(Zimmer photo courtesy of Minnesota Vikings)
TALK OF FAME NETWORK
Tampa Bay’s Lovie Smith and Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer take time out from OTAs to join this week’s Talk of Fame broadcast – with Smith talking rookie quarterback Jameis Winston and Zimmer a team that now includes a happy, healthy Adrian Peterson.
The Bucs, of course, chose Winston over Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, both of whom Smith said “are going to be really good players in the NFL.” But Tampa Bay choice Winston because, as Smith put it, the Bucs think he could be “pretty special.”
And since making that move, Smith has seen nothing to lead him to believe otherwise.
“He’s a great leader,” he said of Winston. “You hear that term leadership thrown around. If you’re around Jameis you will see. His teammates believe in him, and he has a lot of confidence in himself. As a quarterback and the guy they look to every play, guys need to know it’s going to be OK. That’s what you get from Jameis right away.
“He’s vocal, too. To be a leader in the quarterback position you need to feel comfortable talking and being out front. He has that. But I think the way you judge great quarterbacks a little bit is: Can they throw the football? Jameis Winston has made all the throws. We feel like he’s accurate. We just feel like he can make all the throws that we want, and I think an NFL quarterback needs to make.”
Zimmer has a second-year quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota, and the Vikings feel good about the progress he made last season. But they felt even better this week when Peterson, who wasn’t supposed to appear at OTAs, changed his mind and showed up -- one week after Zimmer said he either plays with the Vikings or doesn’t play at all.
“Sometimes,” Zimmer said of last week’s message, “you get asked the same question over and over and over. I didn’t mean it to be confrontational. I tried to be as matter-of-fact as I could. We’ve said all along we want him here, and he’s an important part of this program we’re trying to build, this franchise, and these fans.”
Smith and Zimmer highlight a program that includes talk of a new USFL – only this one’s a developmental league that will not compete with the NFL; why former Baltimore quarterback Bert Jones could’ve been considered for the Hall of Fame … but never will; how parity doesn’t work in some NFL cities; what NFL players chose football over baseball … and what major-league players turned their backs on football, as well as one man’s take on what really went on with Adrian Peterson and his return to the Vikings.
In addition, we check in with Hall-of-Fame voter Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune to hear what he thinks of the Bucs’ addition of Winston and what chances he believes former Tampa Bay safety John Lynch – a candidate he presented to the Hall’s board of selectors – has of making it to Canton.