Jameis Deal Shouldn’t Stop Bucs From Winning

June 22nd, 2018


There’s a fresh stain on the face of this franchise. Even Jameis Winston’s most ardent supporters would acknowledge the imminent blow to his reputation.

But Winston is not a one-man show and the Bucs are not a one-man team … at least they shouldn’t be.

Hard knocks have come once again, but adversity reveals character and we are about to find out what this team is made of.

The cynics emerged in full throat as soon as the 2018 schedule was announced in April, pointing out a potentially daunting early slate. And now, with the expectation that Winston won’t be available against the Saints, Eagles and Steelers, there’s a growing sense of doom festering in Buc Nation.

To that, I say shame on you.

If the Bucs can’t win a game or two in September, then they’re not the team Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter think they are. In case anyone forgot, Ryan Fitzpatrick went 2-1 in relief of an injured Winston last season, playing better than anyone had a right to expect.

Skeptics Delight But No Mulligans

But here’s Nate Burleson of NFL Network, offering up a crying towel to Buc faithful. “A suspension like this can derail your season,” he says.

Yes it can — if you let it get the best of you.

Kwon Alexander has already heard from the skeptics, so he went to Twitter to assure Buc fans the battle has not been lost.

“Haha, you guys are funny!” Alexander wrote, replying to a local sports radio.host who suggests the 2018 season should be deemed toast. “This man said the season over already.”

When I checked out the influential ProFootballTalk.com Friday, I was greeted with the following headline: “With or without Jameis Winston, Bucs may be staring at an 0-3 start.”

There are no excuses in the NFL, or at least there shouldn’t be. Losing your starting quarterback for a short period shouldn’t mean you get a mulligan for a bad season.

How many times have you heard this is a quarterback-driven league? If it’s all about the guy under center, how did the Jaguars almost reach the Super Bowl with Blake Bortles?

Didn’t the Eagles just win it all with a backup quarterback nobody else thought twice about? Didn’t the Titans reach the AFC divisional playoff round, despite the struggles of Marcus Mariota?

It’s about team — as the Steelers proved in 2010.

Bucs Can Answer Roger Goodell

That was the year Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games. Instead of whining, Pittsburgh broke from the gate 3-0, capped by a 38-13 rout in Tampa against a Bucs team that finished the year with 10 wins.

Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch kept the Steelers afloat until Roethlisberger returned and Pittsburgh ended up in the Super Bowl.

During that 3-0 start, the Steelers forced 10 turnovers. Rashard Mendenhall ran hard and effectively, chewing up clock. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Winston’s absence in New Orleans doesn’t preclude Gerald McCoy and company from dumping Drew Brees on his ass four times.

It doesn’t mean Peyton Barber can’t run for two yards on third-and-1 with five minutes remaining and Tampa Bay clinging to a 23-21 lead.

The men at the top of the Buc pyramid can’t afford to feel sorry for themselves. Another 5-11 season would surely mean that a new regime would get to decide whether Winston is the right guy to lead this team forward.

Good teams find a way to stay on track during bumpy times. The national media and the Vegas oddsmakers have already buried the Bucs. Even some supporters have lost faith.

It’s all up to the men in that locker room. They can demonstrate resiliency or they can fold like a cheap pewter suit.

Roger Goodell has spoken. In a few months, we’ll find out what the Bucs have to say.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays during football season, and see him now on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360 (aka BayNews 9). Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

61 Responses to “Jameis Deal Shouldn’t Stop Bucs From Winning”

  1. Chris in WA Says:

    The rest of the offseason has to go perfectly to have a snowballs chance in hell. Absolutely no injuries can be sustained by Grimes or VH3. Carlton Davis has to ball out at the level that everyone is hoping that he will. The D-Line has to dominate and the O-Line has to give Fitzpatrick as much time as possible. The O-Line also has to create holes for Peyton Barber and RoJo. RoJo has to be the monster runner that everyone is hoping for because it sounds like his pass catching leave some to be desired. D-Jax has to now work on his chemistry with Fitz as does O.J. and ME13 and Brate.

    The Aints, Steelers, and Eagles didn’t get much worse if not improving and we will be dealing with a healthy Wentz.

    It is certainly possible but this training camp and preseason might be the most important in a decade.

  2. DooshLaRue Says:

    Spot-on Ira.
    Call me a hater but I’m feeling more confident with Fitz.

  3. Red86 Says:

    He’s not called SAGE for nothing. I completely agree.

  4. Bucsfanman Says:

    This is the best piece yet! No ONE player is bigger than the team. There are those that post here (ahem, Realist!) that want to give the Bucs a mulligan every time a rain drops in Tampa Bay! There are no excuses. This team will have had an entire off-season to prepare. If we can’t overcome a small bump in the road like this, we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.
    Losers look for excuses to lose! Expect more.

