The Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to give Jameis Winston his starting job back earlier this season despite how well Ryan Fitzpatrick had played, but the switch didn’t last very long.
Winston was benched in the second half of Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals after he threw his fourth interception of the day. One of the picks was returned for a touchdown.
Some of the throws from Winston were truly atrocious:
This throw by Jameis Winston may be the worst of the season at any level. pic.twitter.com/q79tDyjAJj
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 28, 2018
Winston has thrown multiple interceptions in every game in which he has played this season, and the four on Sunday brought his total for the season to 10. Considering the game against the Bengals was only his third start of the year, that is about as bad as it gets.
We have already seen several starting-caliber players change teams leading up to next week’s NFL trade deadline, and DeSean Jackson is hoping to be one of the next.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Jackson has asked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to trade him, but the team has not shown a willingness to grant his request. Jackson wants to be part of an offense where he can be more involved, and he hasn’t shown the same type of chemistry with Jameis Winston that he had early in the year with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
With Fitzpatrick starting, Jackson had 112 yards or more receiving in three of the first four games. He also had three touchdown catches during that span, but he has caught just six passes total in the two games Winston has started.
The Bucs are 3-3, so they still have playoff aspirations. They may be hesitant to trade Jackson because of that, and it seems unlikely that they would get much in return for the 31-year-old. Jackson has a salary of $11 million for this season, so any team that acquired him would be on the hook for the remainder of that. He’s also scheduled to make $10 million in 2019, though that salary is not guaranteed.
Jackson was not listed among the 10 players we see as potential trade candidates ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, but he may force Tampa’s hand.
While teams like the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints could not have scripted much better starts to their 2018 season, there are plenty of others that have ground to make up heading into Week 7. Some teams are facing must-win situations if they want to remain in postseason contention. Others simply need a win to prevent their seasons from spiraling out of control, and to maintain job security.
Here are 10 NFL teams that badly need to win their next game, whether that is in Week 7 or coming out of the bye in Week 8:
Jerry Jones still seems to believe that this year’s team is a contender. They will have to win on Sunday to prove that. Dallas is 3-3 and coming off its biggest win of the season as they demolished the Jags 40-7. The NFC East is up for grabs, being currently led by 3-2 Washington, whom the Cowboys face on the road. Dallas is 0-3 on the road this season, and dropping to 3-4 on the season would make winning the division tough, especially if Philly wins in Week 7. The Cowboys probably are unlikely to grab a wild-card spot, so winning the division is their easiest path to the playoffs. They are unlikely to do so if they don’t beat Washington this weekend.
Highly-touted defensive coordinator Mike Smith is out as defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Smith, who took over as defensive coordinator prior to the 2016 season, was fired Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 15, 2018
The #Bucs made Mike Smith the highest-paid defensive coordinator in football. The team was ranked 31st. He was fired today in a major shakeup. Dirk Koetter has handed over play-calling, now fired his defensive coordinator.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 15, 2018
Smith is known for having served as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 2008 to 2014. Given the comments Dirk Koetter made after an embarrassing loss two weeks ago, he may count himself a bit lucky that he held on for as long as he did, as only three teams have allowed more points than the Buccaneers have.
The first four weeks of the NFL’s regular season are in the books, and parity seems to be the name of the game. Only two teams remain unbeaten (Chiefs and Rams), while only one remains winless (Cardinals). Some teams are performing above expectations, while others are falling short. There is still plenty of time for things to change, but here’s a look at each NFL team’s grade through the quarter mark of the season.
Arizona Cardinals — D
There’s not much to say here. The Cardinals were expected to be bad and have been downright terrible. They’ve actually been decent defensively, which saves them from an F, but they’ve scored a miserable 37 points in four games, comfortably the worst mark in the NFL. Perhaps moving from Sam Bradford to Josh Rosen will help the offense a tiny bit — they nearly beat the Seahawks at home on Sunday — but it’s going to be a long season in the desert either way.
- Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were blown out 48-10 by the Chicago Bears on Sunday, and it was a performance that left a lot of people embarrassed.
That included head coach Dirk Koetter, who stated that everyone involved with the performance deserved to be fired — including himself.
Dirk Koetter not sugar-coating things: “We were horrific in all aspects today. All aspects.” Asked if he’d consider switching DCs, he said “We should fire every person that was on the field today.” Said that included him.
— Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) September 30, 2018
The Buccaneers allowed 483 total yards, and Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw six touchdowns. Tampa Bay also switched quarterbacks at the half, though it did little to alter the course of the game.
The Buccaneers can’t quite fire everybody, even with a performance that bad. However, given Koetter’s forceful answer, defensive coordinator Mike Smith might be a little bit worried heading into work this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to make his fourth start of the season when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Chicago Bears Sunday, but it sounds like there’s a good chance it could be his last.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter told the team in a meeting this week he was “one or two plays away” from benching Fitzpatrick when the veteran threw his third interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. Tampa was trailing 23-7 in the second quarter at the time Koetter was considering giving fifth-year pro Ryan Griffin a shot.
Rapoport was told by sources that Koetter’s revelation took some players by surprise and led them to believe Fitzpatrick’s starting job is not safe. Jameis Winston has returned from his three-game suspension for Week 4, and it’s fair to wonder how easily it would be for him to supplant Fitzpatrick if Koetter was considering benching Fitzpatrick for a career backup like Griffin.
Despite the three interceptions against Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick had his third consecutive game with over 400 yards passing and nearly led the Bucs back from a 30-10 halftime deficit. He already has over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdown passes on the season, and Winston is certainly trying to handle the situation with as much class as possible.