Benching Jameis Winston is theoretically an option, but Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has acknowledged he doesn’t have a better choice.
Jameis Winston had a vintage bad performance on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers in London, with five interceptions and six total turnovers. He also threw the ball 54 times, and had 400 yards through the air.
If there ever was a time to bench Winston it would have been in that game, despite a fourth-quarter rally that ultimately and unsurprisingly fell short. It didn’t happen then, but one would think a quarterback change should at least be on the table during the bye week as the Buccaneers sit with a 2-4 record.
On Monday, after saying Winston has a tendency to try to be Superman after Sunday’s game, head coach Bruce Arians did his best to curb talk of a quarterback switch. He also spoke more specifically about the prospect Winston has another turnover-filled game down the road.
“No. I look at the reasons why. What happened? … If it happens again, yeah, it’ll concern the hell out of me.”
Blaine Gabbert was signed to be Winston’s backup during the offseason, but he’s currently on IR with a dislocated shoulder he suffered in the preseason and is almost surely out for the season. That leaves Ryan Griffin, and his zero career regular season snaps, as No. 2 on the depth chart.
So unless they bring in another quarterback, the Buccaneers and Arians are stuck with Winston as long as he’s healthy enough to play. The fact he’s taken 13 sacks over the last two games makes that continued health a dicey proposition, but Winston is not exactly slightly built at 6-foot-4 and 231 pounds.
Over the three games prior to Sunday, Winston had thrown nine touchdown passes with just two interceptions. He had just those two picks going back to the game before that, spanning 130 pass attempts in those four games. That apparent newly-found care for the ball went completely out the window with a quintet of interceptions against Carolina.
Winston’s future is surely elsewhere after the season, as he plays out the final year of his contract in Tampa Bay. The countdown, probably from both sides, starts at 10 (games) when the Buccaneers come out of their bye in Week 8.