  5. D-Rome Says:

    Ira, you didn’t answer the most important question.

    I agree that the team *should* be bigger than one player but the question for you still remains: Do you still believe the Bucs should move on from Jameis Winston now that he will be suspended?

  6. Trench War Says:

    This is a tremendous blow to this franchise no matter how much “The Sage” tries to spin it. If Fitz comes in and is able to rally wins then I think when Winston’s suspension is over Fitz should remain the starter. It might be a 3 game suspension but Winston won’t be able to work and get reps with the team during his stupid hiatus. So that 3 games could actually turn into 4 or 5 games until he’s back into game shape. This is a blackeye for the Bucs and it’s fans who pay a fortune for this product. All for a little stank finger. Un-frickin-believable ..the leader of men? ..my @ss

  7. The Buc Realist Says:


    You said yourself that you do not want to see a hole dug to start out the season!!!! And now they know that they are already starting from a hole before training camp starts!!!!!!!

    if you are going to judge the front office and the coaches on the record this year, Team Glazer should start getting a list of GM’s and Coaches ready!!!!!!

  8. Maze Says:

    In case Ira forgot Fitz only beat the hapless Dolphins and Jets…

  9. kingbuc17 Says:

    Fitz 3-0 out of the gate, then what? I loved the Winston pick, but the baggage is tiresome, especially being the face of the franchise.

    Plus, what type of leader doesn’t fess up to all these criminal activities, not someone we want running the franchise. You can only say I made a childish mistake so often. Forget about the “crab leg” incident, these and previous accusations are sexual assault charges which if found guilty, would be jail time.

    I am even more scared paying this guy past his current extension. Come on Will Grear (UWV).

  10. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Thank you Sage for being the voice of reason. I totally agree, if this is the team we think it is, we can win. With or without Winston.

  11. macabee Says:

    I will be surprised knowing the Bucs have a world-class investigative team – the same one that performed due diligence when he was vetted for the draft, that they had no idea that this was the case. I find it hard to believe that they are blind-sided by this report. Fan reaction, Women in Red, and Darcie Glazer will have a lot to say about Winston’s future with the Bucs. We have yet to hear a response from the Bucs or a statement from Winston.

    The daggers are out, some calling for the Bucs to cut or trade Winston. I am not willing to go that far now. I admit this does not have a good look, but much is to be found out about how this purported 3 game suspension was done by the NFL with no apparent appeal to be made. I’m just guessing, but it sounds like some sort of a deal or plea arrangement.

    Obviously, this will affect the outcome of an already difficult schedule. There is hope although I’m stretching for it here. In 2010, QB Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for a similar reason for 4 games (originally six) and QB Charlie Batch stepped in and played well until Big Ben returned. They reached Super Bowl XLV, but lost to the Green Bay Packers 31–25. Roethlisberger got married, cleaned up his act and may now be a candidate for the HOF.

    Now the Bucs aren’t the Steelers and Winston is not Roethlisberger. But it did happen and we shouldn’t go dive off the nearest cliff. Let’s wait for the remaining facts, hear from Bucs ownership, and stay loyal to our team. By virtue of the suspension, he has no guaranteed 5th year option, so the money will not be an issue. The Roethlisberger saga says this could be fixed with a healthy dose of maturity and good on-field play. I would not object if the Bucs gave him a year to reprove himself. I have seen only one poll (TBT) and it agrees with my thinking so far. This may not be the end of the world, it just feels like it now. Go Bucs!

  12. Chris in WA Says:

    And who exactly did Jamies beat last year? The Bears and Giants weren’t exactly good teams and they barely squeaked out a win against the Saints.

    Fitz almost won the disastirous Arizona game after stepping in the second half and at least made a respectable effort in NO on the road.

  13. Garv Says:

    Who the PHUCK has the fan’s back? This was a totally avoidable situation involving a player who KNEW he was under the microscope and has put his teammates in a bad situation to start what is a very important season with multiple jobs on the line.

    Fool me once, fool me twice but this? It’s a reality I didn’t expect and one all fans should be very disgusted about.

  14. D-Rome Says:

    I will be surprised knowing the Bucs have a world-class investigative team – the same one that performed due diligence when he was vetted for the draft, that they had no idea that this was the case. I find it hard to believe that they are blind-sided by this report.

    I agree with this and I don’t care what the Bucs said publicly. If they had an idea on which way the NFL was leaning on this then they should have addressed the QB position in FA or in the draft.

  15. unbelievable Says:

    Well said, Sage!

