Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter needs wins to keep his job. His decision to stick with Ryan Fitzpatrick makes perfect sense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter announced that Ryan Fitzpatrick would remain the team’s starting quarterback for next week’s matchup against the New York Giants.
“I just think he still gives us the best opportunity right now,” Koetter said.
Koetter is right. The veteran has superior numbers compared to counterpart Jameis Winston and has put the Buccaneers in a strong position on a consistent basis this season.
In his two starts since taking over for Jameis Winston, he threw for 649 yards, completed 65.4 percent of his passes, and has four touchdowns to go along with four interceptions.
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Those numbers are the standard for Fitzpatrick. They aren’t terrible, but they certainly won’t garner long-term success. However, his numbers throughout 2018 are worlds better than Winston’s.
With Koetter’s hot seat getting hotter and hotter, the only thing that will save his job is victories. If the Buccaneers can finish the season at an 8-8 mark or better, ownership may grant him another season. If the losing continues, expect another man at the helm in 2019.
While starting Winston for the rest of the season may be the popular option, it makes no sense for Tampa Bay’s coaching staff. The coaches jobs are on the line, Koetter isn’t going to make general manager Jason Licht and the next coaching staff’s lives any more comfortable by throwing Winston out there to lose games.
Plus, Koetter already granted Winston an opportunity when he didn’t have too. Fitzpatrick was impressive through the first four games of the season. Since the initial quarterback change, the Bucs have lost three of their last four games.
Koetter needs to find a way to get the Buccaneers back into the hunt. With a pair of games against the Giants and San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay could be 5-6, with a puncher’s chance of making the wild card.
Will the Bucs be able to finish the season with five straight wins? Probably not, but that’s where Koetter and the Bucs find themselves. The Buccaneers entered 2018 with a “win-now” mindset; it’s too late to turn back from that now.
Does Winston sitting on the bench help Tampa Bay in 2019 and beyond? Probably not. But it’s important to understand that isn’t the priority for this coaching staff.
To expect them to throw in the towel and start the turnover-prone mess that Winston was earlier this season doesn’t make much sense. Believing that Winston will return as the starter in the next couple of weeks is wishful thinking at best.