Ogunbowale On Jameis: "I'm Definitely A Believer"

Jameis Winston led the NFL in passing yards – and interceptions – in 2019

Zach Gelb
February 21, 2020 - 10:07 am
Jameis Winston Buccaneers

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t made the playoffs since 2007, but Dare Ogunbowale believes that streak will soon come to an end. The Tampa Bay running back and special teams captain believes the Buccaneers are very close to being a playoff team.

“Oh yeah, for sure, definitely,” Ogunbowale said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Even with the first-year staff, I feel like we were this year. A lot of games didn’t go our way.”

The Buccaneers started 2-6 but went 5-3 over their final eight games to finish 7-9.

“We lost a lot of one-score games early and then we went on that run, but it was obviously too late,” Ogunbowale said. “Mathematically we just kind of were eliminated but were still winning games and playing good football. I definitely think we’re close. I thought we were close last year, so I don’t think anything changes for 2020.”

Jameis Winston had an up-and-down season for Tampa Bay. He led the league with 5,109 passing yards and finished second with 33 touchdown passes, but he also had a league-high 30 interceptions. Only two quarterbacks – Philip Rivers (20) and Baker Mayfield (21) had more than 16.

Still, Ogunbowale believes Winston is the answer at quarterback.

“Yeah, I’m definitely a believer,” he said. “Interceptions happen, turnovers happen, but I feel like he’s just a talented quarterback. This was his first year with the coaching staff, so as he gets more comfortable in the offense, we’ll see what happens. I feel like it’s a great offense. A lot of quarterbacks can come in and have success in the offense also. We’ll see what happens. Jameis is a great friend of mine, and I love having him as a teammate, as a quarterback.”

It remains to be seen, however, whether Winston, an unrestricted free agent, will be in Tampa Bay next season.

“I feel like a fan watching ESPN, hearing what they say,” Ogunbowale said. “You never know what’s going to happen. In the NFL, rosters turn over so much. There’s going to be a lot of guys that aren’t going to be here next year that were there. We’ll see what happens with Jameis, but I love Jameis and he’s real fun to have in the locker room and the huddle.”

Ogunbowale also shared his thoughts on the NFL’s proposed CBA, which would include a 17th regular-season game.

“It is tough. It is tough,” Ogunbowale said. “A lot of people that aren’t in the NFL don’t realize the wear and tear that it does to your body. That game does make a difference. It’s hard to finish the season healthy, and people don’t realize that. That’s kind of where the pushback comes from the players. It’s more money, but at the same time, guys want to stay healthy, guys want to be able to last to make it to the playoffs. So we’ll see what happens with that, but it’ll be interesting to see how the players respond.”