    (and macabee)

  16. Frank Pillow Says:

    Ira, Ira, Ira…when, at what point, ever, over the past decade of utter miserable football has this team demonstrated ANY semblance of mental fortitude- especially on those rare instances where games actually mattered? Instead, we’ve had players party in Ole Londontown and quit on their coach. We’ve had a previously anointed franchise QB, Schiano and MERSA all wreck One Buc Place- forever hail Carl Nick’s big toe! Mike Williams went nutso post contract extension and got stabbed in the leg over a video game. Talib was Talib. Brian Price allegedly beaten down by Mark Barron. McCoy ripping his biceps repeatedly and having annual meltdowns about needing to be a better leader. Mike Evans’ cheap shot at NO last year. Everything associated with ASJ (remember the never healing shoulder). Roberto’s yips. Lovie’s “its as simple as that” response to everything. Jeff Tedford’s heart. Marcus Arroyo. Doug’s drugs. Koetter and Payton’s slap-fest. I could go on and on…I mean there are countless examples of this team laying down like dogs and/or not even showing up for games. Examples of them getting absolutely mauled.
    There is- and has been- very little true leadership on this team, this organization in a very long time. Who wants to eat a W???

  17. passthebuc Says:

    Are the Bucs tough? If so,

    when the going gets tough

  18. Pepsi Says:

    Well Ira.. you can say “shame on you” as much as you want.. but were facing 3 of the best teams in the NFL, one of which is the defending super bowl champion, with a 35 year old backup QB. getting 1 win out of those 3 games would feel like a big success. And if we somehow did win 2 or all 3, then that would seriously beg the question “do we really want to move forward with Winston just from a football standpoint?” I mean he has turnover issues and cant hit a long ball, i want to keep seeing him grow into the talent we believe he will but if a backup QB can lead our crew to a positive record against the NFL’s best then maybe the Bucs need a stable vet under center rather than a developing winston who doesnt keep his hands to himself off the field.

  19. jmarkbuc Says:

    Chris in Wa

    Not too worried about VHIII getting hurt.

  20. Skipper Says:

    From what I understand the suspension has nothing to do with a reported and unconfirmed assault but that the accusation was not reported to the NFL. Ronald Darby has put his ass on the line as a witness suggesting he and Winston were sitting in the back seat with an undisclosed third party in the front seat.

  21. passthebuc Says:


    i think you need to catch up.

  22. Lord Cornelius Says:

    And Ben was accused of raping a girl in a bathroom and there were other witnesses/actual evidence worth considering; and just got 4 games.

    Times definitely have changed.

    Waiting to see the details on this sh1t before I freak out and act like I was in the car when it happened as Tom Jones did.

  23. 1Gr8Buc Says:

    @lord…… EXACTLY!!!

  24. Season Is Over Says:

    Mr. Magoo sure did the city proud.

  25. Wausa Says:


    You are living in a dream world. The Steelers are a franchise used to winning so to them Ben’s suspension was an obstacle and the same could be said for the Patriots.

    The Bucs have the worst winning % in the NFL since they became a franchise.
    This team, fan base and coaching staff all have a delicate psyche.

    I am very confident the Bucs will not only loose the first three games they will get beaten by double digits in each game.

    It sucks but 2018 really is toast for the Bucs. I think they will be lucky to match last seasons win total.

  26. Bucsfanman Says:

    Lord C- You forgot to attach the obligatory “allegedly” to Big Ben’s case! There was VIDEO evidence that was magically erased. Otherwise, he might have actually gone to jail!
    I’m reserving judgement on Jameis until we know all the facts, if any.
    That said, I fully expect this team to compete with or without him. They have plenty of time to prepare.

  27. Mike Johnson Says:

    Thank You Ira!! Spot on article..as usual. Your’re dead right. No excuses in this NFl. And we (many Buc fans) are sick and tired of Excuses from this TEAM. Or is it a TEAM? Its next man up. Other teams have done it. Besides Winston starts slow anyways! I’m also sick of people sayin Winston does not deserve his punishement. He probably does deserve More!! This FL State product has not lived up to the hype or expectations. Meanwhile over in Tenn..A good kid named Mariotta is Eating dinner (minus the crab legs), sippin on lemonade and preparing his team for yet another run. You see, he has a TEAM behind him. Ruck up Bucs. NO EXCUSES. We do not feel a bit sorry for you. jameis supsension has no bearing on your/our season. Get her done. WIN Got hammit!!!

  28. Alexander Nascimento Says:

    Thank you, sage!
    That’s my point exactly!
    Go Bucs!

