Jameis Winston returns after a three-week absence today, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Green Bay Packers in the cold, cold north. Winston was out with a shoulder injury that’s bothered him for the bulk of the season, though he initially tried to play through it. When he kept aggravating it (and playing worse every week), the Bucs deactivated him until he was fully healthy—which is right now.
Ironically, the Bucs did pretty well in Winston’s absence, winning two out of three games with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. Not that Fitzpatrick was playing heroic football—he mostly just avoided gross turnovers. Those wins were more due to defensive performances than an offensive explosion.
Those hoping to see the offense take some steps forward this week because Winston is back may be in for a surprise, though. Winston may be better than Fitzpatrick, the Bucs have lost three linemen and their starting running back compared to last week. That’s a big blow to any offense, let alone one that’s been struggling all season.
Still, it’ll be interesting to see how Winston looks in his first game back, and how he copes with these personnel deficiencies.