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Jameis Winston and the lessons of being a rookie QB

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston knows what he must do to take the next step during his second NFL season.

In an extensive interview with Peter King of MMQB.com, Winston laid out the lessons he learned as a rookie starting quarterback in the NFL—highlighting the need to cut down on turnovers, keep everything simple and sculpt his body in 2016.

Last year’s No. 1 pick started all 16 games in 2015, throwing 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for the 6-10 Buccaneers. He earned a Pro Bowl invitation after several quarterbacks dropped out of the event.

Cleaning up the mistakes is his first big task for next season. As a rookie, Winston had 17 turnovers—with at least one giveaway in 10 of his 16 starts.

“One important thing I learned: When you turn the ball over in the NFL, you don’t know when you are going to get that chance back,” Winston said.

The easiest way to eliminate mistakes? Avoid trying to do too much.

Young quarterbacks—especially those drafted high—enter the NFL trying to light the world on fire. Learning to play the position at the professional level takes time, and Winston believes sticking to the basics can help ease the immense pressures of the early stages.

“Something that coach (Dirk) Koetter taught me that really helped me with my whole game: Just do the simple things,” Winston said. “It seems so cliché saying this, but do the simple things and you’ll be OK.”

His final goal is getting into better physical shape, a reality he learned with his eyes at the Pro Bowl.

Surrounded by the likes of Russell Wilson and some of the game’s biggest stars in Hawaii, Winston discovered his physique needs more work.

“The most important thing I learned is I have to get my body in shape, because those men look good,” Winston said. “Not just the other quarterbacks—everyone.”

Getting in better shape should help Winston with foot quickness in the pocket, which he listed as his top offseason goal.

The future of the Buccaneers franchise rests in Winston’s hands. His ability to reflect on the past has provided him a clear path to progression in his second NFL season.