TAMPA (FOX 13) - At the end of the 2015 season, after their final loss of the season, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston vowed change, calling out players on the team, but without naming them.
"I know everyone on this team wants to win," Winston said January 4, 2016. "It's just the way that you do it, the preparation. It's just having that mindset of, 'I want to win at all costs.' Like I said, that has to be developed and molded into you."
Winston didn't leave those words behind during the offseason. He approached teammates, asking for a culture change. Upon arriving for training camp, Gerald McCoy said he and Winston had a private talk.
"Me and Jameis had a private conversation about what he feels like this team needs me to be as a leader," said McCoy.
It's a request McCoy said he has no problem granting.
"Because the face of the franchise came to me and said, 'hey listen, if we are going to win, we need you to do this,'" said McCoy. "My quarterback said this is what he needs, so that is what I'm going to do. Because if he feels like this is what our team needs to win, who am I to tell him I'm not going to do that? Because I want to win, too."
McCoy has had just one winning season since being drafted by the Bucs, and he likely wants to win just as much as Jameis.
"Internally, you won't see it, but game day, you might see it," said McCoy. "You may even see it during training camp. It's not a very big thing. He just told me privately, so I won't speak about it. That's all it is. It's not like, wait till you see this. It's not that big a deal. Believe me. But he spoke with me privately, so when it happens it will be obvious, 'oh, that's what he was talking about.'"
McCoy knows what it means to be the face of the franchise. He was given the title and he says he has no problem passing the torch to Winston.
"I refer to him as the face of the franchise because he is," said McCoy. "When they show commercials of the Bucs, they aren't showing Gerald, they are showing Jameis. That is for a reason. And I am happy about that. Because if your quarterback is the face of the franchise, usually that tags to winning or going in a positive direction. I am excited about it. Passing the torch? Ronde gave me the torch. I didn't ask for it. He passed it to me. Here you go Jameis! Take us to the Super Bowl!"