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    Thanks Ira. Finally someone in the media with some cajones. Bucs are finally showing signs of becoming a T-E-A-M and everyone starts crying in their beer because of ONE player. Horsepuckey!

    To quote the TRUE Sage: “Winston is not a one-man show and the Bucs are not a one-man team.”

  30. TBdafaq Says:

    Yup..still lots of Kool aid drinkers of america’s interception throwing machine in here

  31. Sc Bucs fan Says:

    Well it’s a good thing JW has publicly stuck up for himself with a statement

  32. SB Says:

    I just found Jameis’ original press release statement and it clearly states that he knew why his account was suspended.

    ” I am addressing this false report immediately. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.”

    Stupid is as Stupid does
    This seals the deal for me. He is Guilty AND Stupid!

  33. SB Says:

    Just took a look at the 2019 QB draft class and it ain’t pretty


  34. 813bucboi Says:

    WHERES “defense rules”…….


  35. miken Says:

    I think Fitz will be able to turn the ball over as many times as Jameis would have, the question is, will he be able to under throw a wide open Djax as effectively as Jameis would. We will see. I bet Fitz keeps us a float. The game vs phily is a loss no matter who is the qb so a 2-1 start was best possible scinario anyway. We will be 1-2 possibly 2-1.

  36. 813bucboi Says:

    WELL SAID SAGE!!!!!!!

    I AGREE!!!!!…NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!

    @rhealist…..what sage was referring to was starting the season slow….this staff has had more than enough time to create a plan and be prepared vs the saints….its no excuse to start out 0-3…..fitz is a vet…..starting 0-3 was a possibility with Winston……

    as ive said all offseason, no excuses in 2018 and the pressure in on the coaches…..get us to the playoffs or go fishin…..


  37. Jff Says:

    The silence from arm. Brooks is damning

  38. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Trying to wrap my head around this –

    Winston is accused of basically inappropriate touching / sexual harassment.

    NO Police report NO criminal charges just a complaint by the “victim”.

    Something just does not add up. In comparison to the Rothlisberger incident Winston should only receive a 1-2 game suspension. Very different details in the two cases.

    Does anyone know if Winston can appeal like Ezexial Elliott did last year so he could hopefully play these first three games?

  39. Doctor Stroud Says:

    I love the optimism, Ira, but are you comparing the AFC Champion, Super Bowl-runners up Steelers to the 2018 Buccaneers? We’ll see! In the meantime, please make an appointment with me for a proprioception test.

  40. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Chris in WA Says:

    And who exactly did Jamies beat last year? The Bears and Giants weren’t exactly good teams and they barely squeaked out a win against the Saints.

    Fitz almost won the disastirous Arizona game after stepping in the second half and at least made a respectable effort in NO on the road.

    I believe Fitz is in the top five of back up quarterbacks in this league. I have faith this team can be 2-1 to start the season.

  41. TampaTown Says:

    Ira you make me feel like a little girl who ran crying to her Dad looking for a hug while being patted on the back but instead was told to dry my tears and pull myself up by my bootstraps. I know everyone is in hysterical overreaction mode (like the main stream media 24/7) but can you blame us? There’s only so much more of this anyone can take and if Jameis isn’t the answer then what? Another ten years while the Bucs start over? This whole franchise is about to drive off a cliff.

  42. Jjones Says:

    How does Winston come out of this? The final verdict(whenever it cones)will be the deciding factor on how he’s precieved and many have already written him off as it is. We still haven’t heard WHY this punishment is as severe as it is and WHY it was originally 6 games.

    To be suspended for 6 games I would assume is for very serious circumstances, not because you failed to report. Knocking it down from 6 games to 3 are where the answers lie, what was bargained?

    My hope is that this team has had its it’s adversity test and learned from it. Buckner I hope is letting all his guys know there’s no room for error now, no excuses.

    We could possibly be an absolute nightmare with our running attack this year, imposing our will and keeping defenses on their heels. Our secondary could be great this year too, there are a lot of players rookies, vets and udfa’s with something to prove and I know I’m not the only one that sees it.

    I’ll hold my opinion of JW until there’s more details but I’m with Ira. We can win without him for now, there are 52 guys that know so.

  43. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    If Jameis is comparing himself as a top ten quarterback in 2 years from now, do we take his baggage and pay him 30+ million? I am not sure he is worth the cap space – unless he has a phenomenal 2 years without anymore off field incidences. It might be best to trade him next year and draft another quarterback.

  44. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Difference between the ’18 Bucs and the ’10 Steelers is that we had the worst defense in the league just a season ago.

  45. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    @ Jjones says:To be suspended for 6 games I would assume is for very serious circumstances, not because you failed to report. Knocking it down from 6 games to 3 are where the answers lie, what was bargained?

