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April 11, 2014 @ 8:45 am
Current rating: 2.50 Stars/2 Votes

SR's Fab 5 - 4-11

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Should the Bucs draft a quarterback in the first round? Which QBs are the ideal fit in Tampa Bay? Do the Bucs really like Johnny Manziel? What does Lovie Smith think of Shelton Quarles? Get the answers and the inside scoop on the Bucs in this edition of SR's Fab 5.
SR's Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, Pewter Report publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place:

FAB 1. SHOULD THE BUCS DRAFT A QUARTERBACK IN THE FIRST ROUND?
You can rest assured that Tampa Bay will be selecting a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. The parade of passing prospects through One Buccaneer Place this week – Lousiville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel – pretty much signals as much.

Yet I wouldn’t necessarily select a QB with the seventh overall pick this year as the Buccaneers have a greater need at wide receiver, and I also don’t think there is a quarterback worth selecting in the top 7.

In fact, here is how I personally rate the top 10 draft prospects:

1.South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
2. Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews
3. Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
4. Buffalo OLB Khalil Mack
5. Auburn OT Greg Robinson
6. Clemson WR Sammy Watkins
7. Alabama MLB C.J. Mosley
8. Texas A&M WR Mike Evans
9. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater
10. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel


Having said that, my name isn’t Lovie Smith, nor is it Jason Licht. I’m not a head coach, nor a general manager. This is their team and their draft picks – not mine. So here is what I think the Bucs would do at the quarterback position – even if it differs from what I would do.

The fact that Tampa Bay is even considering a quarterback this year after drafting Mike Glennon in the third round in 2013 tells me that the team is not sold on him after watching film from a year ago when he threw for 19 touchdowns and only nine interceptions as a rookie without a quality array of weapons and the play of a sub-par offensive line. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the Bucs are giving up on Glennon, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he is traded during the draft if the team selects another quarterback in the early rounds.

Just watching a lot of Cal games as I have over the past few years, Glennon is not an ideal fit for Tedford’s offense. He is very intelligent, but he doesn’t have the quickest release, nor is Glennon mobile enough to truly thrive in play-action waggle plays. That’s the big news item to takeaway from the first part of this portion of SR’s Fab 5.

Drafting another signal caller may mean that the team wants to replace Glennon, or that Tampa Bay may want multiple options to choose from for a long-term solution to the quarterback position after Josh McCown is gone. The new coaching staff will get a good look at Glennon in the pre-draft mini-camp to determine exactly if he’s a good fit in Jeff Tedford’s offense or not. If not, then the Buccaneers will need to have another young arm to develop for the future.

With a new regime coming in – and by that I mean a new head coach, a new G.M., a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterbacks coach – there’s no time like the present to get a new QB into Tedford’s playbook and learning the system. Drafting a quarterback this year makes perfect sense. But it doesn’t necessarily make sense in the first round to me.

With McCown as the starter at quarterback this year, Tampa Bay’s first-round pick would essentially be drafted to sit on the bench and unable to aid the team right away. That’s not going to help this year’s version of the Buccaneers improve on last year’s 4-12 record. I don’t think that’s the plan for 2014 with the team’s heavy emphasis on winning now and building through free agency, but I could be wrong.

Also, I don’t see a quarterback worthy of being selected in the top 10 this year. There are no Andrew Lucks in this draft.

With the stated desire to truly draft the best player available with the seventh overall pick and get a player that will become a Pro Bowler, and a pressing need at wide receiver, can the Buccaneers afford to take a quarterback early in the draft? I don’t think so.

Top 10 picks in my mind are really reserved for four positions – left tackles, premier pass-rushing defensive ends, hard-to-find dominant three-technique defensive tackles and quarterbacks. That’s why I’ve got two left tackles in Matthews and Robinson in my top 5, in addition to Clowney, Donald and Mack.

If I’m calling the shots, my first-round pick for Tampa Bay would be Donald if he’s there and Clowney and Mack were off the draft board. With his elite quickness, production and ability to penetrate, Donald is a rare talent that fits the Tampa 2 defense perfectly.

And if Matthews or Robinson were still on the draft board at No. 7 I might be tempted to take either one of them over Donald as a franchise-caliber left tackle is typically only acquired with top 10 picks and they rarely hit free agency. Matthews can play left or right tackle and develop behind Anthony Collins and Demar Dotson, who is 29, and give Tampa Bay long-term security on the left side.

As former Bucs director of player personnel and Bears general manager Jerry Angelo once told me, you’ve got to make your pick count when you are drafting in the top 10, and make a high selection in the draft – and the losing season that comes with it – worth it. That means drafting positions in the top 10 that you typically can’t get later in the first round. That’s why Angelo was part of the driving force of Tampa Bay’s front office to draft left tackle Paul Gruber with the fourth overall pick in 1988 and quarterback Trent Dilfer with the sixth overall pick in 1994.

