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How would a potential Winston-less Bucs team perform in 2018?

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Jameis very well may end up suspended for one to six games, but how will the team manage it?

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With Jameis’ potential suspension still up in the air from this past years infamous Uber ride, the Buccaneers were smart to bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back into the mix for the upcoming season. Just how long Jameis Winston may be suspended is a bit foggy but as Gil Arcia put here, while there is no definitive answer, all signs point to some form of a suspension. So let’s take a look at last year without Jameis and how that may play into the upcoming season.

It’s easy to look back and say Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team to a 2-1 record and feel seemingly comfortable with Jameis being out. However, as Steven Beck wrote yesterday, wins and losses are not a measurable stat for quarterbacks. Last season filling in for Jameis, Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers beat the Jets 15-10. Fitzpatrick threw for sub-200 yards with a touchdown and a turnover. The team ran the ball 31 times and failed to notch 100 yards on the ground. Despite these facts and the defense racking up 6 sacks, the win is attached to Fitzpatrick. On the flip side, against the Falcons Fitzpatrick didn’t turn the ball over and the defense failed to shut down the Falcon offense leading to a 30-20 loss that again, is attached to Fitzpatrick. Now that we’ve reviewed a bit on QB wins and losses and Mr. Beck gave a much more detailed run down on this subject, let’s see how the team is set up for sustained success even without Jameis in 2018.

The Buccaneers should be fine if Jameis misses a few games to start the season simply because the overall roster and talent have been upgraded a good bit. The offense was retooled a bit with an upgrade to the offensive line and running back positions which will help alleviate pressure for any quarterback to take snaps this year. Second to that, Ryan Fitzpatrick is essentially a poor mans Jameis Winston, yes I believe that. Fitzpatrick will not hesitate to throw into tight windows, Fitzpatrick will allow receivers to make plays and there is the potential for an uptick in deep throw connections with Fitzpatrick under center. What will ultimately suffer are the broken plays that Jameis saves the offense on and the sheer will to win each play. Fitzpatrick, overall, is very capable of manning the ship for a few weeks without letting it sink. Keeping the ship afloat is really all that is needed should Jameis miss some games.

Fans should be worried if Jameis is suspended. The worry shouldn’t necessarily be because of the team going on a losing streak, no. The worry should be directed towards the leagues ability to suspend a player for keeping bad company (assuming the stories of the events that took place happened as they’ve been relayed with Jameis not being involved in the inappropriate actions). Fans should be worried that with a suspension, Jameis could find himself in another poor situation and face more severe punishment down the line. Fans SHOULD be worried that even if a player does the right things, is a great community leader and person off the field, that there is still a way for the league to flex it’s muscle and rain down it’s power upon thee. This team, this year, will be “fine” with or without Jameis should it only be for a short period of time. The “if’s” are for your definition of “fine” considering the staff in place that is set to lead these men.

As always though, Go Bucs!