Koetter: Bucs “won’t miss a beat” with Fitzpatrick at quarterback


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the first three games of the regular season without the services of their starting quarterback, Jameis Winston. Fans and media seem to be concerned about the drop from Winston to his backup, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Coach Dirk Koetter isn’t.

Via JoeBucsFan.com, Koetter gushed about Fitzpatrick during a Friday press conference.

“There’s no reason for us to be afraid of Ryan playing quarterback for us,” Koetter said early in the questioning.

“Ryan’s a really good leader, too,” Koetter said later in the session. “He’s a different type of leader, all right? If you’ve been around people at all, you know that not all leaders are the same. I mean, that goes throughout history. Jameis is a vocal leader. And Ryan is a little bit less vocal leader, but still a real good leader nonetheless. I think his style will show up.

“When a backup quarterback is brought to a team, especially a veteran, the coaching staff tells him that he’s there to be the backup, to support the starter. Well, that’s not the case right now. I think we’ll see and I think the players will feel what I saw way back many years ago, the type of leader Ryan is, when it’s his show.”

So what will happen when it’s Ryan’s show? At one point, Koetter broke from his standard press conference demeanor and expressed a combination of exasperation and amusement.

“Guys, we’re not gonna miss a beat with Ryan at quarterback,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t know if everybody’s worried about that or not, but I’m certainly not.”

This could simply be a product of Koetter trying to best play the hand he’s been dealt. With Winston gone for games against the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers and Fitzpatrick the next man up, Koetter has no choice but to try to whip up a batch of chicken salad in order to avoid going 0-3.

But there also could be something more to it. With Koetter recently not committing to Winston for Week Four and in light of the decision of the team to expunge Winston from its major marketing efforts, maybe the Bucs have decided to give Fitzpatrick a chance to seize the job from Jameis, since that would allow the Bucs to put Winston in bubble wrap for the year, avoiding the $20.9 million injury guarantee that becomes fully guaranteed if Winston suffers an injury that keeps him from passing a physical in March.

That would all be avoided if the Bucs would simply sign Winston to a contract revision that protects them against this outcome. And maybe the team’s leverage isn’t simply that they’d cut him if he won’t agree to it. Maybe the Bucs are thinking about keeping Jameis on the bench until he signs a new deal that takes away the injury guarantee for 2019.

37 responses to “Koetter: Bucs “won’t miss a beat” with Fitzpatrick at quarterback

  1. In other words. We are gonna suck like we always do, regardless of who is playing QB.

  2. OK if you say so.
    Fitzpatrick is a backup not a real full time QB.
    Dump Winston, a cancer if here ever was. Too much baggage for such a young player in the most important position on the team.
    Give up a draft choice(s) to get someone.
    Earn your money, Buccaneer coaches

  3. Long time Bucs fans….another year with no playoff hopes before the season even starts. Wake me up from this bad 10 year dream. Glazers are worst owners in NFL.

  4. Koetter: “There isn’t any appreciable difference between the two of them, so there won’t be any drop-off or improvement in the position.”

  5. Not all HC jobs are created equal. Koetter inherited a talented, charismatic, but emotionally juvenile, judgement-challenged underachiever. The team has trended down on his watch, and he probably can’t benefit from a poor record to draft “his guy” next season. Thems the breaks.

  6. In other words, Jameis no better than a journeyman backup, but with more baggage.

  7. No matter what, they should cut Winston. He’s a bad apple and always has been. Draft a QB next year, but get rid of the cancer that is Winston. Keeping him around is not going going to end well.

  8. Oh great! The start of another vicious “Fitzpatrick” circle! Starter goes down. Perform well for a while. Fool people into thinking you’re actually good. Get paid. Suck again.

  9. If Winston is the same as Fitz, the Bucs really screwed up the first pick in the draft. They apparently drafted a barely competent backup.

  10. Lets see: Eagles, Saints Steelers. I see, at best, a 1-2 record. That about par for the course for a team that consistently goes 6-10

  11. Koetter?? This guy is in over his head. They booted Lovie Smith without giving him much of a chance. Koetter snaked him for the job….and karma is kicking his butt for it.

  12. Koetter was a poor OC and an even worst HC! The Bucs should have fired Koetter this offseason. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not going to win you football games! No defense in the NFL is afraid of Fitz, the Bucs had better pray that they can run the football. Bucs record after 3 games. 0-3….

  13. Only reason Bucs beat Fins last year was because Tannehill wasn’t the QB, Cutler was. Good luck with Fitz, who, in 2016 needing another TD against Miami, threw the pass to Bobby McCain–who plays for the Dolphins! And then against Miami in NY, he threw some more ints. And you better beat them, Saints!

  14. I hope the first three teams get the big head and lose to Fitz. Then Dirk names him the starter for the season. Bench Winston after the suspension and cut him at the end of the season. What have they got to lose?

  15. Regardless if Winston was there for first 3 games or not , they will go 0-3 to start off the season … Book it … Also word of advice to front office , you made a major mistake so pull the plug and get rid of “Un-famous” Jameis at the end of the season.

  16. Lost 7 of 11 last year by 6 points Or less. If Ronald jones and Peyton barber can form a good 1-2 punch and the defensive line can rush the passer it’s not going to matter who is at qb and the Bucs should contend without an issue.

  17. the bucaneers cracked sometime during raheem morris tenure and then fully nose dived under schiano. lovie smith didnt seem like he could reboot them easily and koetter looks like its gonna fall apart on him now. long gone are the days when the saints worried abt these dudes

  18. The owners should be doing research on all possible candidates for HC already…
    Their last 4 hires have been beyond horrific and their record reveals that the Bucs didn’t seem to put forth much effort to find a “quality” HC!

    Maybe if they start now they can luck out and actually pull it off when they hire their new HC…

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