So if Smith, Licht and Tedford see a top 10 quarterback in this draft, they’ll be in position to pull the trigger on one if he’s there at No. 7. And if they see one that fits what they want to do I certainly won’t fault the Bucs for it – as long as the quarterback is the right fit for Tedford’s scheme.

FAB 2. SIZING UP THE RIGHT QUARTERBACK FIT FOR THE BUCCANEERS
This offseason I’ve spent hours watching old California games when Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford was at the helm. I’ve looked at the body types of his quarterbacks, their throwing motions, their release, their mobility and the routes they throw with the hope that I could glean some information as it pertains to the type of quarterback the Bucs will target in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Here’s what I believe Tedford wants in a quarterback. He puts an emphasis on quarterbacks with high set-ups, which mean the arm is cocked and ready to throw near the ear hole of the helmet, rather than the ball hanging down below the shoulder. That helps a quarterback deliver the ball quickly.

Tedford also likes his quarterbacks to throw quickly and accurately. In the NFL where defensive linemen run in 4.6 range these days, having his QB get the ball out of his hand as fast as possible is paramount, and that fits what Tedford likes to do with flare passes to running backs, bubble screens, middle screens, slants and curls. Tedford wants receivers that have speed and space and can get yards after the catch.

While some media pundits downgrade the likes of Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo for throwing a lot of bubble screens and passes that travel less than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, those are the types of throws that Tedford has in his offense, along with deep passes to the tight ends and slot receivers down the seam. Tedford also likes smart quarterbacks that make quick reads, go through their progressions and have experience operating out of the shotgun.

Mobility is also a must as Tedford’s play-action passing game often involves waggles where the quarterbacks will roll out and change the launch point of the throws. The ability to scramble and pick up first downs, like Tedford had with previous first-round quarterbacks Akili Smith, Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers at Cal, is also a plus.

While Tedford is in charge of running the offense, Smith is his boss and will have his own say-so in what he wants in a quarterback. Smith likes mobility and believes the NFL is moving in that direction with more athletic quarterbacks. As a defensive-minded head coach, he knows how hard quarterbacks with the ability to scramble are.

Smith also knows that turnover margin is the most important element in winning football games. He likes quarterbacks that take care of the football and the fewer interceptions the better.

As a man of faith, quarterbacks like Carr and South Carolina’s Connor Shaw have great appeal to Smith due to their similar beliefs, their maturity, high character and leadership skills. Those are the traits that current Tampa Bay starter Josh McCown possess, and to find a like-minded individual that can learn from the Bucs’ veteran would be invaluable in Smith’s mind.

Factoring in all of these characteristics, here is a list of the quarterbacks with draftable grades broken down into three categories as it pertains to their degree of fit in Tampa Bay:

Ideal Fits In Bucs’ Offense
Fresno State QB Derek Carr – 6-2, 214

Tedford has known Carr since the days of coaching his older brother, David, at Fresno State when Derek was just six. Tedford even gave Carr, who completed 68.7 percent of his 653 passes for 5,082 yards with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions, some private tutoring in late December. Carr is a man of faith, impeccable character and passion for the game, and that makes him attractive to Smith. Carr’s athleticism, arm strength, football I.Q., mobility and quick release make him attractive to Tedford. Carr may not be the best quarterback in the draft, but he’s the best fit in Tampa Bay. Don’t be surprised if the Bucs take him at No. 7 or trade down a bit to acquire more picks and select him later in the first round. He's visiting the Bucs next Wednesday according to NFL.com's Ian Rappoport.

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel – 6-0, 207
Manziel has the mobility, intelligence, football I.Q. and quick release necessary to be an ideal fit in Tedford’s offense. He also has experience throwing plenty of screen passes and flares in Texas A&M’s offense, evidenced by averaging 432 passes per season and a 69 percent completion percentage. His accuracy is underappreciated and often overlooked. Manziel’s intangibles are off the charts, as is his passion for winning, which appeal to Smith. The Bucs have shown a ton of interest in Manziel, meeting with him at the NFL Scouting Combine, attending his pro day and having him in for a pre-draft visit on Thursday. That either means they absolutely love the Kerrville, Texas native, as 98.7 The Fan's Justin Pawlowski pointed out, or they have a lot of questions that need answering about his character and his reputation for enjoying the spotlight and the party scene a little too much.

Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo – 6-2, 226
The Bucs first talked with Garoppolo at the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg in January and then again at the Senior Bowl a week later. Garoppolo, a three-year starter for the Panthers, averaged 554 attempts over his past two seasons while completing 66 percent of his passes as a senior, throwing for 53 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Garoppolo played exclusively in the shotgun, but showed he could function under center at the Senior Bowl. He has perhaps the quickest release in the draft, slightly ahead of Carr, and that has to appeal to Tedford. The Bucs had Garoppolo in for a workout on Tuesday and the team might be gauging whether he is worth trading up for into the bottom of the first round because he could likely go to Houston with the first pick of the second round, especially if the Texans select defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick.

