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Report: Ryan Fitzpatrick nearly benched a week ago

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According to Rapoport, Fitzpatrick was a few plays away from being replaced by back-up Ryan Griffin.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Things didn’t start off too well last week against Pittsburgh for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers offense. Things were so bleak in fact that head coach Dirk Koetter considered pulling Ryan Fitzpatrick out of the game to get some game experience for Ryan Griffin. Given the job Fitzpatrick did to battle back with the offense to come within a touchdown of winning it’s probably a good thing the switch was never made. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Koetter disclosed this information to the team this week.

Why would this be significant news as we head into the week 4 match-up against the Chicago Bears? Simple, the potential back-up quarterback this week is ultimately the franchise quarterback, Jameis Winston. A week ago it took a catastrophic first half to get the gears moving on possibly replacing Fitzpatrick with a back-up whom has never taken a snap under center in his NFL career. This week, the team’s franchise quarterback is back which means one can expect a far shorter leash than a week ago. As Rapoport concedes, some players in the room may feel this is a clear path to Winston returning sooner than later to his starting role.

Fitzpatrick is up against a terrifying defense led by Khalil Mack today in Chicago, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on this situation as the game progresses should it start to get out of hand. Khalil Mack and company could very well be Fitzpatrick’s undoing as the team’s starter and record setting quarterback of 2018.

Vita Vea will make his debut

Many reports are now confirming that Buccaneers first round pick defensive tackle Vita Vea will make his debut on Sunday. The Washington product has been recovering from an injured calf he suffered in training camp.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first with the report.