Rising receiver Chris Godwin, however, dismissed any notion that teammates would be worried about Ryan Fitzpatrick or Ryan Griffin starting during grueling opening stretch versus the Saints, Eagles and Steelers.
"I'm really just hearing about it myself, I'm really not sure of the details of that situation," Godwin told SiriusXM NFL Radio Thursday night regarding reports of Winston's suspension. "But on our team, we have a next man up mentality and we have a ton of faith in Fitz and Ryan Griffin and all of our quarterbacks. Whoever is in there we're going to be able to utilize our playmakers and really get the ball moving.
"Obviously, you don't wish [a suspension] on anybody, but we're looking forward to the opportunity that we have ahead of building through training camp and putting a great product on the field."
Given Winston's expected suspension, we'd expect Fitzpatrick to see a rise in snaps during next month's training camp and into the preseason. Coach Dirk Koetter must balance getting Winston ready for the season, and his backup prepped to start three games.
Unlike last season, when Winston missed three games in the middle of the season due to injury, at least the Bucs can prepare for his absence this time around. Fitzpatrick, the presumed replacement, went 2-1 in Winston's stead last season. The roller-coaster quarterback can be a Jekyll and Hyde quarterback, but he brings experience and rapport.
Despite bouncing around the NFL, Fitzpatrick has started at least three games since 2008. The trio of starts last season was his fewest since eight in 2009 with the Buffalo Bills. Fitzy defines journeyman in both his career travels and boom-or-bust nature.
While there remain questions about the run-game rotation, the Bucs boast an envious amount of pass-catching talent to keep the offense afloat with a backup QB. Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson provide a go-to No. 1 target and deep threat. Godwin should make a huge leap in Year 2. Adam Humphries is a chain-mover. Tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate offer big-play ability and red zone acumen.
Godwin provided his assessment of the team's backup QB position.
"Honestly, I think with both of those guys you get really smart guys," he said. "They have a really high football IQ and they know where to go with the ball. Obviously, with a guy like Fitz, he's been around for a while and he knows the tricks of the trade and he knows where the ball is supposed to go and he has really good timing and anticipation. Same thing with Griff. ... I think those are the things that makes us have the confidence that we do in those guys to be able to step up and make plays for the team."