SMU QB Garrett Gilbert – 6-3, 223
Gilbert blossomed as a senior, completing 66.5 percent of his 504 pass attempts with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He really cut down on the turnovers as a senior, which likely caught Smith’s eye. He has great mobility and is used to making a lot of quick, accurate throws out of June Jones’ spread offense at SMU. Gilbert, a former Texas transfer, has caught the attention of the Buccaneers, who have scheduled a workout with him. He’ll be drafted late, which would allow the team to use its higher-round picks on players that can make an immediate impact in 2014.

Good Fits In Bucs’ Offense
Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater – 6-2, 214

The knock on Bridgewater is his rail-thin frame and his lack of ideal arm strength, but he is accurate, evidenced by completing 71 percent of his passes as a junior and 68.5 percent as a sophomore. Bridgewater averaged 3,850 passing yards over the past two seasons, while throwing for 58 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions during the 2012-13 seasons. Bridgewater is mobile, throws well on the run and has a great football I.Q. that allows him to quickly go through his progressions. What keeps him from being in the ideal category for Tampa Bay is his lack of elite arm strength, despite possessing good intangibles.

South Carolina QB Connor Shaw – 6-0, 206
Shaw is a great leader and he’s a winner, leading South Carolina to a school-best fourth overall finish in the final AP poll last year. With great mobility, toughness and accuracy on short and intermediate throws, Shaw has the tools to be successful in Tedford’s offense. He completed 65.5 percent of his passes for the Gamecocks, but only threw 700 times as a three-year starter. But the fact that Shaw is a man of faith and only threw one interception while tossing 24 touchdowns as a senior might really appeal to Smith. The biggest question about Shaw is his football I.Q. as he was not asked to make many reads in Steve Spurrier’s offense, but his work ethic is outstanding, which could allow him to improve reading his progressions at the next level.

Georgia QB Aaron Murray – 6-1, 207
Murray is coming off a torn ACL and that has hindered his draft stock a bit. The Tampa native is a four-year starter in the SEC and has plenty of experience and leadership traits, which will excite Smith. He’s also thrown for at least 3,000 yards in all four of his seasons at Georgia with 121 touchdowns and 41 interceptions, including 62 TDs and just 19 picks over his final two seasons. Murray increased his completion percentage and averaged 64.6 percent over the last two seasons. He has a nice, compact set-up and a quick delivery that would allow him to have success in Tedford’s offense, but his lack of ideal size and arm strength is a concern, although former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy, who is Smith's friend and mentor, loves Murray and Tweeted that he thinks the Georgia product could be the next Russell Wilson.

Not-So-Good Fits In Bucs’ Offense
Central Florida QB Blake Bortles – 6-5, 232

Bortles has decent mobility and a strong arm, but he has a slower release than the Bucs would like, in addition to a bit of a wind-up delivery. Bortles can escape pressure, and the comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger are accurate. But he didn’t have to make more than one or two reads on most passing downs and that raises some questions about how quickly he’ll develop in the NFL.

LSU QB Zach Mettenberger – 6-5, 224
Mettenberger is coming off a torn ACL and doesn’t have great mobility. He’s more of a pocket passer in an offense that favors a big arm and downfield throws. Mettenberger doesn’t have a quick release that is necessary in Tampa Bay.

Pittsburgh QB Tom Savage – 6-4, 228
Savage’s stock is on the rise, and he does remind me of a poor man’s Bortles. Savage is elusive, but not an overly athletic quarterback. He has above average arm strength, but has a bit of a wind-up delivery that isn’t ideal for Tedford’s offense.

Alabama QB A.J. McCarron – 6-3, 220
McCarron is strictly a pocket passer with limited arm strength. He has good leadership qualities and knows how to win, evidenced by multiple titles at Alabama. But he is not a great athlete and was surrounded by a plethora of talent with the Crimson Tide.

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd – 6-1, 225
While Boyd was a winner at Clemson with 11,904 yards passing, 107 touchdowns and 39 interceptions, in addition to a completion percentage that averaged 67.6 percent over his final two seasons, Boyd isn’t strong enough in going through his progressions and looks to run too quickly for the Bucs’ liking. He might be viewed as nothing more than a great college quarterback.

Wyoming QB Brett Smith – 6-2, 206
Smith is an athletic, scrambling quarterback that lacks poise in the pocket and looks to run too often. Most NFL scouts wished the junior would have stayed in school to develop and learn to go through his progressions and develop more as a passer during his senior year.

San Jose State QB David Fales – 6-2, 212
Fales lacks good arm strength and relied too much on accuracy and touch passes at the college level. Passing successfully in the NFL requires quarterbacks to often throw into tight windows, and that’s a big concern regarding Fales’ game.

Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas – 6-6, 248
Thomas is more of an athlete than a quarterback at this stage of his career, and he lacks the accuracy necessary to be a fit in Tampa Bay. Thomas has been careless with the ball at times at Virginia Tech and doesn’t have the patience to go through his reads and find open receivers.

