QB Change To Embrace

January 25th, 2019


It’s time to focus on the man behind THE MAN.

There can be no doubt that Jameis Winston enters the 2019 season as the undisputed starter at quarterback, as it should be. Bruce Arians has gone out of his way to assure Winston that he has his back during this make-or-break year.

But after making every start for the Bucs in his first two seasons, Winston has missed 10 starts the past two years due to injury, suspension and erratic play. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin are both unrestricted free agents, so there’s a good chance Winston will have a new backup next fall.

That’s a good thing.

Showed his colors

I’ll be the first to give Fitzpatrick his props for that stunning 2-0 start, which included beating Drew Brees in a shootout on the road. That’s not supposed to happen, but Fitzpatrick was sensational in the
Superdome and sharp at home against the defending champion Eagles.

But as the season wore on, Fitzpatrick reminded Buc fans why he is considered a journeyman.

He lost his final five starts, throwing 11 picks in the process. When the season concluded, Fitzpatrick’s interception rate of 4.9 percent was by far the highest in the league. Buffalo rookie Josh Allen was next at 3.8 percent, followed by Winston at 3.7 percent.

As Fitzpatrick told me late in the season, Buc quarterbacks threw far too many picks, no matter who was under center.

Old New Blood

The Bucs should allow Fitzpatrick to test the free-agent market. He enjoyed a positive working relationship with Winston, but there’s too much history between them — some of it testy history.

Winston didn’t think he deserved to be benched after the debacle in Cincinnati and Fitzpatrick didn’t appreciate losing his job after a 2-2 start against rugged competition.

If Winston struggles in a game this fall, he doesn’t need to be peering over his shoulder pads at Fitzpatrick on the sidelines. He doesn’t need a segment of Buc Nation calling for Fitzpatrick to replace him again as a starter.

Arians is already on record as saying he’s not a fan of lingering competition at the quarterback position. You pick your starter after training camp and you stand behind him.

That’s why the Bucs should move on from Fitzpatrick. If Arians seeks a veteran backup, he might consider Matt Schaub, who carried the clipboard for Matt Ryan in Atlanta last season. Schaub has 92 NFL starts and he has no illusions about his role at this point in his career.

Matt Schaub

If Schaub signs with another team, don’t be shocked if the Falcons and new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter show some interest in Griffin. Koetter couldn’t stop talking about Griffin’s bright future, even though he has never thrown an NFL pass in a game that counts.

There’s no reason to believe Arians will share Koetter’s enthusiasm about a player who lacks a shred of regular-season game tape.

Winston’s suspension has long been lifted, yet he is still weighed down by doubts. That 21-33 career record has the full attention of the quarterback whisperer, who will carefully choose Winston’s backup.

The plan calls for Winston to start all 16 games. But plans change and Arians needs a backup plan … just in case.

Tampa Bay’s quarterback room needs a facelift. Fitzpatrick and Griffin need to move on.

It’s time for a new No. 2.

Ira Kaufman began covering the NFL as a New York Giants beat writer in 1979. He arrived on the Buccaneers beat in 1985. The corporate leash was removed from his neck when he joined JoeBucsFan.com in July 2016. The award-winning Ira Kaufman Podcast fires twice per week, and Ira’s columns appear thrice weekly, except when Ira is on special assignment. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter also is a popular guest on various national radio and on local TV.

53 Responses to “QB Change To Embrace”

  1. The Buc Realist Says:

    Pretty sad that the Backups get blamed for the failures of the supposive franchise!!!!!!! And finding a new backup that won’t challenge but can win if and when jw3 gets hurt or suspended is just about impossible find!!!!!!!!!! Ira is asking for changes in the QB room, but may just be pointing in the wrong direction!!!! If you need new coaches, and a great running game, and top echelon weapons, great defense, great protection, and if he has grown up, and if he can stay out of trouble, and if he can raise his game, sure sounds like it would be easier to find the “right” QB instead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The 2019 season will reveal to the sheep answers that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. miken Says:

    not sure why we let Griffin take up a roster spot for 3 years

  3. Stanglassman Says:

    I thought it was a forgone conclusion that the Bucs were moving on from Fitz and Griffin. All the talk has been whether to draft a backup Qb mid to late round or get one as a FA. Backup Qb is important but more due to injury. Jameis has been fine, it’s the play around him that’s been subpar. With decent OL, run game and defense play he won’t feel the need to make something happen himself on every play.

