New offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich confirmed Winston will be the Buccanners’ starting quarterback in 2019, Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times reports.
Leftwich said he and Winston will be “connected at the hip” throughout the process of implementing head coach Bruce Arians’ vertical offense. The 39-year-old is expected to get his second shot as an NFL play-caller, after taking over in Arizona when Mike McCoy was fired midway through the 2018 campaign. Despite some initial improvement, Leftwich ultimately was unable to turn things around in the desert, faced with the limitations of a rookie quarterback playing behind an atrocious offensive line. The situation in Tampa Bay is vastly superior, albeit far from perfect. Winston’s strong arm and aggressive nature make him a natural fit working with Arians/Leftwich, but there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to ball security and establishing a running game. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard (ankle) will be back in 2019 to lead the Tampa Bay receiving corps, while Adam Humphries, DeSean Jackson (Achilles/finger) and Cameron Brate (hip) all face uncertain futures. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old quarterback is signed for just one more season under the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.