The Tampa Bay Buccaneers accomplished virtually nothing in their embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, but Jameis Winston may have earned his starting job back.
Ryan Fitzpatrick drew the start on Sunday even with Winston having returned from his three-game suspension, but head coach Dirk Koetter made a quarterback change when his team was trailing 38-3 at halftime. Winston proceeded to throw an interception on his first drive of the season, but Koetter hinted that he’s going to start in Week 6 after the bye.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 30, 2018
Winston ended up throwing two picks, but he completed 16-of-20 passes for 145 yards and led a touchdown drive. It makes sense that he was rusty since it was his first action of the year, so Koetter is probably giving him the benefit of the doubt.
While Fitzpatrick put up video game numbers over the first three weeks of the season, a report from Sunday indicated he was already on a very short leash. It would be a surprise if he starts over Winston again in Week 6.
Ryan Fitzgerald went from the toast of the NFL to apparently losing his job very, very quickly.
Despite Fitzpatrick’s remarkable start to the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not hesitate to bench him at halftime while behind 38-3 to the surging Chicago Bears, bringing Jameis Winston on to start the third quarter.
And here comes QB Jameis Winston for the #Bucs… It was a quick hook by coach Dirk Koetter, as Ryan Fitzpatrick goes to the bench.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 30, 2018
While this could theoretically be an effort to get Winston some reps in a game that is now a blowout, it may be that he’s staking his case for the starting job after returning from suspension. Fitzpatrick went 9-of-18 for 126 yards with an interception, though the blowout wasn’t really his fault with the way his Chicago Bears counterpart played.
Winston threw an interception on his first drive of the second half, so it remains to be seen if he really stands out in relief of Fitzpatrick.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has put up passing yardage at an incredible rate for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, surprising everyone except for, apparently, the man he was standing in for.
Jameis Winston said Wednesday that he expected Fitzpatrick to excel, and is happy with the situation as long as the team is winning.
“This is what I expected,” Winston said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN. “Obviously, it’s a tough situation to say but it’s a win-win situation baby. [We’re] here balling hard, [we’re] winning. The community is behind us. I’m happy, everyone is happy, you guys are happy. As long as we [are] happy, [we’re] good.”
Winston might have to get used to being happy with it without being a part of it. Even though his suspension is over, the likelihood is that Fitzpatrick will retain the starting job at least through Week 4.
Jameis Winston may have lost a lot more than a significant portion of his salary when the NFL suspended him for three games. If Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to play at a high level, Winston could find himself riding the bench for the foreseeable future.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Fitzpatrick is “very likely” to remain the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback when Winston returns from his suspension. While team officials have not yet met to make an official decision, Fitzpatrick has been arguably the best quarterback in football through the first two games of the season. His performance and that of the team is impossible to ignore.
In two games, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 819 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception. He has a nearly-perfect passer rating of 151.5. The Bucs stunned the New Orleans Saints on the road in Week 1 before beating the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles at home last week.
One source told La Canfora the Bucs plan to take things “week to week” after Winston returns. There’s a chance Fitzpatrick could get just one more start in Week 4 since Tampa will have a short week after facing the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, but it’s going to be tough to take him off the field if the Buccaneers continue to win.
Winston recently had a lawsuit filed against him from the woman who says she was groped by him in an Uber car back in 2016. He has avoided charges, but the NFL still suspended him three games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Jameis Winston is now facing a lawsuit from the woman who says she was groped by the quarterback while driving him for Uber’s service in March 2016.
Winston is currently serving a three-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s conduct policy with his involvement in the matter. Winston has not been criminally charged, but the NFL investigated the matter and found the woman’s account to be consistent and credible.
Apparently upset over Winston’s seemingly flippant dismissal of the matter, the woman hired an attorney to file a lawsuit in hopes of getting him to understand the extent of his wrongdoing.
“She is unimpressed by his continued lack of honesty or awareness into his behavior,” the woman’s attorney, John Clune told the Tampa Bay Times. “Maybe a more direct financial penalty will get his attention. He needs to learn from this and have some genuine insight or pay the penalty.
“She knows that she might be just a speed bump for him in his football career, but she is not going to be a small one.”
The woman is seeking damages for “emotional distress as well as future therapy expenses” and that she is due “exemplary or punitive damages to punish and deter such conduct,” the Tampa Bay Times says.
Winston was at a club with friends in Scottsdale, Ariz. in March 2016 and they called an Uber for him to be driven home. He was said to have been intoxicated at the time. Winston told the driver he wanted a burrito, so she drove him to a Mexican fast food restaurant. She says he leaned over and put his hand/fingers on her genitals while they were in the drive through line. The woman immediately challenged him over his violation, saying, “what’s up with that?” He removed his hand after that. She contacted Uber to report the incident the following day.
Winston originally strongly denied the allegation. He even had a friend back him by saying they were in the Uber together and that nothing happened. However, another friend claims there were two separate Uber rides — one earlier and one later in the night — and that the alleged violation occurred in the later one where Winston was alone with the driver.
Winston was also the subject of very public sexual assault allegations when he was in college at Florida State. He was not criminally charged in that case, but he ended up settling a civil suit and countersuit with the woman out of court.
Even though Jameis Winston is suspended, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback is keeping up some informal contact with his teammates.
According to Peter King’s Football Morning in America, Winston shared a message with his receiver group, telling them “Awesome game!” after their 27-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
This raised some eyebrows, as Winston’s suspension is supposed to limit his contact with teammates. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, however, shared that such personal messages are acceptable in the NFL’s eyes as long as they don’t delve into game strategy.
On #Bucs QB Jameis Winston sending texts to his WRs teammates while on suspension: "There’s to be no discussion of football strategy with club personnel or players but a personal message is permissible,” per @NFLprguy.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 17, 2018
Winston was just checking in. If he’s upset or worried about potentially losing his starting job to Ryan Fitzpatrick even after his suspension concludes, he’s apparently not showing it.
Jameis Winston might not get his starting quarterback job immediately after serving his suspension.
Winston is serving a three-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been starting in his place and led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory over the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, lighting up the scoreboard in the process. He passed for 417 yards and four touchdowns in the game, easily surpassing all expectations.
Given the great start Fitzpatrick had, the Bucs appear open to taking things week-by-week once Winston returns, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. He notes that the Bucs will be on a short week when they get ready for Week 4 after playing on Monday night in Week 3. Due to the short preparation week, it could make sense to keep Fitzpatrick as the starter, especially since they have a bye in Week 5, which would be a natural time to make a change.
A lot of this depends on how Fitzpatrick looks. If he wins one of his two next starts and doesn’t completely implode, it would make a lot of sense for the Bucs to continue rolling with him.