Sports: Even Buccaneers receivers sound convinced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will keep the starting QB job over Jameis Winston

DeSean Jackson

Journeyman backup Ryan Fitzpatrick has been one of the best quarterbacks in football to start the 2018 season, and star receiver DeSean Jackson thinks the team should ride the hot hand.

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick's brilliant start to the year has the Buccaneers undefeated after two difficult games.
  • With 400+ yards and four touchdowns in each of his two starts this season, it's starting to feel as though Fitzpatrick will hold on to the job even after incumbent starter Jameis Winston returns from suspension.
  • Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson recently weighed in on the matter, backing Fitzpatrick and arguing that the team needed to ride the hot streak.


The biggest surprise of the 2018 NFL season thus far has been the emergence of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Heading into the year, the Buccaneers looked like a lost cause. Led by a backup quarterback and stuck in a division with three other teams thought to have postseason potential, there was little expectation that Tampa Bay would make an early impact.

But rather than falter, Ryan Fitzpatrick has now played two of the best games of his career on back-to-back Sundays, taking down the division rival Saints in Week 1 and following that up by upending the defending Super Bowl champions.

After Fitzpatrick's first game — a performance that included 417 yards and four touchdowns — there were some whispers that Fitzpatrick might be able to hold on to the starting job once regular starter Jameis Winston returns from injury. Fitzpatrick has shown flashes of brilliance before during his journeyman career, but sustaining a high level of play has proven difficult.

But then Fitzpatrick continued his hot streak into Week 2, throwing again for 400 yards and four touchdowns to beat the Philadelphia Eagles. His second strong performance has made the calls for Fitzpatrick to keep the starting job grow louder, and some of his teammates have even weighed in on the matter.

"He's been on fire right now," said wide receiver DeSean Jackson to NFL Network's Scott Hanson and Willie McGinest. "With the way the team is rallying behind him and just playing lights-out football, you have to kind of honor it. 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."

It's little surprise that Jackson would like Fitzpatrick to stay under center for the near future — in two starts this season with Fitzpatrick, Jackson has 275 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He clearly has a solid relationship with Fitzpatrick, lending him his clothes so he could put on a show during postgame interviews.

With Fitzpatrick's help, Jackson even got to burn his former team for a 75-yard score on the first play of the Buccaneers Week 2 game against the Eagles.

Fitzpatrick will attempt to keep his hot streak going this week as the Buccaneers host the Pittsburgh Steelers for "Monday Night Football" in Tampa Bay. With another great performance, Fitzpatrick might make his claim on the job undeniable.

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