  4. Not there yet Says:

    There were a bunch of fans that didn’t think Koetter was competent enough to return as coach and was looked at as a weak coach who couldn’t control anything about the team just like the defense but when he was announced as the starter we complained then accepted it as fact and got behind the guy until what we felt would happen came to pass. Haters of Winston should do the same, if he fails to meet expectations then say what you want but no one really wants to hear all the pathetic whining from you haters the next 7 months

  5. Not there yet Says:

    Lol when he was announced as coach we got behind him

  6. 813bucboi Says:

    with these coaches in place, its almost a given winston as well as the entire team will improve greatly….

    imo, we have coaches that know how to make adjustments and wont become mike coach my soft scheme smitty or dirk i dont mess with the defense koetter….

    draft tyree jackson from buffalo in the 4th or 5th round and let bruce develop him….


  7. Says:

    Fitz deserves better. Be free Fitzy, to lead another team to glory.
    OR Does Arians quickly discover he has an Aaron Rodgers 2.0 at #2 and promote Fitzy?
    Either way… #FreeTheAmishRifle

  8. Belligerentbuc Says:

    @ Miken

    It makes me cringe when you put it like that…we could have taken a flier on a DL or OL or anyone with a heartbeat. Gross, he never started one game.

  9. Jean Lafitte Says:

    So nobody to push the fragile ego of Jameis Winston? Sounds like hogwash. Players are supposed to play better when there is competition. I guess not in Winston’s case. He might have a temper tantrum. So we stroke his ego and coddle him hoping he doesn’t melt away.

  10. ben Says:

    Fitz is way more fun to watch then Winston..

  11. DB55 Says:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if BA drafted Dwayne Haskins just to create some competition?

    I’m still at a loss how the Bucs losing record calls on Winston. How many times did he give McIceCream the lead late in the fourth just to see McIceCream give up the booty like a cheap street walker on Nebraska ave?

    Just look at the last game of the year. 1 point lead with 5 mins left, can the def hold? Nope! Winston’s fault.

  12. 813bucboi Says:


    dirk was promoted too get winston to the next level….he failed…..
    smitty was hired and brought back to improve the defense…..he failed….

    the staff you praised failed to develop players and failed to produce wins…..simple as that!!!!!!!!


  13. 813bucboi Says:


    that wouldnt be funny at all…..then i guess we’ll draft a TE or kicker in round2….

    but like you said, it is sad that most of the loses fall on winston even tho we’ve seen him give us the led only to have the defense sh!t the bed….


  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    A veteran QB like Schaub would be fine….least threatening…….I just hope we go with 2 QBs on the roster & 1 on the PS….
    It is likely that our backup will be someone who Leftwich or Arians or both have familiarity with.

  15. DB55 Says:

    Only buc fans think Fitz can win in this league. You guys are funny man.

  16. JimmyJack Says:

    Very hard to predict what they will do for backup QB.

    With their big coaching staff and the extra practises they will be running it makes sense to develope a QB behind Winston. We should really expect the Bucs to develope a QB(along with a bunch of other positions). If this staff comes as advertised it shouldn’t be a problem.

  17. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Not buying any of the hype. Prove it on the field, only wins matter, no more damn excuses.

  18. uckinator Says:

    Why give up on Griffin ?

  19. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    I was under the impression that we paid Griffin to take up a roster spot–so that no one else could sign him away from us. The implication being that he was valuable as a futures prospect.

    If he is that valuable, isn’t this about the right time to elevate him? And isn’t this the perfect coaching staff to do so? Or is this just another inexplicable enigma that we just accept because Buccaneers?

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Brady has been found guilty in the school science fair:


    And the kid is a Bucs fan!

  21. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I hope Arians takes a QB in the middle rounds. If he is truly a QB whisper, then he should be able to find some talent in the draft.

  22. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’d keep Griffin and see what he’s got. He should be ready by now and he played well in preseason.

  23. Bird Says:

    Classic DB55

    Jameis gave McCoy the lead only for McCoy to fail.
    Dude you are out of your Dang mind. I mean we know you went to FSU. But are you in Jameis family.

