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Bucs Nation Mailbag: Winston, Griffin, and tanking

Fans ask, “What happened?!”

NFL: SEP 08 49ers at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Bucs lost. The offense couldn’t get much of anything going. And who usually gets the full blame for a loss that many were expecting more from?

The quarterback. And in Tampa Bay, his name is Jameis Winston.

Following the game, we opened up our Twitter mailbox for questions. Of course, many were extremely mad over Winston’s performance and rightfully so.

So let’s get to it!

@ToddMTaylor: (1) Do you think Arians considered pulling Jameis at any point? (2) if Jameis has a similar game on Thursday, is it Ryan Griffin time?

No. I do not think Arians considered pulling Winston at any point. Up until his final interception, the game was close and his supporting cast wasn’t giving him much help. Receivers dropped passes, offensive line was inconsistent, and receivers weren’t getting separation. There was more going on than just Winston struggling.

As for the upcoming game, he — as well as his offensive unit — need to play better. If he struggles and struggles bad and those struggles are truly his own doing, then most definitely I would think Arians at least considers it. However, with it being a divisional matchup, I think it would be doubtful. Especially if it is a close game.

@PaulWartenberg: is there ANYTHING salvageable by the coaches for the rest of this season? the poor performance by Winston - yet again - suggests a passing game that won’t do well except give away INTs. :(

I had this question answered with my thoughts from yesterday when I tweeted about Winston’s pick-six(s). Something seemed off about the first one and I waited to see what happened on the sidelines after the second one. I waited to see the reactions for the coaches, and my suspicions were correct to some degree.

The first interception was on tight end O.J. Howard. The ball hit him in the hands and bounced right into the arms of a 49ers defender. The second was a timing route in which head coach Bruce Arians confirmed was a bad route run by running back Peyton Barber (accountability list!) in which Winston put the ball right where it needed to be. And the third is a bit tricky.

It was supposed to be a screen to running back Dare Ogunbowale. However, as Winston put the ball up in the area where Ogunbowale was supposed to be at, the running back timed his break wrong and as he tried to get to that area (late) he ran himself into a crowd of players instead, never reaching the area of where the ball was going.

On the sidelines, Arians let Ogunbowale have it. So it was safe to assume that that all was all on him and not Winston, right? Wrong. The case may have been made for either one of the two or both to share blame there. But Arians confirmed that Winston shoud have thrown the ball away instead.

So on the stat sheet, yes, Winston threw three interceptions. However, you have to ask yourself what really happened on those plays. Then you may understand why he would have thrown one, or maybe even no interceptions — depending on how the game looked there at the end when he threw his second pick-six.

@yulandjoe: Is the RISK of finishing with 4-8 wins worth the pipe dream of making the playoffs? Why shouldn’t we do what the Dolphins are doing and start over?

I’m not a fan of tanking. Why? Because the idea looks great on paper until that draft pick is selected and he is not the guy you had hoped. It’s very easy to say that any team should lose-out so that they can guarantee the top pick. But nothing is certain.

I understand the same can be said about Winston. Five years now and his first game of his fifth-year it wasn’t very productive. But listen to the professionals (the coaches) when they say a lot more went on than just bad quarterback play. Aside from the defense, the receivers weren’t getting separation, routes weren’t run right, etc. There were inconsistencies all around.

The issues they encountered Sunday can easily be fixed. The coaches just have to stay on top of the players. It’s Week 1. There is still plenty of time for them to turn things around.

Bucs Nation’s mailbag is open following each game in the 2019 season. If you’d like to ask questions regarding the game or even looking ahead, tweet at us using #BucsNationMailbag or email us at