This doesn’t seem like it should be too difficult of a question, but something tells me there will be a whole lot of debate about it. Assuming all three quarterbacks are “available” this coming week, I start Ryan Griffin, sit Ryan Fitzpatrick as the backup and keep Jameis Winston inactive.
Obviously, the biggest factor in this decision is the team’s place in the league right now. The Bucs are 4-7 with five games to go. Nearly all hope is out the window for the playoffs, meaning the rest of the season should be used to see what the franchise has for the future. Of course, Winston is still the future. But he is recovering from a shoulder injury and Tampa Bay has nothing left to play for. So, it makes sense to let him fully heal rather than try to speed up the process just so he can get back on the field and maybe save Dirk Koetter’s job somehow. The rest of the season means nothing and Winston means a whole lot for the future, so I’d keep him inactive and let him get his shoulder right for 2018.
As for the other two quarterbacks, it’s somewhat of a toss-up. Fitzpatrick is doing a fine enough job of filling in for Winston, but he couldn’t do enough to keep the team in the playoff hunt while the starter was dealing with an injury. Starting the veteran would be fine, but why not give Griffin a shot? The Bucs are reportedly high on him and they’ve kept him around this long. I’d give him his chance to prove what he can do. If he does well, Tampa Bay knows it has a fine backup for the foreseeable future. If he struggles, then maybe it’s time to move on from him and find another second-stringer in free agency. Fitzpatrick is gone after this season, so it doesn’t make too much since to stick with him under center.
It’s unlikely that Griffin can win more than a game or two the rest of the way. But at this point, what will winning do for anyone? The Bucs aren’t making the playoffs, so each win the rest of the way just pushes them further down in the draft. Tanking isn’t fun, but does Tampa Bay have a better option? Just give Griffin a chance to prove himself and keep your star healthy so that the team will be ready to come back next year and hopefully right the ship.