Bucs will start Ryan Fitzpatrick, bench Jameis Winston

The Fitzmagic is officially back in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter made his quarterback decision public Monday morning, telling the media Ryan Fitzpatrick will return to the starting role in week 9. The Bucs (3-4) will travel to play the Carolina Panthers (5-2) in a tight NFC South matchup.

“That’s what we feel like we need to do this week to give ourselves the best chance,” said Koetter, adding the decision is just for right now.

He said he doesn’t like switching quarterbacks, but feels they “need to make the switch at this time.”

Fitzpatrick, who started the first four games of the season, led the Tampa Bay rally against the Bengals after Winston was benched following four interceptions. The Bucs lost, 37-34, after a last-second field goal.

Winston benched after more turnovers

Jameis Winston threw four interceptions in less than three quarters against the Bengals on Sunday, putting his team into a 34-16 deficit after a pick-six.

In the first quarter he threw an interception in the end zone and later on added one that was seemingly to none of his receivers.

In the third quarter he threw another inaccurate pass the Bengals snatched.

The first round pick in the 2015 NFL draft has 10 interceptions in four games this season with six touchdowns. Over his four-year career, the first two of which he played every game, he has 54 interceptions to 75 touchdowns.

Winston is in the final year of his guaranteed contract. The Bucs picked up the fifth-year option in April, but 2019 is not guaranteed.

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Jameis Winston through the years
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Jameis Winston through the years
Oct 19, 2013; Clemson, SC, USA;Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) celebrates with teammates following against the Clemson Tigers the game at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Seminoles won 51-14. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2013; Clemson, SC, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) throws the ball during the second half against the Clemson Tigers at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Seminoles won 51-14. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2013; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) smiles on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Florida State defeated Wake Forest 59-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 16, 2013; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) throws the ball as he is watched by Syracuse Orange defensive back Darius Kelly (18) during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 23, 2013; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) signs autographs for fans after the game against the Idaho Vandals at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2014; Newport Beach, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston at the 2014 BCS National Championship press conference at Newport Beach Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) throws against the Auburn Tigers during the second half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Florida Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston holds the championship trophy after they defeated the Auburn Tigers to win the BCS Championship football game in Pasadena, California January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
May 1, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) is introduced at a press conference at One Buc Place the day after being selected as the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) drops back to throw during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) celebrates as he leaves the field following his first career win in the NFL coming against the New Orleans Saints in a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Buccaneers defeated the Saints 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and wide receiver Russell Shepard (89) celebrate their touchdown connection during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws the ball during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) trade jerseys after the game at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 14-5. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) greets defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) after the Carolina Panthers failed on a two point conversion attempt to tie the game in the second half at Raymond James Stadium. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Carolina Panthers 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 13: Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws during the first half of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Fitzpatrick magic makes midseason comeback

Ryan Fitzpatrick had a stellar and surprising start to the season for the Bucs while Winston served a three-game suspension for inappropriately touching an Uber driver.

Fitzpatrick opened the season with two victories, including a record-setting win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3. He became the first quarterback to throw for at least 400 yards in three consecutive games and therefore has his jersey in the Hall of Fame.

Though he got the start in week 4 against the Chicago Bears, Koetter pulled Fitzpatrick in favor of Winston when the Bucs fell behind, 38-3, at halftime. Winston has held the starting role since while the Bucs struggle with a quarterback conundrum.

Fitzpatrick has 1,550 passing yards over five games, averaging a career-high 310 yards per game. He has 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.

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