TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, who had cited quarterback Jameis Winston as a major reason he came out of retirement, declined to say whether Winston would be part of the organization's plans after the 2019 season, when his rookie contract expires.
Arians was asked Wednesday: If ownership requested an evaluation this week, would he say unequivocally that Winston is Tampa Bay's starting quarterback going forward?
"I'm gonna pass on that one," said Arians, who publicly has been a supporter of Winston through much of the season while acknowledging that his turnovers have been a problem. "I'm gonna wait until the end of December."
Sources have told ESPN that the organization remains undecided on Winston's status going forward. He has thrown a league-high 20 interceptions to go with 22 touchdowns this year, and he has turned the ball over an NFL-high 101 times since entering the league in 2015.
Arians has said, however, that not all of those turnovers were Winston's fault, and he has praised the quarterback's ability to handle two-minute situations.
"There's been really, really, really good and there's been some really, really bad," Arians said. "I'm gonna pass until it's over and then we'll make a decision."
Arians declared that second-year running back Ronald Jones will remain the starter for the remainder of the season despite benching him in the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars for missing a blitz pickup that resulted in a sack-forced fumble of Winston.
"I don't have any concerns with the running game right now. Rojo is still our starter and we'll get him going," said Arians, who emphasized that the team must treat each game like it's the postseason despite being 5-7.
"I just reaffirmed to him [that] he's my guy and, 'Hey, we're in the playoffs now. We can't have that. If you have that, you're standing next to me [on the sideline].'"