When the schedule was released, people freaked out. When it was known quarterback Jameis Winston would miss the first three games, people freaked out some more. When journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick was not going to be replaced by a guy like Teddy Bridgewater, people freaked out.
Here we are now two games into the season and people want Fitzpatrick to remain the starter for a very long time.
The 35-year-old quarterback has been lighting up the statsheet. In the first two games of the season, he has thrown eight touchdowns to one interception with a quarterback rating of 151.5. Crazy.
It’s understandable why people would like to see the veteran signal caller continue under center and not let Winston play again until Fitz falls on his face or an injury occurs. But why not let the young 24-year-old come back anyways despite Fitzpatrick’s success?
Many are using Fitzpatrick’s accuracy as their main reason for their argument. Currently throwing at a 78-percent completion rate has people wanting more Fitzmagic. But it’s more about the system and the preseason where you’ll find the answers as to why.
This preseason, the Buccaneers scored the most points under head coach Dirk Koetter. It also happens to be the first preseason he wasn’t calling plays and the first preseason where all three of the Bucs quarterbacks saw improvement in their completion percentages.
2018 - 73.2% on 41 attempts
2017 - 68.1% on 47 attempts
2016 - 59.1% on 44 attempts
2018 - 60.7% on 28 attempts
2017 - 52.5% on 40 attempts
2016 - 55.2% on 29 attempts
2018 - 68% on 75 attempts
2017 - Injured
2016 - 58.1% on 74 attempts
Winston put up that completion percentage this past preseason with a shuffled offensive line and wide receivers group. Same goes for Fitzpatrick. And with that, both were able to put up their best preseason completion percentages under Monken’s playcalling. You can say the same for Griffin.
Now we see Fitzpatrick putting up his highest completion percentage of his career with an offensive line and offensive weapons that are set, not shuffled. So while Fitzpatrick is most certainly doing an excellent job so far in two games, the same opportunity should be given to Winston — that is to play with a set group of offensive personnel with the same consistent playcalling.
What we have seen so far is the offense executing Monken’s game planning which is now being complimented by his game planning. Where as before, Monken’s game planning was being steered differently by play calling that came from Dirk Koetter.
So while there is certainly some magic in the air, this new Buccaneers offensive system is what has allowed for the success we’ve seen so far in 2018.
Since people apparently seem to have memory loss on Winston connecting on deep balls and now the attention has turned to that, let’s refresh our memories.
This offseason, Winston was committed to get better in that department. He did.
He worked on his chemistry with DeSean Jackson and it showed in camp as he hit him deep in stride a few times. Oh, and the one time they attempted it in preseason, he hit Jackson in stride there, too.
Here’s the gif: