Ian Rapoport, citing several sources, reports that Buccaneers HC Dirk Koetter told his team this week that Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s third interception against the Steelers nearly caused him to bench Fitzpatrick in favor of Ryan Griffin.
Rapoport says that some players were caught by surprise that Koetter was ready to bench Fitzpatrick and they now believe Fitzpatrick’s starting job is anything but safe.
During his speech, Koetter didn’t specifically use the word “bench” and he instead stressed that it was about the possibility of giving a player who had impressed in practice the chance to do it in a game.
Some of the players in the room reportedly came away with the impression that Koetter was paving the way for Jameis Winston to return to the lineup, possibly in Week 6 following the Buccaneers’ bye.
Fitzpatrick, 35, is a former seventh-round pick of the Rams back in 2005. He’s played for several teams over the course of his 13-year NFL career including the Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans and Jets before he signed on with the Buccaneers last year.
Fitzpatrick has appeared in three games for the Buccaneers and completed 70.3 percent of his passes for 1230 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also rushed for 62 yards and touchdown. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 1 quarterback out of 32 qualifying players.