Jameis Winston’s career as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback may be over after a dreadful performance against the Cincinnati Bengals.
2018 was going to be the year where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would find out if they had a franchise quarterback.
The plan from the get-go was to have Jameis Winston take over after serving his suspension as the starting quarterback. Unless Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bucs to an undefeated start, head coach Dirk Koetter likely planned on handing the keys over to Winston. The team would be his.
With the starting job in hand, Winston had the chance to prove that he is the face of the franchise. Winston has shown to be the opposite through his four starts in 2018.
Winston’s well-documented turnovers issues have only gotten worse. In just three and a half games, he leads the league with 10 interceptions. Last season Winston threw 11 interceptions in 13 games, he is already on the verge of topping that mark.
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On Sunday, Winston threw four interceptions, and he was benched late in the third quarter. Winston threw a pick-six right into the hands of Jessie Bates for a touchdown. When the game was virtually out of reach, Koetter turned to back to Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick delivered. Even if it was just for a quarter or so, the magic came back. Fitzpatrick rifled the ball down the field to the beat of 194 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He brought the Buccaneers all the way back from an 18-point deficit in just over 15 minutes.
Tampa Bay’s defense let him down, but Fitzpatrick stole the show, and with it, Winston’s starting job.
It’s never been more clear that Winston is not the future quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Yes, he is only 24 years old, but this is his fourth NFL season. There’s been no progress. The inconsistencies that were on display in his rookie year are still very apparent.
Against the Bengals, Winston’s inaccuracy was laughable. He missed so badly on some throws that it landed at the chests of defenders covering other receivers, not the one that Winston was targeting. It isn’t a stretch to say that this was Winston’s worst performance as a pro.
What makes matters worse is how important this game was. Tampa Bay was at a crossroads entering Sunday’s contest. At 3-3, a win could have propelled the Bucs into the playoff picture.
Winston flopped helplessly for three quarters until Fitzpatrick fixed his mess and made it a game.
Now, the fan base is wondering about who their quarterback will be in 2019. That’s how awful Winston looked on Sunday.
Although general manager Jason Licht and Koetter have everything invested in Winston, their jobs are on the line, and the only thing that can keep them around is winning. Winston cannot provide that.
If the Buccaneers are interested in winning football games this season, they need to hand the keys back to Fitzpatrick, Winston is not the answer.
The offense looked completely different with Fitzpatrick to open the season. There were more deep shots down the field and aside from a poor first half in Pittsburgh, the unit didn’t turn the ball over.
It’s clear at this point that Winston hasn’t taken the strides necessary to sign to a big-money extension. The talent is there, but his inconsistency and inability to take care of the football make it impossible to imagine him leading a winning product out onto the field.