FAB 3. APRIL IS THE MONTH OF SMOKESCREENS AND LIES REGARDING THE DRAFT
It’s April and apparently the Buccaneers are in love with some of the top quarterback prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft. But the fact that the team has had Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel – two players that are likely top 10 picks – in for visits at One Buccaneer Place smells like a smokescreen to me. 

In fact, Tampa Bay’s affection for Manziel appears to be too strong. At the NFL Owners Meeting two weeks ago, head coach Lovie Smith voluntarily offered up the fact that he was heading to Texas A&M to see Manziel work out. There is also a report by 98.7 The Fan's Justin Pawlowski that reveals that Tampa Bay loves, loves, loves Manziel. The Bucs also eagerly confirmed that they had Manziel, Bridgewater and Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo in for visits this week, and they have Fresno State's Derek Carr lined up for next Wednesday.

April is the month of smokescreens, cloak and dagger deception and outright lies as NFL teams hope to talk up and down certain NFL draft prospects for their own personal gain and attempt to shield their true intentions from being known. The Bucs’ overt and public interest in Manziel appears to be too good to be true. It’s fishy, especially since the Bucs employ strength and conditioning coach Dave Kennedy, who held the same position at Texas A&M for the past couple of seasons and knows Manziel and all of the Aggies draft prospects intimately.

The Bucs could be trying to appear so interested in all of the top quarterbacks that it will force teams to trade up above the seventh pick that the team owns to select all three of them out of fear that Tampa Bay may take one. If three quarterbacks are selected in the top 5 – and Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Oakland all need QBs – that pushes a premier offensive tackle like Texas A&M's Jake Matthews or Auburn's Greg Robinson down to Tampa Bay at No. 7, or perhaps Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

Former Bucs special teams coach Joe Marciano once told me that Tampa Bay was so in love with kicker Martin Gramatica that the team never met with him outside of a 15-minute interview with the college area scout in the post-season, nor did Marciano attend Gramatica’s pro day at Kansas State. Yet the Bucs took him in the third round in 1999 and Gramatica was shocked because Tampa Bay had shown little to no interest in him prior to the draft.

The Bucs didn’t want to tip their hand to other teams that they were interested in Gramatica, and all they needed to see was him kicking on film provided by Kansas State. His background check revealed nothing out of the ordinary, so there was no need to interview the top kicking prospect of the 1999 draft.

While the selection of quarterback Josh Freeman in 2009 and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in 2010 were hardly a surprise, the Bucs have done a better job in recent years of disguising their interest in their eventual top picks. Not a lot of folks had defensive end Adrian Clayborn going to the Bucs in 2011, and strong safety Mark Barron was a surprise pick in 2012 as most figured Tampa Bay would draft LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne or Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.

The Bucs’ interest in Manziel may be real, as sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight. The team could be using a little reverse psychology on the rest of the NFL by actually showing a lot of interest in the player they are actually the most interested in. The Bucs may truly love one of the quarterbacks they are bringing in for visits, but have decided to bring nearly all of them in to mask which one, too. We’ll find out in less than a month.

Keep in mind that meeting with Manziel multiple times may constitute opportunities for the coaching staff and scouts to pick his brains on his Texas A&M teammates like offensive tackle Jake Matthews and wide receiver Mike Evans, as well as some of the top defenders he’s played against, too. That’s been a long-standing practice in Tampa Bay and elsewhere through the years as the teammates of the players’ teams love are often given more attention.

It’s this level of intrigue that makes the draft so mysterious and compelling each year, right?

FAB 4. QUARLES’ IMPACT ALREADY BEING FELT, APPRECIATED BY SMITH
Much has been made of the fact that former Buccaneers middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson is working for his former position coach, Lovie Smith, who is the team’s new head coach. But there is another former Tampa Bay linebacker that is also working for Smith in Shelton Quarles, and he’s made even more of an impact than Nickerson thus far.

Quarles, who has been the Bucs’ director of pro scouting since last summer, has worked in the front office since 2007 when he was hired by former general manager Bruce Allen to work as a pro scout under Mark Dominik, who was the team’s director of pro personnel at the time. Dominik promoted Quarles to the role of coordinator of pro scouting in 2011.

This offseason, Quarles has not only been instrumental with the acquisition of free agents, such as defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, cornerback Alterraun Verner and the team’s other 14 acquisitions, he’s also given Smith a great deal of information and intel on the current Buccaneers on the roster. Quarles suffered through Tampa Bay’s 0-8 start last year, and saw the team’s overpriced offensive line underperform. As a result, left tackle Donald Penn, right guard Davin Joseph and center Jeremy Zuttah were jettisoned, freeing up roster spots and much needed salary cap room.

“I have leaned on Shelton quite a bit, getting his expertise,” Smith said. “He’s been here a while. He knows all of the players. When you come in new, you have to trust someone and say, ‘Tell me what this guy is like.’

“As a general rule, I try to just come in and don’t want to know an awful lot. When you know someone like that, you have to rely on his knowledge. I have done that with Shelton quite a bit. He has been very helpful to me in the transition and I didn’t expect anything but else accept that. I knew what we were getting in him.”

