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Dirk Koetter: Jameis Winston took a step back

Jameis Winston couldn't right the ship once it started to sink against the Titans. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

TAMPA, Fla. – Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, the member of the Buccaneers’ coaching staff least likely to try to put a positive spin on something negative, said Wednesday that rookie quarterback Jameis Winston took a step back in Sunday’s season-opening loss to Tennessee.

That was obvious to the average fan. But Koetter might be the only one around One Buccaneer Place willing to publicly admit it.

Winston threw two interceptions that led to Tennessee scores as the Bucs fell behind quickly. Koetter said that led to Winston reversing some of the progress he made in the preseason. Koetter said Winston’s mechanics and decision making left something to be desired.

“I think when a game is going like that, I think it’s very, very normal to revert back,’’ Koetter said. “When things are that far, we’re not talking about one or two scores, it’s very normal to revert. It takes a lot to stay focused. That’s rough.’’

Although some other members of the coaching staff, particularly coach Lovie Smith, have tried to portray the blowout loss as just one game, Koetter wasn’t giving Winston a rookie pass. Instead, Koetter called it as he saw it.

“No, he did not grade out positively,’’ Koetter said. “Nobody graded out positively. I’m sure there are some aspects. But when you get beat like we got beat, you’ve got to tell it like it is as a coach. Players know.’’

The closest Koetter came to pointing out a bright spot about Winston’s performance was saying the quarterback knew when he made mistakes.

“Jameis is very good in that area,’’ Koetter said. “He takes ownership for it, which is good. But we’ve got to quit doing it. That’s the same for me. The mistakes I make, I’ve got to quit doing it.’’