    You are pointing finger at a defensive tackle to lose games instead of the starting quarterback who is the most important person on the field. You notice how a QB usually wins mvp each year. Never a defensive guy. Aaron Donald is a stud. Does he change The outcome of a game on regular basis.


    You are funny today.

  24. Bird Says:

    Ladies and gentleman

    I give you DB55.

    Jameis got the lead for McCoy to lose the game.

    It’s gotta be ranch dressing when that salad is being tossed.

  25. Bird Says:

    I beg you. Please come up for air. You have been down there a long time and don’t have a snorkel.

  26. HowToSpellRhonde Says:

    @ Bird

    You’re disgusting. Ranch dressing?

  27. Danny Says:

    I wouldn’t get rid of Griffin. Fitz can leave

  28. Bucs Fan #7423 Says:

    “You can’t squeeze apple juice out of that lemon” – Steve Smith

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “The Bucs should allow Fitzpatrick to test the free-agent market.” Uhhh, Fitz is an UNRESTRICTED FA Ira, and so is Griffin. It’s not up to us to ALLOW either of them to test the FA market. Right now we’re no different to them than the other 31 teams are.

    @Ira … “The plan calls for Winston to start all 16 games. But plans change and Arians needs a backup plan … just in case.” But Ira, WHY would the Bucs need ‘a backup plan’? Just in case of what? Just in case his confidence proves too fragile for BA to deal with? Just in case Jameis decides he wants another Uber instead of a Lyft?

    And besides, as the noted Bucs expert, 813bucboi, has so eloquently stated as FACT: “with these coaches in place, its almost a given winston as well as the entire team will improve greatly.” A ‘given’ bucboi? Oh wait, you caveated that ‘given’ with your ‘ALMOST’. My bad again. I guess that’s why you need a backup plan Ira bucboi isn’t REALLY 100% certain yet that our plethora of TALENT is sufficient to win the next Super Bowl.

  30. From76 Says:

    Our QB situation is poor at best. Winston is a very inaccurate passer. That’s why not much yac for receivers or running backs. This team is loaded for a decent QB to explode. Too bad we can’t get a better QB. And to think gruden didn’t want brees all those years ago. I still can’t believe that one.

  31. Season Is Over Says:

    Not there yet Says:
    January 25th, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Haters of Winston should do the same, if he fails to meet expectations then say what you want but no one really wants to hear all the pathetic whining from you haters the next 7 months

    I would suggest retreating to your safe space so you don’t get offended. I hope you realize how mentally weak you sound. Winston’s claim to fame since entering the league is “Eat a W” and you think there should not be haters/critics? Have fun with that.

  32. Jim Says:

    Both Ira and Joe (earlier podcast) insist we dump the best backup QB in the NFL so that Winston can breath easier. This says we’re pinning our hopes on a mentally weak quarterback who fears competition. Sad.

  33. smallaxe Says:


  34. Season Is Over Says:

    Exactly, Jim. No competition, no pressure. Ridiculous. How is Winston the guy for the game-winning drive in the Super Bowl when he crumbles after Fitz shows him how to use his own receivers for two games? Bring in Shaub so Winston can feel better. Wth? Do you think your readers are stupid? Was Martin the problem, Sage? Sick of Winston not being able to go out and win like a normal franchise QB. Was over it at the end of year 2.

  35. D1 Says:


    Steve Smith is a racist who doesn’t know anything about football!
    And He’s actually from Tampa.

  36. Ndog Says:

    The fact that anyone would say they want Fitz over Jameis just shows their feelings have nothing to do with football and they really don’t care about the Bucs winning or losing. In games they started just this year Fitz threw 2 or more picks in 4 of 7 games started and
    Jameis threw 2 or more picks in 3 of 9 games started. So in a year where Jameis had his worst year he was still better than Fitz. So again to recap in 2 more games started Jameis had less multi pick games than Fitz did. Again don’t let the facts get in the way of your blind hatered.