Quarles played for Smith in Tampa Bay from 1997-2000 and has a long-standing relationship with him. But football is a business and like every other scout in the front office at One Buccaneer Place, Quarles is auditioning for the new regime and trying to keep his job.

Smith and general manager Jason Licht will ultimately be the deciding Quarles’ fate, but it’s safe to say that he’s made a great first impression on the new regime with his solid work during free agency as the Buccaneers reshape their roster.

“He’s done an excellent job,” Smith said. “That’s the reason why he’s moved up to the position he’s in. We’re all evaluated every day. He’s no different from that. Normally you evaluate a player like that, now a pro director like that, you get a certain level.”

Quarles has spent nearly 20 years within the Buccaneers organization and aside from his well-trained eye for scouting NFL players, what will keep him around for many more years alongside Smith is the trust between the two men.

“There’s definitely an extra level of trust or trust in general, knowing what kind of man he is,” Smith said. “I haven’t worked with Shelton in this type of role, but I’ve seen the same type of production, work ethic that he displayed as a player. So it has been real good to work with a guy like that.”

FAB 5. Here are a few things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5:

• Coming from a military family you would expect Bucs wide receiver and team captain Vincent Jackson to be a good soldier. But it only took the first day of the team’s offseason workouts to get on board with new head coach Lovie Smith.

“He’s everything I thought he would be and more,” Jackson said. “I was able to come in about two weeks after the announcement to meet him and some of the staff members. He’s a smart man – very thought out and well-planned. He does everything with a purpose. Every minute in this building is going to be useful for us and make us better as men, as well as football players. I haven’t met him before this transition, but I’ve heard nothing but great things and I can see why.”

The no-nonsense Jackson liked playing for former head coach Greg Schiano, too, and sees some similarities between him and Smith, especially with their same desire to have a locker room full of Buccaneer Men that will do a great job on the field and in the community.


“We enjoyed Greg’s discipline and the stuff he brought here,” Jackson said. “[Smith’s] mentality is just as positive. It’s about treating guys like men and representing the Buccaneers and the organization and this city in the right light. We definitely want to do that on the field as well. We love [Smith’s] message, and we love the tone that he’s bringing to this organization.”

• It was truly an honor to be one of the very select media members to attend former Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber’s retirement party at Raymond James Stadium last Saturday night. This is my 19th season covering the Buccaneers and I thoroughly enjoyed covered covering Barber, who is an avid reader of PewterReport.com, for his 16 years in Tampa Bay. I have to admit that he's my all-time favorite Buccaneer to interview and one of the classiest players I've ever met.

It was great to see a lot of familiar faces from the glory days of the Buccaneers, in addition to current head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht and Bryan, Joel and Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, who represented Bucs ownership. Former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy was in attendance, as was former general managers Rich McKay and Mark Dominik. Former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, defensive backs coach and current Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin, and former special teams coach Rich Bisaccia were also there to support Barber, as well as former Tampa Bay head coach and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris.

The former Buccaneers that were in attendance included Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp, Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, former linebacker and current LBs coach Hardy Nickerson, running back Warrick Dunn, safety John Lynch, kicker Martin Gramatica, cornerbacks Donnie Abraham, Aqib Talib and E.J. Biggers, wide receiver Michael Clayton, defensive tackle Chris Hovan, linebacker Barrett Ruud and tight end Todd Yoder. Interestingly, the only two players on the current Bucs roster that was in attendance at Barber’s retirement party were safety Keith Tandy and cornerback Leonard Johnson.

The highlight of the 1920’s-themed party, in which those in attendance wore gangster suits and flapper dresses, was Barber, Morris and a few professional dancers dancing in sync to Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal video, as well as the Thriller video. Barber and Morris spent two weeks rehearsing their dance moves and pulled it off flawlessly. The crowd went wild, just as if Barber was returning his most famous interception 92 yards to beat Philadelphia in the 2002 NFC Championship.


• Here’s an interesting read from 2005 on former California head coach and current Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford by ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli, who was suggesting that Aaron Rodgers may be Tedford’s latest QB flop in the NFL. It’s interesting that former Bucs general manager Rich McKay tried to hire Tedford twice when Tony Dungy was the team’s head coach. The article also has some insight into what type of quarterback Tedford likes and what type of offense he’ll run.

From my own film study of Cal football, I can report that Tedford runs a no-huddle, but it’s not necessarily done in a hurry-up fashion like the one Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly runs. The offense I saw on film is “check with me” offense in which the players look to the sidelines for the play call. We’ll see if that way of play-calling remains intact in Tampa Bay or if Tedford will have the offense huddle.

Tedford’s offense is quite varied with a lot of single back formation, a lot of offset I-formation with double tight ends, and a lot of four- and five-receiver sets. The diverse attack provides a great deal of balance between running and passing, and allows for play-action passes from both under center and out of the shotgun.

