Bucs’ Todd Monken on decision to play Ryan Fitzpatrick: ‘We keep our jobs by winning’

Monken said the only reason Fitzpatrick will start against the Giants is because he gives them a better chance to win than with Jameis Winston at quarterback
Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken speaks to reporters earlier this month at One Buc Place. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken speaks to reporters earlier this month at One Buc Place. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Nov. 15, 2018

Add offensive coordinator Todd Monken to the list of coaches who believe Ryan Fitzpatrick gives the Bucs a better chance to win than Jameis Winston.

Fitzpatrick will make his third start in a row and seventh of the season Sunday against the Giants, even though he has committed five turnovers  in the past two games.

Winston was benched after throwing 10 interceptions in a little more than 3-1/2 games.

When asked if the Bucs had given up on Winston, Monken indicated the only focus was on winning Sunday and trying to keep their jobs.

"I think it's more about Fitz," Monken said. "I think it's more about this week. I think it's week to week, and I know everybody says that. But at the end of the day, that's what we're paid to do, to make those decisions. Every day, decisions you make in terms of who plays, the plan you put together to try and score against an opponent. Everybody has a job to do within this organization and they're held accountable to those decisions they make.

"So at this moment, as coaches, we're paid to try and win. We keep our jobs by winning. So sometimes the margin of those decisions are extreme between who a player is in terms of their skill set to the next player where it's obvious. Sometimes it's not so obvious, but you still have to make that decision."

Statistically, Fitzpatrick has been the better quarterback. He has completed 67.1 percent of this passes for 2,199 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions in about 75 more pass attempts. Winston is completing 64.9 percent of his passes for 1,181 with six TDs and 11 INTs.

"I don't know if it was a close call or not," Monken said. "We're not talking about certain positions where Donovan Smith is our left tackle, great. Again, the dropoff. I'm not telling you anything you don't know. The bottom line at this moment, that's why we're rolling with Fitz."

Monken said Winston has handled the demotion like a pro.

"He's been great. He's been awesome," Monken said. "He's been an unbelievable teammate. In his mind, which I do appreciate, it's been a speed bump. It's been something he didn't foresee and we didn't foresee."