  37. #1bucfan Says:

    @db55 did you hit your head on something or smoke to much of the crack pike. Just chase Winston gave the defense a lead an they blew it doesn’t mean the loss is on #93 wen is the last time you seen one person out there playing football by themselves if you don’t know football is a team sport not a individual sport the loss is on the team an the whole team at that not just the players but the coaches to even if Winston turns the ball over a bunch doesn’t mean the loss is totally on him either this is a team sport an until we start playing all phases of football from the trenches to the kicking this team isn’t going to win

  38. Ndog Says:

    See the problem with the Jameis haters is that they believe that people that support Jameis are just all about him when the reality is that we just have enough common sense to know that he is not the reason we are losing and in fact if we had any semblance of defense, running game or kicking game we would be thriving with him. I must have asked the question about 1,000 times on this website, please tell me the QB that won games we a bottom 5 defense, a bottom 5 running game and a bottom 5 kicking game? I have never gotten a answer and that is because it has never ever ever ever ever ever happened. So for people to sit around and blame a QB with those factors in play for not winning is flat idotic. Is he perfect heck no but he is the least of our problems but you honks just let ESPN and Fox and Peter King tell you he is the reason we suck and believe their crap. Those idiots know nothing about this team and frankly probably couldn’t name more 5-10 players on the roster yet they know what the problem is? No they just know what ESPN showed them and talked about his entire college career and just assume that he is why we suck. Yeah just ignore the league worst defense, just ignore 4 kickers in 3 years, just ignore our starting RB being a undrafted free agent who works his butt off but is slow and has zero shifty to him. Ignore that our RG is utter trash, our LT plays with effort about 60% of the time, that our speed WR is a little whiny bit&h, that our head coach was a complete idiot who had zero control of his team. Yeah forget all that and let’s blame the player who is in control of literally the only part of our team that is worth a crap. Makes total sense.

  39. Ndog Says:

    For the record Foles threw at least one pick in his last 5 games. In addition he had at least one TO in every game he started this year, that’s right every game, but if Jameis did that you want him gone. Hipocrit much there smallaxe?

  40. Ndog Says:

    From76 Says:
    January 25th, 2019 at 7:59 pm
    Our QB situation is poor at best. Winston is a very inaccurate passer. That’s why not much yac for receivers or running backs. This team is loaded for a decent QB to explode. Too bad we can’t get a better QB. And to think gruden didn’t want brees all those years ago. I still can’t believe that one.

    Again another mindless comment that you picked up from some idiot. So let’s ask this question tough who is the Bucs great receiving back that can actually get YAC? Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones, Quiz????

    Also who is that great make you miss WR on this roster than is supposed to get all this YAC? Evans who falls down at the first sign of contact, Djax who can’t wait to get to the sidelines, Hump who is almost the speed of a TE? But again blame the QB when the facts state with freaking Tom Brady the Patriots only had 400 more YAC yards than the Bucs did this year and White, an elite after the catch runner had 667 by himself. Again don’t let the facts get in the way of your blind hatered.

    Bucs 1767 YAC

    Pat’s 2167 YAC

  41. Bird Says:


    Jameis is a buc so I support him. It’s just been that he has been average and it’s not just me who believes that. Experts /other players say same thing. Yet you go out of your way to say other. It seems like you say how great he is when he plays well. They win – it’s Jameis . Yet when he looses its everyone else’s fault

    You claim he just needs a speed receiver , healthy tight end , offensive line , defense , kicker and coaching …so on and so forth.

    What qb does not need all that in the nfl to win. Trent dilfer did it and he was average. And that is being nice. He was not elite and everyone in the world knew that. By the way Jameis is way more talented then dilfer. However ,When does an elite qb put a team on its back and win a game. The good ones do.

    Was fitz fun to watch in those first few games – yup
    Was fitz ever the answer long term – nope.
    Did Jameis suspension put bucs in that situation – yup.
    Will Jameis be better under Arians – he should.

    It’s ok to criticize the over all number 1 pick , especially a “franchise qb”. There are some haters here. But they are few. To call someone a hater is your opinion . To call someone an idiot cause they don’t get it doesn’t seem fair. I will call you a McCoy hater then. His numbers have been average recently and he has 0 help until this year. You have ripped him a new one and you know that.

    Everyone should want Jameis to succeed cause if not Arians is a waste.

