Buccaneers name Jameis Winston the starter, bench Ryan Fitzpatrick once again

Once again, the Buccaneers have spun the quarterback wheel as their season continues to sink toward the depths of the Tampa Bay. On Monday, the Buccaneers confirmed that they're benching Ryan Fitzpatrick and re-inserting Jameis Winston back into their starting lineup as they head into their Week 12 matchup against the 49ers (1 p.m. ET, Fox stream on fuboTV, try for free).

That should sound familiar. Fitzpatrick began the season as the starter after Winston got suspended three games for allegedly groping an Uber driver. Fitzpatrick played well enough in those three games that the Buccaneers decided to roll with him in Week 4 even though Winston, the No. 1 pick in 2015, was eligible to play. But Fitzpatrick promptly lost his starting job, getting benched for Winston midway through their Week 4 loss to the Bears. Before their next game, Winston was named the starter.

But Winston couldn't hang onto the job for long. Midway through their Week 8 game against the Bengals, after a four-interception meltdown, the Buccaneers replaced Winston with Fitzpatrick, who nearly brought the Buccaneers back to steal a win, which was enough for him to supplant Winston as the starter yet again. Fitzpatrick kept the job until Sunday, when he got benched during their loss to the Giants. Fittingly, like Fitzpatrick back in Week 8, Winston nearly led the Buccaneers out of the hole that the starting quarterback dug them into. Now, Winston will get another chance to start.

In reality, it hasn't really mattered who's started for the Buccaneers this season. If we could somehow combine Fitzpatrick and Winston into one two-headed quarterback, that two-headed quarterback would rank third in yards per attempt (9.1), tied for third in touchdowns (25), and first in interceptions (by a whopping nine picks). 

The pendulum has swung back in Winston's favor, but how long it'll last remains to be seen. Given that the Buccaneers need to figure out their long-term plans for Winston, they should probably roll with him for the remainder of the season. At this point, with the Buccaneers sitting at 3-7, which should lead to Dirk Koetter's dismissal at the end of the season, the franchise should be prioritizing their long-term future over any kind of short-term success they might find between now and January. 

Winston might not be the team's future at the position, but unlike Fitzpatrick, he at least has a chance to be their long-term quarterback. 

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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