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Bucs roundtable: Who should start at QB the rest of the season?

Jameis Winston, left, and   Ryan Fitzpatrick warm up last week at Buccaneers practice at One Buc Place in Tampa, Fla. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
Jameis Winston, left, and Ryan Fitzpatrick warm up last week at Buccaneers practice at One Buc Place in Tampa, Fla. MONICA HERNDON | Times
Published Nov. 7, 2018|Updated Nov. 7, 2018

The Bucs are 3-5 at the midway point of their season, having started Ryan Fitzpatrick for five games and Jameis Winston for three.

They are 2-3 in games Fitzpatrick has started; 1-2 in Winston's starts.

Fitzpatrick rallied the Bucs in relief of Winston at Cincinnati.

The outcome at Chicago was decided by the time Winston relieved Fitzpatrick there.

Coach Dirk Koetter has announced Fitzpatrick will start at 1 p.m Sunday against Washington at Raymond James Stadium, but who should start at quarterback during the second half of the season? Our Bucs coverage team weighs in:

Win, stay in

Rick Stroud, Bucs beat writer @NFLStroud:  The only answer is, it depends.  If Ryan Fitzpatrick plays well enough to win, and certainly if he wins, he stays under center. Going back and forth at the position never works. On the other hand, if the Bucs lose the next two games and are 3-7, it's over. You play Jameis Winston and give him six games to prove he deserves a fifth year.

Week to week

Eduardo A. Encina, Bucs/pro sports enterprise writer, @EddieintheYard: I had no problem playing the hot hand this past week, but despite a four-touchdown performance, Ryan Fitzpatrick's game against Carolina was more "meh" than magical. The Bucs need wins now, so stay with whoever gives the team the best chance for that. But with a few more losses, this team does need to turn a page to the future, and the biggest question in that future is coming to a firm decision as to whether Winston should be a part of it, and that means playing him down the stretch if their postseason chances become a pipe dream.

Back to Jameis

Tom Jones, columnist @tomwjones: Know who is not the Bucs' QB of the future? Ryan Fitzpatrick. We already know that. What we don't know is whether or not Winston is the QB of the future. The problem is the Bucs have a half-season to make that decision. Now, perhaps eight games (after three-and-a-half seasons) won't make a difference. The Bucs probably should already know by now. But if you're not winning games, you might as well get as much info as you can on Winston.

Fact-finding

Martin Fennelly, columnist @mjfennelly: Even at 3-5 ,this season is over, no matter what happens Sunday against Washington (and I think the Bucs win). The only morsel left is finding out if Jameis Winston is the guy going forward. It doesn't look good, but why leave anything  to chance, especially when you already have no chance? Unless you have not seen the Bucs defense.

For now, do what’s best for the 2018 team

Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter, @tometrics: I think it comes down to what the players want. They aren't thinking about 2019. They're thinking about this week. They have jobs, too, and they need the guy who is going to help them do their jobs best. Fitzpatrick and Winston are similar quarterbacks, but Fitzpatrick has outplayed Winston this season and gives the team the best chance to win RIGHT NOW. You already should know what you have in Winston. If you don't, I'm not sure you ever will. It'd be unwise to let an eight-game sample sway your offseason plans either way.

Give Jameis a break

Ernest Hooper, metro columnist, @hoop4you: Everyone assesses the question based on what's best for this season, what's best for the future, what's best for Koetter and Licht. Maybe we need to ask what's best for Jameis, and maybe the answer is letting him focus on being a father, a husband and a man. I think he may be trying to sort all of that out and eliminating the pressure of starting could put him in a better mindset for 2019, whether he's here or with another team.

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