TAMPA, Fla, (WFLA) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are back to being Jameis Winston’s team.
Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter says Winston will be the starting quarterback for the team’s divisional matchup at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6. The team is currently on a bye week, giving Winston extra time to get acclimated with the first-team offense.
Koetter announced the decision at his Monday press conference in Tampa, then explained the position switch at halftime of Sunday’s 48-10 loss in Chicago, during his weekly exclusive interview, ‘Koetter’s Korner’ with News Channel 8’s Dan Lucas.
“We had no plans of playing Jameis yesterday unless Fitz got hurt,” Koetter said. “But when you’re down five touchdowns at halftime, you can’t plan for that.”
Winston entered the game in the third quarter, completing 16 of 20 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions, one coming on pressure from Bears defensive tackle Khalil Mack, who disrupted Winston’s throw by hitting his throwing arm in motion.
“We just thought, how do we get something out of this second half,’ Koetter said. “Letting Jameis get in there and get his game timing back, we thought that was worth the opportunity on a game that we’d already done what we were not supposed to have done in the first half. I think that’s a good segway into Jameis coming back as our starter in Atlanta.”
Winston was chosen over Ryan Fitzpatrick, who got the Buccaneers off to a 2-0 start before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears. Fitzpatrick broke franchise and league records, throwing for more than 400 yards in three consecutive games, an NFL first.
Winston had been serving a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.