TAMPA – Those two days off appear to be just what Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston needed because he was back at full strength on Friday, when he was also named the starter for Sunday’s game against the Bills at Buffalo.
“Jameis is our starter (and) he’ll be out there,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said after Winston tested his sore right shoulder for the first time this week. “Jameis threw the ball well today.’’
In doing so he also displayed a bit of a sense of humor. While warming up with some short passes to wide receivers in the end zone, Winston also threw a long pass into a crowd of media watching the workout.
This was no over-throw. Winston was clearly attempting to throw into the crowd of about a dozen reporters to show he’s ready to play after suffering a right AC joint sprain in the Bucs loss at Arizona last week.
That led to Winston being shut down as a passer for two days but he took all the first team reps in practice on Friday, Koetter said, and proved he’s ready to go for Sunday.
Barring a setback, Winston will make good on the vow he made after the game last week when he said he intended to make the start this week at Buffalo despite being unable to finish the game.
There may still be some concern among some that Winston could do further damage to his sore right shoulder but Koetter said on Thursday that the possibility of that had been all but ruled out.
“If there was any further risk of injury other than the normal playing football then Jameis would have no chance to play,’’ Koetter said. “So I guess you can deduce by that that that’s not the case.’’
This will not be the first time Winston has tried to play with an AC joint sprain. Winston said this week that he’s played through “a couple of AC joint sprains’’ during his career and that he’s “used to the pain.’’
One thing Winston is not used to is spending the better part of the week on the sidelines not throwing, but he said he prepared just as he always does from a mental standpoint.
“This game is such a mental (game),’’ he said. “As long as we get mental reps, I mean, I’ve been throwing a football practically my whole life so I know I can throw.
“I just think it’s about recovery being consistent in my reads and progressions. And when Sunday comes, we’ll know.’’.