If I was the coach of the Buccaneers, the decision is a simple one. You start Ryan Griffin.
Griffin signed an extension after his injury against the Bengals in pre-season. To that point, he was out playing Ryan Fitzpatrick in training camp and was likely headed to second string status. Instead, his season was derailed and the rest is history.
I am absolutely shutting Jameis Winston down for the rest of the season. There is no upside to starting him the rest of the year. In fact, there is a really good chance – knowing the NFL – that Winston starts 2018 serving a multiple game suspension. Unless the Bucs are going to fork over a big check to Fitzpatrick again, it’s best to see what they have in Ryan Griffin to fill that four to six game void that they are likely facing with Winston’s investigation.
If Griffin performs adequately, you have something to build on next off-season to prepare for the loss of the starting quarterback. If he’s a complete disaster, you know heading into the off-season that you have to prepare this team, this roster, for the likelihood Winston misses time and you find a new backup. Whether that means signing a free agent, re-signing Fitz, or addressing it in the draft, you will know where you stand moving forward.
We all would like to see what Griffin has to offer. We’ve never seen him in real game action and this is the right time to do so. Let Winston rest and heal properly, let Griffin start, and let Fitzpatrick be the backup and mentor to the kid.