The Buccaneers didn’t guarantee Jameis Winston the starting QB job prior to the season and after a spectacular start to the season by Ryan Fitzpatrick, it’s unlikely he plays when he returns from suspension in week 4. Tampa Bay is 2-0, taking down the Saints and Eagles, two division champs from a year ago. The team will host the Steelers on Monday Night Football in week 3.
The Buccaneers get the Bears in week 4, coming off of a short week. That’ll give coach Dirk Koetter and excuse to keep Fitzpatrick in the lineup, not wanting to put Winston in the lineup without a full week to prepare with the team. Tampa then gets its bye in week 5 and the real decision will have to come after that when the team goes to Atlanta.
Here’s more from the leaders of the NFC South:
- After the win over the Eagles, Tampa Bay’s wide receivers found a group text on their phone with a message from Winston, Peter King of NBC Sports relays. “Awesome game!” was the message and Mike Evans told King that it was great to hear from the Florida State product. “Jameis did an awesome job in camp, and he supported Fitz all the way. But he’s a team guy,” Evans said.
- King can’t envision the Bucs making a change at QB. Fitzpatrick has thrown for over 400 yards in each of his first two starts of the season. “We can be as explosive as any team in the league,” Evans said. “We’re not surprised by this success. I think there’s a lot more out there. Ryan’s working really hard, spreading the ball around, and he’s playing great football with great playmakers around him.”
- The Buccaneers could cut Winston at the end of the season and not owe him a dime, Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today explains. The team picked up his fifth-year option and it’s only guaranteed for injury, meaning if Tampa Bay doesn’t play Winston, there’s no risk of having to pay him.