    I suspect Jameis was caught in a lie or did not tell the truth. It appears that he was not alone with the uber girl when he first told the story. Now it appears that he was alone with her. He may be innocent of the crime but guilty telling the investigators a different story. Obviously we are all just speculating until more details come out.

  46. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The teams Ryan Fitzpatrick beat last year were bad teams. These first games will be the toughest games a team has faced over a 3 game stretch in NFL history.

    But we can hope the defense steps up. I do think we can beat the Saints.

  47. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Will be interesting to see how the team responds.

  48. Nole4JabooANDdBucs Says:

    The team will play harder for the doubters and their QB🤗

  49. Fire Lichtt Says:

    Good point. Ira brings a solid concise take with numbers to back it up. The bigger issue is the GM. Don’t trust in Licht. He’s the one that will mess up the final roster.

  50. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Fitz was 2-1 vs. Miami and Atlanta….horrible teams. Didn’t fare well vs. Atlanta on 44 pass attempts either. I am open to giving Griffin a chance.

  51. XpfcWintergreen2 Says:

    In this country, we have two main standards for rules of evidence when someone faces legal proceedings. For a criminal offense, it is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. For a civil offense, it is “a preponderance of the evidence”.

    We the public make judgments based on whatever information we happen to glean from the various media. A consensus of public opinion about any situation such as that of O.J. Simpson, Ben Rothisburger or Jameis Winston alike still does not constitute fact, legal or otherwise.
    Jameis Deal Shouldn’t Stop Bucs From Winning

    Licht and his player development and scouting staffs have done their jobs. With or without Winston it up to the coaching staff, the players and the support staff to do their jobs now.

    Football remains a team sport. The wins and losses are always on the team.

    Ever optimistic, I say “Go oh oh oh … Bucs!!!!”. Dig in and fight your way into the playoffs in 2018.
    It appears very likely that Jameis Winston’s NFL career and legacy will hinge on the 2018 season.

  52. Defense Rules Says:

    feelthepewterpower … Fitz was 27-for-44 in the Atlanta game (over 61%) and 283 yds & no turnovers which is pretty decent against the Falcons. The 2 FGs early in the game instead of TDs (well in the Red Zone) set us way back, as did the 2 TD passes to Julio Jones in the 2nd qtr. Fitz did put up 20 pts (Bucs’ average last yr), and IMO it should’ve been 15 MORE points with better play-calling and a decent running game. Do you honestly think that Griffin could’ve done better?

    And 813bucboi … said all that needed to be said at 3:20 PM. Ira hit the nail on the head.

  53. Maze Says:

    Fitz did not beat Atlanta lol

  54. Tony Says:

    Hey Sage I love you but I remember you saying on your podcast that if Winston is suspended then the Bucs need to consider moving on. Is this still your view?

  55. Tony Says:

    Hey Sage I love you but I remember you saying on your podcast that if Winston is suspended then the Bucs need to consider moving on.

  56. BucEmUp Says:

    Belicheat won with three different starting abs when Brady was suspended and went 3 – 0.

    Good coaching will figure it out. I have faith in Koetter and our special teams. I have faith in the players on defense.

    Only one man remains who will undoubtably screw up all chances of winning, even WITH the starting qb. Fitz has never had weapons like this across the board and I think he will manage the game very well, but this is going to be ugly unless they get on the line and play aggressive on defense.

    At least at this point I’m so used to it I don’t even get mad anymore when they blow the lead and lose the game, its just depressing and disappointing.

  57. Crack3rK Says:

    Rah, rah,rah. After gushing over Jameis on the podcast (after saying the Bucs should move on from Jameis if allegations are true) where do you stand on the QB now? Are you afraid to take a stand? Or waiting for another column? Anyway you, me or the Bucs want to spin it, it’s a real kick in the balls!

  58. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Gee…thanks for that depressing link. lol You are correct…not a lot to get jacked up about in the draft next year.

    Maybe we could get lucky. Sometimes when a team has two QB’s capable of starting one of them heads out to a different team so they can start. We might get a QB that way. Eagles will probably have to do something about Foles.

  59. Elita Vita Says:

    The silver lining could be that the defense is aware it is time for them to “step up”. With all the welcome additions to the defensive side of the ball and the challenge caused by a Jameis suspension-could there be an energy flow that will begin to ignite the former glory days of the Bucs defenses?

  60. SB Says:

    Lol SPBF……..Your welcome? I was trying to be funny not the bearer of bad news. 🙂

  61. Terry Says:

    Elita Vita, damn I hope your right.
    I would love to see some Defense.