When the Buccaneers re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, they knew that it was possible, if not likely, that he would be the starting quarterback for Tampa Bay week one. When the suspension became official last Thursday, Buccaneer fans seemed to have lost all hope for the 2018 season. Our very own BucsNation’s Evan Winter wrote a piece over the weekend on why all hope shouldn’t be lost when it comes to Fitzpatrick starting the first three games of the season.
While it may not be likely, anything is possible, which is why I’m here to ask the question: What do the Buccaneers do if Fitzpatrick not only plays well, but also wins football games?
It’s a topic that certainly brings up an interesting debate. If the Buccaneers are some how, some way 3-0 heading into week four, there shouldn’t even be a conversation on who the starting quarterback will be against the Chicago Bears. Jameis Winston may still be the franchise quarterback and will at some point be the starter this season, but this team has been searching for a playoff berth for over a decade and you simply cannot take the ball out of a quarterback’s hand if he starts the season 3-0.
I also believe that there’s a possibility Fitzpatrick will be the starting quarterback for the week four game if the team goes 2-1. Remember, Fitzpatrick did go 2-1 last season and almost made a miraculous comeback against Arizona, so it is certainly possible for him to do the same this year.
Yes, the teams he will face this year are much tougher, but Fitzpatrick is a veteran and knows how to win football games. Jameis Winston will be away from the team for three full weeks while Fitzpatrick not only takes every in game snap, but also every practice rep. If the team has a chance to head into the bye week at 3-1, who would you rather have under center? A rusty Jameis Winston, or Fitzpatrick who would be in rhythm and playing well. In that scenario, I am taking Fitzpatrick simply because of the rust factor.
I think the only way Winston isn’t the starter come week six, is if the Buccaneers are 4-0 and Fitzpatrick is playing like an MVP candidate. I still think that it is entirely possible for Winston to not start a game until week 6 no matter what the record of the team is when his three game suspension is up. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what Tampa Bay decides to do.