The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before week four, seemed to be a legitimate threat towards the NFC South crown with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing the ball extremely well. All of a sudden, the Buccaneers collapsed against the Chicago Bears, losing a game in which they allowed Mitchell Trubisky to throw for 354 yards and 6 touchdowns. Fitzpatrick was benched after throwing an interception in favor of Jameis Winston, who had just come off a three-week suspension. One of Winston’s first passes of the 2018 season ended up also being an interception, and Tampa Bay went from contenders to pretenders in a matter of seconds.
After last week, the Buccaneers made the decision to name Winston the starting quarterback for week six against the Atlanta Falcons, which has sparked some debate over who should start. In the long-term picture, what if neither of these quarterbacks are the answer? Ryan Fitzpatrick, 35, has been wildly inconsistent, while Jameis Winston has not shown enough potential for plenty of fans to buy into. With Jameis entering the end of his rookie deal, is it time for the Tampa Bay front office to look in a new direction?
Through three seasons, the former #1 overall pick has thrown the ball for 11,781 yards, 70 TDs, 46 interceptions and currently holds an 18-27 record as a starter. Winston’s inconsistency has dampened the potential of this loaded Tampa Bay offense with weapons like Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, Adam Humphries, Cameron Brate and OJ Howard. This team could be pushing a Wild Card or even an NFC South title if they had consistent play at the quarterback position. Jameis Winston just isn’t proving to be the franchise QB they spent a #1 overall selection on.
A share of the blame could definitely be sent to head coach Dirk Koetter’s play calling and the lack of defensive presence given to the 25-year old QB. Winston has never had a coaching staff that could max out his potential and put him in a position to succeed as far as the playcalling goes. They have built a what should be lethal offensive attack and a strong front seven. In the secondary, there is a hole but it has been worked on over the course of several seasons trying to close the gap. Needless to say that this team is underperforming and the coaching staff has just as big of a play if not more as the inconsistency at the quarterback position.
At this point, I can’t say Tampa Bay has much of an option (unless they have a major rebound over the course of the season) other than to both let go of Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith and also look at other QB options. Whether it be in the NFL Draft or in free agency if a big name gets out there. As far as offensive personnel, Jameis Winston has been provided with a great core to lean on, and he has failed to produce much of anything. There are few excuses that we can use for Winston’s incapability to put together a playoff season. The coaching has a big part of why, but it’s the players that piece the puzzle together and I just don’t see how Winston is doing his part in this project.
I don’t believe that the Buccaneers will make any franchise changing moves during this regular season, I’m thinking we could very well see something this off-season if the Buccaneers do not show something to be optimistic for. As of now though, I don’t think it looks good for Winston’s long-term future with Tampa Bay.
Photo Source: Rick Scuteri/Associated Press