From what I saw on tape, it is more of a methodical, move-the-chains type of offense with a lot of short passes and runs mixed in with a few shots down the field, but it’s not really a West Coast Offense at all. By throwing a lot of short, high completion percentage passes, Tedford can control the clock and the tempo with the passing game as well as the running game. When big plays are made in the passing game, they are typically down the seam with slot receivers and tight ends, as well as wide receivers on middle screens. It should be a fun and exciting brand of offense for Tampa Bay fans to enjoy.

• Keel and Curley Winery’s 7th Annual Blueberry Festival is quickly approaching. If you are looking for something to do in late April now that the NFL Draft has been pushed back to May 8-10, come out to the Keel and Curley Winery and Two Henrys Brewing Company in Plant City, Fla. from April 25-27 for the Blueberry Festival.

Admission is free and it’s a family-friendly event. The event, which features plenty of award-winning wine and beer, as well as live entertainment, games for the kids, and dozens of food and craft vendors, starts on Friday, April 25 and runs through Sunday. The new craft beer by Two Henrys Brewing Company is outstanding, by the way. Of course, the highlight is the you-pick blueberries, which allows you and your family to traverse the winery and pick as many fresh blueberries as you want.

My family went last year and we had an absolute blast. I also saw about a dozen PewterReport.com and Bucs fans at the Keel and Curley Winery, which is great. We’ll likely be going on Saturday, April 26, this year, so I hope to see you out there. Click here for more information.

• And finally, if you haven’t connected with PewterReport.com on social media yet, do so right now. We're up to 14,200 Twitter followers – so thank you, Bucs fans! Here’s how you can follow, friend and like us on different social media platforms:

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Last modified on Monday, 14 April 2014 18:11
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    All I seem to read ever since we signed Josh McCown is that he is our savior. I for one don't believe it...A career journeyman with OK but not elite skills. What he did last year in Chicago has to be taken with a BIG grain of salt. He was throwing to arguably the best WR duo in the NFL. Both Marshall and Jeffery would make any QB look better. No matter what we keep hearing that is coming out of 1Bucplace I think that Glennon erases those fallacies with his off season work. IMHO drafting Donald at 7 is a luxury that we can't afford. If all we would be doing is drafting him as insurance because we don't want to let McCoy break the bank is a stupid reason. Would make me think that McCoy isn't as great as we know he is. I know some of us here think we can get a WR after the 1st and is the way to go, but drafting Evans at 7 would put McCown in a position to succeed. Because without two big outstanding WR's I see McCown being what he has always been...A journeyman...And lastly...Lovie? Please don't draft a QB at 7.
  • avatar


    You build from the lines and then go back. Franchise LT's only happen in the top 10 picks, they are not available as FA's and we have a top ten pick this year, but likely not next year. The Oline is not set. We need another option at LT. All of this adds up to the conclusion that we will pick an LT at #7, unless they are gone already. I would like a sexier pick, but that is the smart thing to do.
  • avatar

