Jameis Winston’s post-suspension benching lasted exactly two quarters.
On Monday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter announced Winston will start the team’s next game, in Week 6 against NFC South rival Atlanta.
Part of the plan
Koetter said, “He will. Yup, he will,” when asked if Winston will start the Buccanneers’ next game, after their bye.
“Last summer, I was on vacation when we got the call, I got the call from Jason [Licht, team general manager] that Jameis would be suspended for three games, first thing I did was look at our schedule,” Koetter said. “In the back of mind, from that point on I had it in my head Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) would start the first four games and Jameis would start in Atlanta. In no way is this on Fitz that we lost like we did yesterday. Fitz didn’t play as well as he had been playing, but this was 100 percent a team deal.
“We brought Fitz here two years ago to be a mentor for Jameis and a guy who could fill in if Jameis was out for injury. Both times we asked Fitz to fill in – last year he was 2-1, this year he was 2-2…job well done. In fact, excellent. Fitz’s combination of experience, talent and leadership is valued here. At the same time, Jameis Winston is the guy that’s going to be here way longer than I am.”
Winston played second half vs. Bears
Fitzpatrick did start Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, but played just one half. He struggled against the Bears’ defense, completing just 9-of-18 passes for 126 yards and an interception. Tampa Bay was just 1-for-7 on third down in the opening two quarters.
Winston wasn’t much better, intercepted on his sixth pass attempt of his first possession, and then again at the end of the fourth quarter. The game was already out of hand when Winston got to play – the Bucs were down 38-3 at the half, allowing five touchdown passes from Mitchell Trubisky.
Koetter never thought he’d see his team down five touchdowns at halftime, he said, but when it was he figured it was the perfect time to get Winston some snaps at game speed.
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