A five-game losing streak isn’t the only source of frustration for the reeling Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Their woes got worse Monday when quarterback Jameis Winston learned he will be shut down for at least two weeks in hopes his injured throwing shoulder improves. Star receiver Mike Evans was suspended one game by the NFL for his role in a sideline skirmish.
Winston’s streak of 40 consecutive starts to begin his pro career will end Sunday, when Ryan Fitzpatrick replaces him against the New York Jets, Fitzpatrick’s team the last two seasons. Winston, who’s thrown for 1,920 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions, has played through the injury, diagnosed as an AC joint sprain, for three games.
Evans will miss this week’s game, too, for running up from behind and knocking Marshon Lattimore to the ground after the Saints rookie cornerback pushed Winston in response to the quarterback coming off the sideline to confront Lattimore during Sunday’s 30-10 loss at New Orleans.
“Totally unacceptable behavior, first by Jameis and then by Mike,” coach Dirk Koetter said. “Jameis cannot, under any circumstances come off the sideline when he’s not even playing in the game. Trash talking is trash talking. But to go out and tap another player — whatever you want to call that, touch another player at all on the field — that’s inexcusable.”
The Buccaneers haven’t made the playoffs since 2007 and sit in last place in the NFC South.
Koetter was asked to describe the team’s mood. “Frustrated, disappointed, confused,” he said. “The mood you would expect from a team that had very high expectations and has lost five in a row.”
Texans: QB talks include Kaepernick
Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien says he and general manager Rick Smith have discussed all quarterback options including Colin Kaepernick after last week’s season-ending injury to Deshaun Watson.
Asked specifically about the possibility of adding Kaepernick on Monday, a day after Tom Savage struggled in a 20-14 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, O’Brien avoided endorsing the potential move.
“Colin Kaepernick’s a good football player; hasn’t played football in a while,” O’Brien said. “But these things are discussed daily and they’ll continue to be discussed.”
The Texans have not been very active in national anthem protests, but the majority of the team kneeled during the anthem Oct. 29 at Seattle after a report revealed that team owner Bob McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” during a meeting of NFL owners. No member of the team kneeled this week before Houston’s annual “Salute to Service” game.
Houston is looking to get back on track and make a push for a third straight playoff berth. The Texans are 3-5 and two games behind Tennessee and Jacksonville, who are tied for first place in the AFC South. Houston signed T.J. Yates and Matt McGloin on Friday to back up Savage.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, just reinstated by the NFL after a near three-year ban for repeated failed drug tests, told GQ Magazine he used drugs and/or alcohol before “probably every game.”
“Every time I would try to stop, it would be for the wrong reason,” Gordon said. “It’d be a publicity stunt; it’d be for somebody else; it’d be for the coach, or whomever thought it was in my best interest to try to do that. ... Only thing saving me at this point and time, and the difference between now and then, is that I’m doing it for myself. And I want something more for myself.”
Gordon, a 2013 All-Pro, will be eligible to start practicing Nov. 20 and play in the final five games of the season beginning Dec. 3 on the road against the Chargers.
Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. ... A federal appeals court set a Thursday hearing as attorneys for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott seek a longer-lasting injunction to stop his six-game suspension. ... Denver Broncos rookie tight end Jake Butt (knee) is headed to injured reserve.