Winslow undergoes fifth knee surgery

According to the Pewter Report, Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow was held out of the start of OTAs Monday after undergoing his fifth knee surgery in the last six years.

The report states that the knee surgery was a minor arthroscopic procedure, or a “clean up” of the knee. That said, this was Winslow has already had two knee operations since undergoing microfracture surgery in 2007. At 26 he may be able to recover without much problem, but how long will he be able to play after having all these surgeries? The body obviously breaks down with age, so this isn’t a good sign for the tight end’s long-term health.

The Bucs need a healthy Winslow heading into the season so young quarterback Josh Freeman has a primary weapon he can use in the middle of the field. If not, the team will have to count on rookie Arrelious Benn or a hodgepodge group of receivers in Michael Clayton, Maurice Stovall, Mario Urrutia, Reggie Brown and Mark Bradley.

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Johnson to replace Letwich as Bucs’ starter

Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris said on Monday that Josh Johnson will replace Byron Leftwich as the team’s starting quarterback.

From the St. Petersburg Times:

“He provides us more options,” Morris said of Johnson. “We evaluated this morning, looked at the tape, and made the decision today. He gives you the dynamic that you all know about. He creates a better chance to break out of the pocket and make a play with his feet.”

By going with Johnson, the Bucs seem to be looking for a spark without sacrificing the future development of Freeman, their prized first-round draft pick.

Of Leftwich, Morris added: “I hate to make this about Byron…He missed a few throws, he didn’t give us the accuracy we wanted.” But at the same time, Morris said, Leftwich “didn’t jump offsides on the second play of the game” and “he didn’t drop passes. So it’s not all about Byron. But that position is usually — just like the head coach — the guy who gets the blame. I talked to Byron this morning and he lookedme right in the face and said, ‘Hey, I knew I had to get some wins early.’ And we’re moving on.’

Unless Johnson can play defense for the Bucs, I don’t see this change making much of a difference. He has some raw talent, but Tampa’s receiving corps is banged up and it would be unfair to think that Johnson will enter the starting lineup and rescue a sinking team.

As for Leftwich, this has to be his final opportunity to be a full-time starter. He’s proven countless times that he’s too inconsistent to hold onto a starting job for a full season (or even half a season) and he’s too mistake prone. He’s much better in a limited role and would be a better back up than starter. (See last year in Pittsburgh as an example.)

NFL Week 4 Primer

Jason CampbellSunday’s Best: Redskins (2-1) at Cowboys (3-0) 4:15 PM ET FOX
How stacked is the NFC East? Even Washington, the team expected to be the worst in the division, has looked strong since losing their opener to the Giants. In their sound win over the Packers last Sunday night, the Cowboys proved that they’re the class of the NFC. Dallas has a ton of offensive weapons, but the Skins could keep things close now that QB Jason Campbell is starting to look more comfortable in Jim Zorn’s West Coast Offense. Plus with RB Clinton Portis running well and the Cowboys’ run defense missing S Roy Williams, maybe this is a good time for Washington to face their NFC East foe.

Upset Watch: Eagles (2-1) at Bears (1-2) 8:15 PM ET NBC
Philadelphia is coming off an impressive win over the Steelers while Chicago once again gave up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter while dropping its home opener to Tampa Bay. But the Eagles are banged up right now, with QB Donovan McNabb, RB Brian Westbrook and TE L.J. Smith all missing significant practice time this week. By all accounts, the Bears should be 3-0 right now, but blew wins at Carolina and home against Tampa Bay. Da Bears are tough to beat at home and the defense should bounce back after Brian Griese tuned them up in the fourth quarter and overtime last week. But can the offense generate enough points? Philly’s defense harassed Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger last week and will no doubt attempt to do the same this week against Kyle Orton. As of Friday, Devin Hester is still listed as questionable on the Bears’ injury report, but he could give Chicago a huge boost in the playmaking department if he could return.

Jon GrudenIntriguing Matchup: Packers (2-1) at Bucs (2-1), 1:00 PM ET FOX
Aaron Rodgers suffered his first defeat as a starter last week against Dallas, so it’ll be interesting to see how he and the Packers respond. Things don’t get any easier this weekend in Tampa, where the Bucs have won two straight and the offense is clicking with Brian Griese under center. Without the threat of a running game last week, Green Bay wasn’t as effective offensively as it had been in wins over Minnesota and Detroit, respectively. Can RB Ryan Grant bounce back against a tough defensive front seven of the Bucs? And how will the Packers fare without starting CB Al Harris (spleen)? Even though Green Bay is 2-1, it has issues that Jon Gruden and Tampa could expose.

Other Notable Games:
Vikings (1-2) at Titans (3-0), 1:00 PM ET FOX
After notching their first win of the season last week against Carolina, are the Vikings back? Adrian Peterson didn’t run wild last week, but the Minnesota defense stepped up and created scoring opportunities. They might need to do so again this week given the Vikes’ offense could struggle against a tough Titans’ D.

49ers (2-1) at Saints (1-2), 1:00 PM ET FOX
The 49ers would go long way in proving they’re for real if they can beat a banged up Saints team in New Orleans this Sunday. With how well the rest of the division is playing so far, the Saints can’t afford to fall to far behind in the NFC South.

Falcons (2-1) at Panthers (2-1), 1:00 PM FOX
The Panthers are eager to bounce back following their loss to Minnesota last Sunday, while the Falcons want to prove that their record isn’t just a byproduct of beating two bad teams (Detroit, Kansas City). The Panthers have the better overall talent, but Atlanta (especially DE John Abraham) has had some success playing in Carolina over the years.

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