The Bucs have decided Jameis Winston needs a couple weeks off to rest his injured shoulder.
The Bucs quarterback, who has failed to finish two of the past four games following a sprained AC joint in his right throwing shoulder at Arizona Oct. 15, will be shut down for at least two weeks following an MRI he received Monday.
Winston has started all 40 games since entering the NFL as a No. 1 overall pick by the Bucs in 2015. But the Bucs have lost five games in a row and their franchise quarterback was forced to leave Sunday's 30-10 loss at New Orleans shortly after sustaining a hit from Saints defensive end Alex Okafor just before halftime.
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick would start Sunday's game against the Jets Sunday. The Bucs will also recall quarterback Ryan Griffin from injured reserve and he will serve as the No. 2 QB in Sunday's game.
"As I told you guys last night, Jameis did have an MRI today and as a result of that MRI he's going to be out the next couple weeks," Koetter said.
Koetter would not give any details about what the latest MRI revealed.
"A lot of medical terms that I'm not an expert on, but that he needs to be off for a couple weeks," Koetter said.
Since Winston's initial injury against the Cardinals, the Bucs are 0-4 and have scored a total of nine points in the first half of those games.
"Jameis didn't play his best," Koetter said. "But on the third from the last play of the half, when he got hit on his left side, the way the defensive end and Jameis' weight fell on his right shoulder, that's when he reaggravated it and that was a hit most all quarterbacks in the NFL, when you're coming off an injury and you see those, those are not good. Up until that point, Jameis had practiced good last week. He had one of his best practices on Friday. He threw the ball great in pre-game warmups. But after that point, he was definitely hurt."
Following the initial injury at Arizona, Winston had one of his best games at Buffalo, throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns with an interception in a 30-27 loss to the Bills.
He did not play well in a 17-3 loss to Carolina Oct. 29, but coaches attributed that to the wind and a lack of practice time.
The fact that the Winston has been injured for four of the Bucs' five straight losses may not be a coincidence.
"Yup, I mean you could definitely draw that conclusion," Koetter said. "The problem with that is there's no way to measure it. There's no measurement for that. And because Jameis played so well the second half at Buffalo the first time, even though he came off a week where he didn't practice until Friday, you think that could be duplicated as long as he's medically cleared. Of course, his safety is first.
"I talked to Jameis about that earlier today. We have been on this losing streak since Jameis was injured, at some point in there. But there's no way to put a measurement on that. As you have asked in here, of course we would always want our starting quarterback, most starting quarterbacks in the NFL take every rep during the week with the first unit. So that hasn't been ideal, but at the same time, at most positions in the NFL, if a guy is cleared medically to play, he's going to play. And a quarterback is not an exception to that."
When asked if Winston had any kind of ligament tear in his shoulder, Koetter would not elaborate.
"They feel like he needs to rest a couple weeks and that's going to happen," Koetter said. "They're saying it's not structural, but they want to shut him down. I don't want to say something I shouldn't say."