The answer to the question of will it be Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston starting against the Bears on Sunday has been made.
Unfortunately Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter has only shared the plan with his two quarterbacks, and chose not to divulge Sunday’s starter with the media on Tuesday afternoon at his day-after press conference.
“I know there’s a lot of interest in the quarterback thing, and I did talk to both Jameis and Fitz and it’s great to see Jameis back in the building,” Koetter said. “He was here early and working hard. We welcomed Jameis back and we’re glad to have him. It’s a short week and he assured me that he was ready to go and I don’t doubt for a minute that he’s been working hard.
“We know what we’re going to do, both guys know what we’re going to do, I hope everyone can appreciate that it doesn’t do us any good to tell our opponents what we’re going to do. That’ll work itself out as the week goes on but we do have a plan and both guys are aware of it.”
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Koetter was also asked if he was concerned that the locker room would start choosing sides in the debate and also said having this problem isn’t really a problem.
“It’s possible, it’s possible,” Koetter said. “I worry about a lot of stuff but I also trust our guys. I trust our guys that they’ll know that we’re making the move that’s in the best interest of our team. I think that our guys just want to win and the second half last night was a good example of that. When you go in three touchdowns, three scores, at halftime… the fight was still there in our guys, even just in the locker room. I’m proud of the way they competed and came back. I think, no matter what the adversity is, our guys will try to fight through it.
“I want to just say on that, this quarterback issue we have right now is not an adversity, we are blessed. I think we have three good quarterbacks on our roster right now and not all teams in the league can say that. I think we can win – Griff(in) hasn’t proven it yet – but I think we have two guys that we can win with, and a third guy that I’d love to get a shot sometime.”
Fitzpatrick’s first half(three interceptions, and a 30-10 deficit) seemed to answer the question on it’s own Monday night, but a second half near comeback kept things somewhat muddled. The former Harvard standout nearly led the Bucs to a wild comeback and finished the night with over 400 yards for the third straight week, something that has never been done in the history of the NFL.
During the three-week absence, Winston rallied together a number of former football players and had simulated practices and even games, something that Koetter knew about but wasn’t able to see.
“I wasn’t there so I don’t know, but knowing Jameis, the fact that he came up with that plan and put it into motion and recruited people to help,” Koetter said. “I mean, I’ve never seen that before but it really doesn’t surprise me, knowing Jameis like I know him. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a film of it to see what it looked like because Jameis got his wish; he was the player and the coach at the same time.”