    Are you surprised that Gruden wasn't at the Barber party?
  • avatar

    I don't understand the thought process some people have about drafting a QB in the mid rounds just because we have McCown for a couple years ... If all goes well we won't have anything higher than a mid to late first round pick in the next few years... If were gonna get out QB of the future it needs to be now... And even if we do use our #7 to get him there is no reason to have to start him right simply because he is a high draft pick... If we don't use our #7 to get a receiver then we need to use it on a position that you can usually only get a franchise player in the top 10 like a QB, LT, or even DT... If we did get Donald it would not only be for insurance in case McCoy wants to break the bank or get hurt... It would give us the greatest DT team in the league and push everything out to our DE's which would make them better... A franchise LT can usually only be had in the Top 10 and maybe some day we will finally do that instead of just trying to find someone to do there best to play probably the second most important positions on the offense... And again... Just because we have McCown doesn't mean we don't need to take a QB in the first or second round... If the right guy is there at #7 we should take him and let him sit behind McCown for a year or 2 until he is ready... But if the top guys are over rated and don't fit our scheme and we can trade down or trade back up into the first round or sit where we are in the 2nd to get the right QB for us then that is the latest that we should do it because whoever he is he will be the future of this team and having McCown for the next couple years doesn't change that... The obvious Hope is that every player you get in the draft can start or contribut but the first 3 picks we make need to be starters for us this year unless whatever QB we pick needs to sit at first to develop which we will have the ability to let him do thankfully... It would actually be really great if the right QB for us will be there in the 2nd and allow us to go BPAIPON in the first... I do feel that unless there is an absolute glaring need that at least the 1st round pick should be BPA but even so I am more of the mindset that it should be BPA in Position of Need the majority of the time... If we have 3 Starting Caliber Safeties like we do now and the BPA available is a Safety I don't not think we should get him... But like in our case we could use a QB, WR, LT, LB and CB... and we should try to go BPA within one of those positions... The main exception to that would be if there is a once in a lifetime player in any position that just couldn't be passed up on...
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    1st) Mack is overhyped and has potential as a 3-4 LB but he doesn´t fit our sheme and Anthony Barr (who fits sheme) is all in all a way better player.. take it as a fact; 2nd) Drafting Manziel is BS as there are sure picks and he is too much of an gamble = great college QB, but his game likely won´t translate (Tebow; he just lacks the NFL-QB-Fundamentals); 3rd) The rest of the top 10 list is debatable but OKAY and if the Bucs, with the 7th, choose to go QB, it better be Teddy B who is outstanding in all the throws/ball placement - only deep ones lack accuracy, he is very smart and a calm respected good leader - just as his HC would be; + it´s the most crucial position in Football and it´s hard to find the right one, if he is there at the 7th - GREAT!! + LovieSmith´s winning strategy would be perfect fit with Bridgewater, who is an outstanding gamemanger - no flashy big throws for 70 yards down field - he will beat you with continuity and great ball distribution - sounds good for an Tedford O - as much of we know right now of course..
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    There are many ways we could go with our #7 pick and although I wasn't too big on goin WR with it, the more I thought about it I realized how important it is to find a great #2 WR. With the solid RBs that we discovered we had last year, if we could have 2 great receiving options then there would be no stoping our offense... If both our running and receiving game were solid then that is the best recipe for a great offense because opponents would have a Hell of a time covering both and it would allow our QB to be more successful since opponents couldn't just stop the run and make us beat them in the air... A solid 2 tier attack would keep defenses on their heels which would open up the field for us... We have to at some point or in some way get a solid #2 WR and it will lead to everyone on offense being better... That is a must...
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    @IloveMeSomeFire: agree with you; adding: solid No2 WR could be had in the 2nd round and if we are somehow able to get another 2nd rounder (trading Glennon comes to mind) we could nab a player with all the perfect skills you look for as an Slot-WR in DeAnthony Thomas + he is just one hell of an weapon: has great hands, takes handoffs for big gains, has the Football IQ (finding soft spots and setting up defenders etc), great break away speed + serious Returner.. just perfect 2nd round talent (although got an NEED for 2nd WR spot; but you should ALWAYS draft TALENT OVER NEED; so if you aren´t in position to get another 2nd rounder to make sure to land that kind of player, you better take him right away). Thats why even if there are good QB options in later rounds: if Teddy is there at the 7th, you HAVE TO TAKE HIM, because then you just got yourself the QB to build arround for quite some time (barring freak injuries; and f´n forgett about his size; he already took some beating in college and didn´t miss, if any, games.. sure the punishment will increase, but i am sure he can add a little bulk too and simply avoid big hits by game-design by the offesnsive coordinator, quick throws + Teddy is smart and no big kid like RGIII)...
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    but many good scenarios for bucs indeed: getting Evans or Watikins, or Ebron or Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson, or Donald first would be huge - then a great playmaker like DeAnthony Thomas (last year i pleaded for Tyrann Mathieu all the way and i still think it would have been a great pick with our 2nd..) this year it´s Thomas - huge boost to an offense which is lacking exactly what he offerst (NEED) + he simply is an outstanding talent with skills you can´t coach players up (so maybe an BPA type of thing; combining this with the NEED thing = OUTSTANDING VALUE.. evaluating a draft board isn´t that hard like people tend to think.. people believing they can´t evaluate like all the "professionals" are stupid like the "chirping" statements of an Sherridan (just because he is in position to do that job, doesn´t mean he is better at it than any of us..) how much BS are "experts" writing and saying the whole f´n time????? Go Lovie Go Licht GoBucs!!
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    No, none of the QB's this year are worth a first round pick. Garropolo in the second, yes.
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    Scott, Thank you for another wonderful Fab-5. Informative and a joy to read!
