As the Buccaneers begin preparations for the 2018 season without their starting QB, lots of questions are being asked.
As of this moment Winston will miss the first three games of the 2018 season against New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Keep in mind the NFL has not yet issued it‘s findings on the allegations. Once the report is released, Winston could miss a few more games maybe up to six, or have the suspension reduced to as little as two games.
The NFL is taking its good old time with their investigation and the issuing of the report. The report could be issued any day now
The Bucs have one of the more challenging schedules to begin the NFL season. They open on the road in New Orleans against the Saints. never an easy place to play. The Bucs will then come home to play the Super Bowl Champions in their home opener, and then the marquee game of the season, a Monday night affair with the Steelers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center for these three games and possibly more as he will be the starter in Winston’s absence.
Do the Bucs have any chance of winning any one of these games with Winston out of the lineup? The answer is yes! There was no guarantee that the Bucs would win any of these with Winston under center.
Fizpatrick was 2-1 as a starter when he started three games last season as Winston missed these games with an elbow injury.
There was a lot of consternation when Fitzpatrick started last season. His style of play is totally different than Winston’s. Dosen’t take a lot of chances with the football, takes what the defense will give him versus trying to force things and make plays.
Fitzpatrick had 7 TD’s and 3 picks last season and I would expect those stats to be a bit better this season beacuse of a much improved running game, and a better receiving corp.
Fitzpatrick dosen’t have the arm strenth that Winston has, but can make the throws when he needs to move the chains.
Many of those so called experts have written off the Bucs this season and have the Bucs starting 0-3. These are the same guys and gals who thought the Bucs would get a playoff berth last year and win the division. So what do they know? No more than you and I.
One thing to watch will be in training camp and how Koetter divides up the reps between Winston and Fitzpatrick knowing that Winston will not see the field until the 4th game in Chicago at the earliest.
The Bucs are saying right now they will not pursue a veteran QB to back up Fitzpatrick. They are really high on Ryan Griffin, but he has yet to throw a pass in a regular season game. Austin Allen probably will probably make the club and be the third QB until Winstons return.
Best case scenario would be 2-1 with wins against New Orleans and Pittsburgh.
Worst case scenario would be 0-3. If that happens, Koetter and Licht might want to start looking for employment for the 2019 season as they will not be returning to Tampa.
I think the Bucs go 1-2 with their win coming against New Orleans and then losses to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.