As he enters his second year in the NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston appears ready to be the team‘s leader—and that’s OK with star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
In a press conference Wednesday, McCoy—who has been a Bucs defensive captain since 2012—said he approves of Winston as the “face of the franchise.”
“He’s like my brother. I referred to him as the face of the franchise, because he is. When they show commercials of the Bucs, they’re not showing Gerald. They’re showing Jameis. That’s for a reason, and I’m happy about that,” McCoy said, according to NFL.com. “If your quarterback is the face of your franchise, usually that tags to winning or going in a positive direction. I’m excited about it.
McCoy also called Winston “very mature” and “very intelligent,” according to ESPN. He also said he spoke to Winston in private about team leadership.
“"[I'm] passing the torch. Ronde [Barber] gave me the torch. I didn't ask him for it. He passed it to me,” McCoy said, according to ESPN. “So, 'Here you go, Jameis. Go take us to the Super Bowl.'”
The Bucs selected Winston with the first pick of the 2015 NFL draft. He started all 16 regular season games for the Bucs last season, throwing for 4,042 yards and 22 touchdown passes with 15 interceptions.
McCoy has made four Pro Bowls since Tampa Bay picked him in the first round of the 2010 draft.
Tampa Bay opens the regular season against the Falcons on Sept. 11.