  42. Season Is Over Says:

    No one wants Fitz, Ndog. You should have figured that out a long time ago but you were too busy insulting fans that have been through some of the worst business decisions in sports history. Fitz was still the only QB that could win with that defense in the beginning of the year before he started with his own interceptions. I still think he threw his arm out. Winston was throwing interceptions faster than the defense could give up points. He folded under the pressure of watching his own receivers being used properly with proper ball placement to top it off. Everyone saw it. Koetter benched him because of it. You can try to defend it all day but the fact remains he crumbled. Only when Fitz crumbled and the season was lost did Winston step up. Winston only wins in the NFL when the pressure is off. Basically, by Halloween, the playoffs are out of reach for a Winston led team. Anytime a situation has been in the balance Winston has been a no show.

  43. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Arians should hire a Mental Coordinator as coach. What a weak minded team. The QB can’t handle looking over his shoulder!? Great leader? LOL

  44. RustyRhinos Says:

    All the fluff and stuff dont mean diddly. Because talk dont cook rice, it takes action to cook rice.
    Show me, dont tell me. Show me!
    Go Bucs!

  45. rrsrq Says:

    I choose to just let this staff get to work on the roster, poor over game film and let the chips fall where they may. The only thing I think we are sure of is Jameis is our QB, Jensen is our center, Marpet is our LG, ME & Goodwin are our receivers (hopefully OJ and Brate are healthy at the beginning of the season) and we are still not sure about Brate if the right offer comes along.

    The defense is a whole different question, 3-4 or 4-3. I think three starters are back for sure, LVD, Vea and Carlton Davis. Likely Justin Evans and Nassib. The others depend on what defense the Bucs run, is JPP a 3-4 DE, is GMC gonna restructure if they even want him to, will Kwon and Beck and Minter and Cincy be healthy, can VHIII and Stewart stay healthy. Whitehead will be back, but will he start or just be there in the dime package.

    So yeah, Jameis is the least of the issues. I didn’t even mention RBs, because who knows at this point.

  46. Cgmaster27v Says:

    Season is over, you saying none wants fitz proves yiu haven’t been reading posts on this site at all. Hell ben said so right above. Reading comprehension is your friend sir.

  47. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Right at 30% of adult population are racist , so ergo 30% of all Buc fans are also , so there is a significant number of fans that hate JW simply because of the color of his skin. I saw the same type of prejudice when Doug Williams was the QB. Fortunately , no one is born a racist , it is a learned trait , but it can be unlearned as well. All signs point to an impending non electoral change of the Hater in Chief POTUS , so this year is going to be better for the Bucs and our nation.

  48. Buc1987 Says:

    DB…I got what you meant.

    Apparently others took you too literal.

    McCoy being the supposed leader of the D.

    McCoy and HIS D gave up the leads that’s how I took it when I read it.

  49. Jean Lafitte Says:


    that was the most racist rant. I’m black and very critical of JW. So does that make me racist? NO …but what you just wrote is nothing but race baiting and in my eyes makes you more the racist. I haven’t seen 30% of JW detractors behaving like you said …Just STFU ..you and your snowflake moral outrage.

  50. Bird Says:


    No surprise
    McCoys D gave you questions ?

    Yet you know how that D is going down ? Front /back / super smooth

  51. Bucsfanman Says:

    Nobody in their right mind ever thought Fitz, or Griffin for that matter, would ever be a long-term solution. Fitz’ number was called, he played well for a minute then came back down to Earth. In other words, he did what he was supposed to do as a BACK-UP!
    Now, given Jameis’ injuries and sometimes erratic play, the Bucs would be insane not to find a decent back-up. Injuries happen, they better have someone capable of running this offense if/when that happens.
    Jameis will be heavily scrutinized this year, and rightfully so. The Bucs have a huge investment in him and need to know beyond a doubt if he’s the guy before pulling the trigger on a long-term deal.

  52. Bucsfanman Says:

    I think most believe that Arians can help Jameis improve, and improve the offense overall (don’t give me the “#1 offense” BS either!). I think most believe that Bowles will improve the defense.
    In my mind, that’s a lot of improvement before we even begin addressing personnel.

  53. Negative Nancy Says:

    Bruce Arians only coaches #1 overall picks, so Sam Bradford or JaMarcus Russell version 4.0. Take your pick!