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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs won’t take $21 million risk with Jameis Winston, yet

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Aug 9, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play at the line against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no doubt that the Bucs are at a cross roads with QB Jameis Winston. A dilemma. A quandary.

He’s suspended for the fist three games of the regular season upcoming.

Yet, he’s by all accounts done everything right in terms of preparation, leadership, and helping his teammates in this training camp. Oh, and he’s played well with excellent results for the Buccaneers three preseason games.

And it was on display in the Bucs eventual 33-30 loss to the Lions in Tampa Friday night. The former #1 overall pick finished 6-10 for 60 yards and a second quarter TD pass to WR Chris Godwin. And, for the third straight week he showed command of the offensive and the Bucs moved the ball and scored points.

Still, the reality is that his team is about to be forced to proceed against the Saints, the Eagles and the Steelers without him.

And coach Dirk Koetter made it clear Saturday afternoon that Winston has seen the field for the last time in the preseason:

Koetter said Winston won’t play in the preseason finale’ at home Thursday against Jacksonville.

First, the coach assessed his star QB’s play and, then, the handling of the pending suspension:

“I think performance-wise, you’d have to give Jameis an ‘A’ for the preseason,” Koetter said. “I don’t think anybody in their right mind wouldn’t say that wasn’t an ‘A’ performance on his part. I think he handled it well. I think he performed very well. He did a really good job of working on things he needed to work on.

“The situation is what it is. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is. We’re going to miss him when he’s gone, and we’ll be glad when he’s back.”

What Koetter didn’t get into is the real reality that is staring he, his staff, and biggest, the front office and ownership, right in the face.

That point, moving forward, is Winston is a significant financial risk, when the Bucs play him.

This is because, the team already chose to pick up the fifth year option on his rookie contract. And, that option year is only guaranteed for one thing: injury.

Yes, if Winston were to get seriously hurt, and could not pass his physical next March, the Glazers and the team would have no choice under the CBA rules, but to pay him in full for 2019.

So, obviously, with having taken that injury risk in the first three preseason games with Winston and having success on the field, now Bucs don’t have to see anything Thursday.

And it’s not that far fetched that there can be a serious injury.

Winston hurt his throwing shoulder early last season, and he missed most or all of five games because of it. He returned to full health late in the year, but it’s an example of what can very likely happen at the very vulnerable position of quarterback. You are prone to taking hits, sometimes from both sides at the same time, that you can do little about.

So, it will be a risk- a $21 million risk, whenever Winston sets foot on an NFL game field again later this season.

However, the Buccaneers will now take that risk, for however long they choose to do it in 2018, when the games actually matter.

And that would not be Thursday night.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.

Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?

Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.

Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,

Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:

“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”

“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option? 

The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.

After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”

While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.

Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.

The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.

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Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?

First, the team released another video with clues about them intending to change their uniform and potentially alter their logo:

The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:

“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”

As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.

This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,

The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.

NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.

It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.

The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.

Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.

So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.

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