The Bucs want quarterback Jameis Winston to rest his injured shoulder at least through Sunday's game against the Dolphins and general manager Jason Licht has said it could be an extended period before he is under center.
But Winston is expected to play again this season, regardless of the Bucs record.
When asked Monday if he believed Winston would play again in 2017, coach Dirk Koetter didn't mince words.
"I do,'' Koetter said. "From what I know, I do. But again, it was rest him for two weeks, see where he's at. We talked to multiple doctors. That's what the plan is. There's really nothing to add to that right now. I know Jameis is planning on playing again and there's been no discussion between Jason, myself of him not playing again. That would all be something that would have to come up in the future.''
The Bucs will start backup Ryan Fitzpatrick Sunday against the Dolphins. Fitzpatrick passed for 187 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 15-10 win over the Jets.
But Koetter said he would also like to see Ryan Griffin get his first regular season NFL action before 2017 is over, although he said the Bucs would not force it.
"Ryan Fitzpatrick will be our starter this week, we know that much because Jameis will be out again this week,'' Koetter said. "And Ryan Griffin will go into the week as a backup. If the opportunity ever presented itself, it would be good while we have this situation to get Ryan Griffin into a game and he's been doing well in practice. But it would never be just because we want to see him get into a game. It would have to be the right opportunity and we'll have to see if that ever comes up or not.''