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Giving Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick Reps Is A Fine Line

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter discusses the balancing act between giving Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick suitable reps

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

We knew headed into camp that Ryan Fitzpatrick was going to get his share of first team reps. It’s rather critical given the burden on his shoulders to help the Buccaneers tread water the first three weeks of the season while Jameis Winston is suspended.

The question was, how many reps are the right amount for each guy?

Head coach Dirk Koetter addressed the concern following practice Wednesday as he’s doing the best he can given the circumstances;

“Yeah, well there’s no formula written down in the coach’s handbook for that, so we’re trying to get Jameis reps with all three groups. Obviously, we’ve got to give Fitz work. One of the advantages of having a 27-year veteran quarterback is he doesn’t need quite as many reps, so we can still get Jameis some work with the first group. But, Jameis is also getting more reps with the twos and threes. If you just counted them up every day, Jameis is getting the most reps everyday - barely - in camp. Also, we can’t forget about Ryan Griffin. He needs his reps because he’s one play away from being in there.”

Though I tend to disagree slightly with Koetter’s assessment that Fitzpatrick doesn’t need as many reps because of how long he’s been in the league, you have to understand that Winston will be without practice for three weeks. Therefore, he needs as many reps as possible now so that he’s ready to go come week four.

As for Fitz, this is a guy that has been a starter but needs as many reps as possible given that he doesn’t usually work with the first team offense. These guys have a limited window in which to build some chemistry and a rapport so that the first three games aren’t a complete bloodbath.

It’s not an easy road to navigate, but Koetter is doing the best he, or anyone in his situation, could do.