Jameis Winston has hit a speed bump in his career over the past few months. It all started when the 24 year old quarterback was at the center of a intimate assault allegation involving an Uber driver. The incident immediately sparked backlash toward the quarterback, as graphic details continued to make their way toward public media channels.
The NFL has been increasingly tough on these issues, and as a result, issued Winston a three-game suspension. The Bucs simultaneously have very difficult matchups during their first five weeks of the season, with games against the Saints, Eagles, Steelers, Bears, and Falcons on their schedule. So it makes sense that people started saying the team would start the season with an 0-3 record, prior to the return of their starting quarterback.
The Bucs were prepared to start the year with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback for the first three games. But the “downgrade” at quarterback was expected to have a major setback for the offense. One that would hinder the game plan as well as the overall performance.
Someone should have asked Fitzpatrick what he thought about the matter, as he looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the entire league after Week 1. He led the Bucs into the Superdome, to take down the Saints with an impressive showing, winning the game 48-40. In the process, Fitz finished the game with 417 passing yards and four touchdowns, adding another score on the ground. He got all of his receivers involved in the game, picking apart the Saints supposedly improved secondary. Mike Evans had seven catches for 147 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Desean Jackson caught five balls for 146 yards and two scores, and Chris Godwin hauled in three of his four targets for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Clearly, the Bucs didn’t seem to skip a beat without Winston under center. There were already rumors that the team could move on from Winston after this season. The suddenly troubled quarterback’s troubles away from the field were too much for the franchise to deal with. The entire ordeal of his alleged assault was not taken lightly, and it could cost him his job.
Now that Fitzpatrick is playing at such a high level, it makes the move easier for the team. If he can maintain his sharp performance for the next couple of weeks, and continue to lead the team to victories, there would really be no reason to make any changes. That situation could come to fruition, as nobody really gave the Bucs a chance to beat the Saints, who were among the top teams in everyone’s power rankings ahead of the regular season.
The next two weeks, against the defending Super Bowl champions Eagles, as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers, will be a major indicator as to the future of the Bucs and Jameis Winston.