The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 season is all but over. With the focus shifting towards next season, it is time to start Jameis Winston.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached an impasse.
The team dropped their Week 10 game to the Washington Redskins 16-3, in a game they quite frankly should have won.
Sitting at 3-6, the Bucs had all but eliminated themselves from playoff contention, even with a soft stretch of games ahead. Now the Buccaneers must look towards the future.
Tampa Bay has to start thinking about the future, rather than the present. That begins with their starting quarterback situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick played his tail off this season, but he isn’t the long-term option at quarterback.
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It’s clear now this team is more than just a quarterback away from being a playoff team.
The time to turn back to Jameis Winston is now. Yes, Dirk Koetter announced that Fitzpatrick would start Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, but it’s time to look past 2018.
Tampa Bay will gain nothing from playing a journeyman quarterback for the rest of the season.
The Bucs need to see what Winston can do for the rest of this season. To see if he can live up to his number one overall draft status.
Some may feel that Winston is already a lost cause, while others still think there is a chance. Every game Winston shows why he was the top pick in the draft, but he also exhibits why people questioned his ability to be a franchise QB.
Over 12,000 yards and 75 passing touchdowns in less than four full seasons is excellent. The 54 interceptions and 19 fumbles, not so much.
The turnover bug has plagued Winston since taking his first NFL snap, literally his first snap. The issues with protecting the football can be drawn to his lack of consistency.
Winston could escape a sack, roll out and deliver a perfect ball to a receiver in double coverage. On the next play, he could air mail his target by 10 yards.
With the Giants and 49ers on deck, Winston can get his feet back under him and torch a pair of subpar defenses. Then, the real test will come when the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers come to town.
Playing Winston does come with some risk. Tampa Bay decided to accept his fifth-year option, so if he gets injured that will kick in, and Tampa will be forced to pay him north of $20 million. This may even lead to a Ryan Griffin sighting in the last game or two.
Promoting Winston to starter gives the Bucs the ability to see if he can take advantage of one more chance. It also can make the front office’s decision on his future easier once the offseason rolls around.
One thing is for sure though; this franchise needs to figure out what they want to do at quarterback in 2019 and beyond.
Fitzpatrick has done an excellent job up to this point and its nothing against him, but he just isn’t going to be a viable part of the franchise down the line.