The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have a scurvy start to the season, with their franchise face, QB Jameis Winston, suspended for the first three games for 2018.
NFL is planning to suspend Buccaneers’ QB Jameis Winston the first three games of the season for violating the personal conduct policy, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 21, 2018
ESPN’s Tallahassee host Jeff Cameron initially reported Winston was bracing to be suspended - and he will be.
He was accused of groping a female Uber driver in Arizona, and it looks as if the league’s investigation into the claims showed Winston guilty, and deserving of punishment. Three games seems quite light for such a heinous act, but that’s the NFL for you.
Actually, Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud says the suspension could increase if Winston does not uphold certain standards laid out by the league.
This takes the wind out of the Buccaneers’ sails, who will have to rely on Ryan “Went to Harvard” Fitzpatrick to navigate their inaugural stretch of the season. It’s quite brutal; at New Orleans, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Pittsburgh.
There is a legit chance they could be 0-3 by the time Winston returns, and the team will have the upstart Bears, a bye and, you guess it, the Falcons in road matches to welcome Winston back. If, somehow, that suspension carries over, their ship might start sinking before it even gets to sea.
So, that does mean the Buccaneers will have to hope to find a treasure trove of Fitzmagic in those first free games, and hope Winston is fresh and ready, before their season is off course by October. But that also means, right now, the Falcons won’t get the backup once the Bucs stop by Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Oct. 14.
The suspension is a pretty big cannonball to a Tampa Bay team that seems to be figuring things out in roster assembly for the most part, and might take an unsung contender for the NFC South out of the running early on. The Bucs are back in the division basement for the time being.
But, barring injury or extended suspension, the Falcons will see Winston twice this year. Let’s hope he’s still a bit rusty once he comes to town, because that Bucs offense has some legitimate weapons to unleash this season once it gets going.