Jackson: Buccaneers can’t take Fitzpatrick out

6:05 am | September 18, 2018 | Go to Source | Author:


TAMPA, Fla. — The Buccaneers will have a decision to make after this week’s Monday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers: continue to ride the hot streak of backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’s brought them to 2-0 for the first time since 2010, or let starter Jameis Winston take back the reins when he returns from his three-game suspension.

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson thinks they should stay with Fitzpatrick.

“He’s been playing on fire right now,” Jackson said on NFL Network on Monday. “With the way the team is rallying behind him and just playing lights-out football, you have to kind of honor it. You know what I’m saying? You can’t take the hot man out. You got the hot fire right now. It’s like NBA Jam. We used to play NBA Jam — whoever’s got that hot fire shot, you got to keep shooting, man.”

In two weeks, Fitzpatrick, 35, has thrown for 819 yards — more than any other quarterback in the league. He’s completing nearly 78 percent of his passes and has thrown eight touchdowns, with one rushing touchdown. His 151.5 passer rating is also higher than any other quarterback in the league.

“Well, I mean his numbers are off the charts. I guess how would you expect them — everybody — to respond? Of course, everybody’s responded well,” Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Monday. “Our team’s playing well. Our team’s doing something that not many thought they could. We have a good locker room. Our guys believe in each other right now. Any player that’s playing well — he’s backing it up with his play — you get what you deserve.”

Jackson, 31, has been on the receiving end of many of Fitzpatrick’s big plays. He now leads the league with 275 receiving yards, has three touchdowns and on Sunday, tied Jerry Rice’s record of 23 touchdowns of 60 or more yards.

“He’s putting on a show,” Jackson said of Fitzpatrick. “It’s not my decision but I’m sure Dirk and [offensive coordinator Todd] Monken and the guys that make those calls, they’ll make sure they stay on-fire until that fire is out.”

Koetter was asked Monday if Fitzpatrick had earned the starting role when Winston returns but declined to answer.

“I won’t be the one getting in to that because we’ll worry about that when the time comes,” Koetter said. “Right now, right after I get out of here we’re going to start working on Pittsburgh and that’s all that matters right now. Everything else is in the future because it could all change like that.”


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