TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston has to play better for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to realize their potential. So does the supporting cast around the young quarterback.
The second-year pro’s inconsistency has been a focal point during a slow start that’s concerning not so much because of a 2-3 record as the way the team performed during a three-game losing streak that followed a season-opening win over the Falcons.
Injuries have been a factor. So have an offense that’s turned the ball over too much; a defense that hasn’t generated enough pressure on opposing passers; and rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo (4 of 8 on field goals, one missed extra point), who’s done little to stop lingering questions about whether it was a mistake to draft him in the second round.
All that said, coach Dirk Koetter feels good about where the team sits in the NFC South race after beating the first-place Falcons (4-1) and three-time defending division champion Carolina Panthers (1-4) on the road in the first five weeks of the season.
Now, this weekend’s bye offers an opportunity for several injured starters, including running back Doug Martin and defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers Jr., to get healthy.
“It probably couldn’t be at a better time for us,” Koetter said of the break, which comes of the heels of a skid-ending 17-14 win over the Panthers.
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