Bucs’ Winston can’t afford poor outing against Titans

Now that he’s the backup quarterback to Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota is playing the role of Jameis Winston this week at practice to help the Titans defense prepare for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Sunday visit.Another game like the one he had two weeks ago and Winston might be the next high-profile quarterback carrying a clipboard.Winston erased nearly every stride he had made in his first five games under new coach Bruce Arians by tossing five interceptions and losing a fumble on Oct. 13 when Tampa Bay fell to 2-4 with a loss to the Carolina Panthers in London.Arians never considered pulling Winston that day, but a turnover-plagued beginning in Nashville might produce a different decision.”If it happens again,” Arians said, “it’ll concern the hell out of me.”It’s not as if Winston or the Buccaneers have much margin for error. They already trail New Orleans by 3 1/2 games in the NFC South, so it doesn’t seem likely they will win the division. And they will have to jump over multiple teams in the last 10 games to contend for a playoff spot.What’s more, Winston could have picked many easier defenses to return to action against than Tennessee. The Titans might be 3-4, but that’s more because their offense has mostly been impotent. Their defense is ranked fourth in the league with just 16 points allowed per game and is tied for ninth in interceptions with six.For his part, Winston doesn’t exude a sense of being worried.”We’re going to have good games, we’re going to have bad games,” he said. “The only thing is, when you have bad games, you’ve got to hope you’ve won it. This is just a key game to us getting back, coming back from the bye week, getting together as a team.”

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