The Bucs quarterback, who has failed to finish two of the past four games after suffering a sprained AC joint in his right throwing shoulder at Arizona Oct. 15, will be shut down for at least two weeks following an MRI he received Monday.
Winston has started all 40 games since entering the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick by the Bucs in 2015. But the Bucs have lost five games in a row, and their franchise quarterback was forced to leave Sunday's 30-10 loss at New Orleans shortly after sustaining a hit from Saints defensive end Alex Okafor just before halftime.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will start Sunday's game against the Jets Sunday. The Bucs will also activate Ryan Griffin from injured reserve, and he will serve as the No. 2 quarterback in Sunday's game.
"As I told you guys last night, Jameis did have an MRI today and as a result of that MRI he's going to be out the next couple weeks," Koetter said.
Koetter would not give any details about what the latest MRI revealed.
"A lot of medical terms that I'm not an expert on, but that he needs to be off for a couple weeks," Koetter said.
Since Winston's initial injury against the Cardinals, the Bucs are 0-4 and have scored a total of nine points in the first half of those games.
"Jameis didn't play his best," Koetter said. "But on the third from the last play of the half, when he got hit on his left side, the way the defensive end and Jameis' weight fell on his right shoulder, that's when he reaggravated it and that was a hit most all quarterbacks in the NFL, when you're coming off an injury and you see those, those are not good. Up until that point, Jameis had practiced good last week. He had one of his best practices on Friday. He threw the ball great in pregame warmups. But after that point, he was definitely hurt."
Following the initial injury at Arizona, Winston had one of his best games at Buffalo, throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns with an interception in a 30-27 loss to the Bills.
He did not play well in a 17-3 loss to Carolina Oct. 29, but coaches attributed that to the wind and a lack of practice time.
The fact that Winston has been injured for four of the Bucs' five straight losses may not be a coincidence.
"Yup, I mean you could definitely draw that conclusion," Koetter said. "The problem with that is there's no way to measure it."
--Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans, who hit Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore from behind during Sunday's game, has been suspended without pay for Sunday's home game against the Jets, the league announced.
Lattimore had shoved Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston after Winston came onto the field and poked him in the back of the helmet. Evans ran up and hit Lattimore from behind, knocking him to the ground. The Bucs receiver apologized after the game, calling his actions "very childish" and "unprofessional."
Evans was assessed a 15-yard penalty but not ejected. Saints head coach Sean Payton said after the game that Evans should have been ejected, and Koetter said Monday he was disappointed by what he saw.
"Totally unacceptable behavior, first by Jameis and then by Mike," 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, touch another player at all on the field, that's inexcusable. Then the Saints player responded and Mike reacted, and that's not acceptable either. That's not having your teammate's back, that just wrong."
--Cornerback Brent Grimes said he hopes to be able to return to practice this week, having missed the last two games with a pulled muscle in his shoulder and back. Grimes said he injured himself in the season opener, but was able to play through it, then reinjured it against Buffalo.
"I tried to play through it, I just have to wait," Grimes said. "Hopefully, this week goes well and I can play."
NOTES: DE Williams Gholston passed all neurological exams and returned home with the team Sunday night after suffering a neck injury against the Saints. Gholston will undergo some further testing. ... LT Donovan Smith, who had played every snap in three seasons, had to leave Sunday's game with a knee injury. ... G Kevin Pamphile finished Sunday's game at left tackle against the Saints. ... RB Peyton Barber led the Bucs in rushing with 11 carries for 34 yards Sunday, his biggest workload of the season. ... QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will start Sunday's game against the Jets, went 8 of 15 passing for 68 yards with a touchdown Sunday.
MIDSEASON REPORT CARD
--PASSING OFFENSE: C -- You have to grade on a curve because Jameis Winston has had a bad shoulder for the past four games. He was great at Buffalo despite the injury, throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns. But he hasn't been good the last two weeks. DeSean Jackson has done his job winning on deep routes, but Winston can't connect with him.
--RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The Bucs cannot get their running game going. Halfway through the season, they do not have a player who has rushed for 100 yards, and the return of Doug Martin to the lineup has been inconsequential. All this despite the fact that the Bucs moved Ali Marpet to center and J.R. Sweezy came back from an injury that cost him the entire 2016 season.
--PASS DEFENSE: D -- The Bucs have given up way too many explosive plays in the pass game. The problem is they can't get any pressure on the quarterback and only have eight sacks in as many games. DE Noah Spence is out for the year with a shoulder injury. Losing CB Brent Grimes for three games has hurt as well.
--RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The Bucs have been just OK against the run. Adrian Peterson ran wild against them with the Cardinals. The Saints' backs had their way with Tampa Bay as well. But you have to factor in the injuries to both Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David, who has forced four fumbles.
--SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- P Bryan Anger is a quality player who can kick his team out of trouble or create field position by killing it inside the 20. But the kicking game got the Bucs off to a bad start. After releasing Roberto Aguayo, Nick Folk melted down and had to be released. They may have salvaged the situation with the signing of Patrick Murray.
--COACHING: D -- The Bucs are not responding to head coach Dirk Koetter or defensive coordinator Mike Smith. They did not show much fight on Sunday and it might be a trend.