beat them bad. In my heart, I am ready to rock. They're still another opponent, and another one that we have to beat in this division. They've got a great team and they're hot. We have to stand firm and represent our house.
Sean Payton, Saints coach, joked that Winston doesn't intend to cause havoc on the Buccaneers like Forest Whitaker in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" after his car was damaged.
Payton stated, "He's playing quarterback so he must be precise, on-point, and I think that he understands this." He's intelligent enough and mature enough that he can focus on what it takes to win.
Winston said that he didn't find it difficult to see the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl last year without Winston because he was so happy for all of his teammates from 2015-2019. He also said that he didn't have to deal with anger or bitterness when Tampa Bay released him as a free agent.
"No, everything happens for reasons. That organization and the Glazer family are very grateful to me for having the opportunity, drafted No. Winston stated that Winston was the number 1 overall for that city. "That city has done a lot to me, and I know that I have done a lot of good for that city. This is where I live now. That's why I love this city. ... It's time for play this week, and all the lovey dovey stuff is over."
Winston stated that Tampa doesn't have many trash talkers -- but he may not have given his friend Jason Pierre Paul enough credit.
"I can't, I can't wait. Pierre-Paul stated that he would text Pierre-Paul to tell him to get prepared. Jameis is my favorite game. It's going be great. He is like a brother to my. He was hiking in Colorado's offseason, and I still remember him. I cannot wait to find him. Jameis is an entirely different breed.
Bruce Arians, the Buccaneers' coach, pointed out that Winston is the most different player he has seen with the Saints. Winston had 5,109 yards passing and was the first player to do so in NFL history.
Arians stated that he throws it probably 15 times less per game. "They are playing with a lead and we didn’t have as many leads this [season], so it was necessary to throw it. He's doing very, very well at this position.
The Saints are last in the NFL, with only 25.8 passing attempts per game. Winston averages just 185.7 yards per game. Winston's completion rate is only 58.9%. However, he has a remarkable TD-INT ratio (13) and a passer rating (102.4).
Winston is still a master at deep balls, with four of his completions exceeding 49 yards.
"I believe he's a great quarterback in this league. Byron Leftwich, Bucs offensive coordinator, said that he believes he can make plays other guys cannot make. He makes plays that only a few other guys can make in this league, which is why I have always considered him a unique, special guy. He is a man I admire.
Jenna Laine, ESPN Buccaneers reporter, contributed to this report.