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Future is now for Jameis Winston despite it not being entirely his fault

Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston struggled in Week 1 against the 49ers as he threw three interceptions and was sacked three times.

If the weight of being a franchise quarterback weren’t enough for Jameis Winston, it may have gotten a little weightier after three interceptions, two of them pick-sixes, and a 45.4 passer rating in the first game of a make-or-break season.

The Bucs promoted Dirk Koetter in 2016 to save Winston. They fired Koetter and hired Bruce Arians in the offseason for the same reason.

Time is ticking on Winston as the Bucs’ quarterback of the present and of the future.

“That’s been said many, many times,” Arians said Monday of Winston carrying the weight of trying to prove he’s a franchise quarterback, via Jenna Laine of ESPN. “I don’t think I need to repeat it [to Winston]. Y’all repeat it all the time so doesn’t have to be told too many more times.”

Arians now is charged with putting Winston back together after the mess left behind Sunday. He started that process by publicly proclaiming that it wasn’t all Winston’s fault.

Richard Sherman’s pick-six was the fault of receiver Mike Evans, and tight end O.J. Howard had a ball bounce off his hands.

“Two of them he had nothing to do with,” Arians said, via Matt Matera of “He throws a perfect ball; we drop it, and it goes up in the air, and they get an interception. Then, the guy runs a route too deep, and he threw it right where it’s supposed to be after the guy missed the hot, so guys have to play better around it.”

Nonetheless, Winston is the one whose future is on the line. The Bucs need to see a different result if they’re going to commit to him long term.