We all know that Jameis Winston was suspended for the first three games of this past season due to the UBER incident in 2016. While he was suspended, Ryan Fitzpatrick temporarily took over the starting role. Ryan Fitzpatrick also started in week 4 just prior to the Bucs’ bye week in week 5. Ryan Fitzpatrick started off the season performing at a high level. Everybody remembers Ryan Fitzpatrick being dubbed “Fitzmagic” due to his performance. Winston regained his starting job in week 6, and there were some mixed opinions among fans about who should be the starting QB for the rest of the season.
There were several points, during this past season, where most Bucs fans didn’t know if Jameis Winston would be in the future plans of the franchise going forward due to his lackluster play on the field as a starter. He continued to struggle with turnovers and was benched again in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. From that point forward, Fitzpatrick did not play that well, and he was eventually benched in favor of Jameis Winston.
At many points throughout the season, Dirk Koetter had several press conferences, where many reporters constantly grilled him about who would be the starting QB. There were several interesting quotes from Koetter this that pointed to Koetter possibly not wanting to restart Winston, such as: “I do not like switching quarterbacks. That’s not in my makeup to switch quarterbacks.” With Koetter saying things like that it led many fans to believe that he wanted Fitzpatrick to start the whole season. If that had happened, I would guess that Jameis Winston would not still be with the team right now. I am thankful that he is because I believe that Bruce Arians will be able to bring the best out of Winston.
Despite Koetter saying that he did not like to switch his starting QBs around, he did it multiple times and did so based on opponent matchups. Koetter also said Winston, “Is a guy who will be here way longer than me and needs to be playing.” He ended up being right.
Another quote from Dirk Koetter was that “the whole way this whole season has played out has led to this,” Koetter said. “If Jameis isn’t missing those first three games and Fitz doesn’t come in and light it up for 2 ½ games, you don’t know what you have at your two quarterbacks.”
It is my opinion that during this offseason, the Buccaneers front office needs to re-work Winston’s contract or give him some kind of incentive-based, prove it deal. If they do that, they will not have to worry about re-signing him to a long term contract this year, and as a result, saving the organization money for salary cap room. Winston can be re-signed to a big long-term deal next year. Jason Licht and his team need to focus on how to improve this team through the draft and free agency. I look forward to seeing Winston improve exponentially in 2019.
Bruce Arians, who is now the new head coach for the Bucs, had been recently quoted saying, “the whole thing is going to be built around Jameis Winston,” and that the core of this team is, “built to win.” Arians also he believes that Jameis Winston is capable of winning it all. Bigger and better things are on the way for the Bucs in 2019.
I’m excited, and this should be a fun season!
I predict that the Bucs playoff drought is going to come to an abrupt end in 2019!