Jameis Winston didnít offer a pep talk for his teammates before Sundayís game at Green Bay. That or TV didnít show it.
A good call either way.
Winston is back at work.
But can he save Dirk Koetterís job?
It is a perfectly reasonable question at this losing season lurches to its conclusion. Koetterís future rests in Jameis Winstonís hands ó yes, the same hands that turned that fumble Sunday it into a Lambeau Leap.
The Glazers are in mysterious mode. The Bucs owners are big believers that itís how you finish. See Morris, Raheem, or Schiano, Gregory, or Smith, Lovie.
How Winston finishes matters. It might be the difference between Koetter getting a third season in Tampa Bay or hopping in interview lines with a losing record at last count.
Make Jameis better. Thatís why the Glazers hired Koetter. He was the quarterback whisperer in Lovie Smithís final season, and he was so good at it he made Smith expendable. Koetter was the guy to get the most of Winston, tender-loving care, tough love, all that. It was a Belichick-Brady sort of arrangement.
Now itís Belichick or bust. Koetter is a 13-15 head coach with a quarterback who canít decide whether he is lost or found. The off-field stuff has not helped Winston. Could it save Koetter? Could Winstonís injuryís save Koetter? Could Koetter bring in another QB, through free agency or the draft ó real competition for Winston and start all over?
Isnít Jim Harbaugh in town Thursday for the Outback Bowl contract signing?
Koetter showed patience as Winston returned Sunday. There was some good and there was some bad. Winston seemed to be settling in when Ö he lost that fumble that was returned for a Lambeau Leap.
Koetter looked like he could have re-eaten his breakfast. Itís enough to make a guy phone Tennessee about the opening.
But Koetter was there for his quarterback, during and after the game.
No matter. Winston might be a puzzle Koetter canít solve.
Itís up to the Glazers whether Koetter gets to reconstruct Winston or not.
Is Jameis better than he was before last season?
I donít think he is.
He needs a few wins.
That job youíre holding in your hands might not be your own.
Contact Martin Fennelly at [email protected] or (813) 731-8029