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Dirk Koetter won’t commit to Jameis Winston as Week Four starter

NBC Sports logo NBC Sports 7/26/2018 Mike Florio
a man wearing a hat and sunglasses © AP

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston will miss the first three games of the regular season, due to a suspension under the Personal Conduct Policy. So when he returns in Week Four, he’ll immediately be reinstalled as the starting quarterback, right?

Maybe not. Via JoeBucsFan.com, coach Dirk Koetter was asked on Thursday whether Winston will be “100 percent your guy” if he’s healthy and ready to play against the Bears.

Week Four is a long ways away,” Koetter said. “Week Four is a long ways away. So, you know, let’s worry about Week Four in Week Four. Right now, let’s worry about preseason and getting ready for the Saints.”

The response is similar to the one given by Koetter a year ago, regarding the final three games of former Buccaneers running back Doug Martin‘s suspension. But Winston is the starting quarterback, the supposed face of the franchise. Koetter’s decision not to commit to Winston is noteworthy.

But it’s really not surprising. Apart from the fact that the Bucs seem to generally be ambivalent about Winston, Week Four comes on a short week after a Monday night game against the Steelers. And the team’s bye comes one week later. If Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well through the first three games, why not let him finish the first fourth of the season, giving Winston nearly three weeks to re-acclimate before making his debut?

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