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    I'm not trading ANY future draft picks, only trading up or down as necessary this year. I noticed that John Gruden thinks Aaron Murray could be the best of this class at QB down the road. THERE'S something both he AND Tony Dungy are on board with.....hmmmm. About Bridgewater...... You mentioned his frame and arm strength as well as being very accurate in college. He reminded me of someone and now I remember. Josh Johnson! Coming out at about the same size and frame, extremely accurate and, as a Stanford man, intelligent. How di THAT work out? Anyone else see where I'm coming from or think I'm way off base? Scott, seriously, BANG up job as always and I could not be more pleased with the coverage Pewter Report continues to give Buccaneer fanatics like myself all year. Thanks and a hat tip!
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    IMHO the one person that the Buc's seem to NOT be talking about is Donald. I believe the Buc's will take Donald at seven as Insurance for McCoy and still improve our D and make our pass rush outstanding. If we take Donald our D will basically be complete and next year we can totally focus on the offense. Looking forward to a great draft and maybe an 8-8 season.
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    First time G.M. Dominick took the wrong Q.B. in the first round, and now works for ESPN. Licht was in N.E. when the Pats took Brady in the 6th round which has been hailed as genius. Licht hinted as much talking Q.B.'s in this years draft which direction he might go. Here's the thing. I see McCown easily playing four more years at a high level, so I don't think the Bucs feel the need for a 1st rounder at Q.B.. I had to laugh when Scott pointed out Dotson is 29 years old! He can easily play tackle well into his 30's. Point is, four years in the NFL is an eternity, most coaches don't last that long. Look for the Bucs to draft players that will help them win NOW!
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    I too like DT Aaron Donald, but think he can be had a little further down in Round 1. Like Scott, as much as I enjoy watching Johnny Manziel, I just don't feel comfortable with any of these QB's with that # 7 pick. You draft a QB there you can't sit him on the bench for a year watching a journeyman and expect fans to sit idle if the team loses. Drafting one in the middle of Round 1 or later might make more sense if planning to let McCown hold the reigns for this season. Drafting a starting OT may well be the smartest thing to do, but, as it was with the drafting of Paul Gruber instead of WR Sterling Sharpe in 1988, it would be met with "Ho Hum" from the fans. Too high for a guard or center. Wide receivers are plentiful this year. Don't need a running back. Cornerback is a possibility; but not that high. Got enough safeties. The linebackers are built for 3-4 defenses. With all of that in mind, I've come to the conclusion that the mighty Bucs will trade down (happy Horse?) for more opportunities in this deep Draft. Glennon is an asset that may well become expendable if a QB is taken in rounds 1 thru 3. I suspect he could garner at least that missing 4th rounder. I predict we go in with 6 picks and end up with at least 8. Fun ain't it?
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    Scubog, As much as I would like to trade down, I don't see any takers because a couple teams who might grab a QB now realize most of them will be there in the middle area of Round 1. Minnesota, Clevland's 2nd 1st round pick, will have QB's to choose from. I think the most we could get is a 3rd round and then drafting at 20th-25th spot in first round is not good enough. I am more incline to stay at spot 7 and take BAP at OL, DL, WR; whichever is a true starter from the get go. Now the 2nd round pick might be worth it to trade down to the 20 spot and pick up another 3rd round pick. I feel like the 2nd and 3rd picks will not have to be a starter, but a contributor as they learn and improve on their trade for 2015. I believe that L & L have done a good job in finding the right players for their schemes. I have pulled way back on what I except as a decent season as it is a complete retool for me.
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    Scott, I loved your evaluation of all the QBs and congrats on attending the Buc party of all time for Rhonde Barber and giving us all those in attendance. Keep mentioning the Faith factor which is important given that Lovie is a man of Faith. I realize none of the QBs are can't miss QBs this year but that is irrelevant since such a QB just comes once in a decade and if one come along we will not pick that high! Peyton Manning wasn't can't miss when he was picked in the first round either so I guess you would have urged a DT instead by your logic. The majority of the top QBs in the NFL today were first round picks so my logic says that is where we have the best chance to get a Franchise QB to win a SB, and now is the best time to get one while we have Tedford to develop them like he did Rogers, another first round pick!
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    All I know is that, despite my misgivings going into the Lovie era, I am a really happy Bucs fan for the first time since Gruden was unceremoniously discarded… I like our roster and, despite the win now mantra, have realistic expectations about this coming season. For that reason I would start Glennon this year to see what he really has. People seem awfully dismissive of his performance and seem to forget what a disaster he stepped into, as a rookie without taking starting reps in training camp or practices… as to the picks, I like the 'safe' idea of picking a LT, you get a 8-10 year guy there and we've whiffed on so many 1st rounders in the past we can't afford yet another… don't mind a QB but can't be in rounds 1-2 given all of our other needs… despite all the smoke coming out of 1 Buc, how can we not take a WR high given our roster?…and, the only rationale I can see for drafting Donald is an economic one, meaning you get him at a reasonable price vs the budget busting contract GMC will require to resign. Viewed pragmatically, that strategy actually makes sense if you are thinking about the team overall and its many needs vs the one player.
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    Excellent analysis Scott. Pinkstob, I like Robinson out of Penn State as well. Glennon could well fetch a 3rd rounder from a team with the right systam as tall, immobile, but accurate qb's like Tom Brady and Payton Manning still have some value in today's game.
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    Scott I said it once and I'll say it again. If Logan Thomas would get over the idea of playing QB, he has the potential to be an All Pro TE. The guy is a violent runner and he has excellent hands. He has already played some receiver at VaTech. All Pro TE's make good money. Thomas could help any team as a rookie at TE. He is a major project at QB and may be never more than a journeyman. Why would he want to sit for years at a lower salary when he could be contributing to a team and earning more money too? There is no "I" in team !!!
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    Good read Scott. Good to know Manziel is an ideal for in Tedford's offense.
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    I agree regarding Donald. Great pick at 7, but how do you utilize him with McDonald and Mc Coy? Rotational? Do you think Carr would slip to the second round or should the Bucs use 38 and a future 2 (2015) to trade up? Plenty of WR 's in mid rounds especially if you could get a 3 or 4 for Glennon.
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    It would depend on whether the other team is really power running game built(like what the Falcons are doing). If so, I can see playing Akeem Spence a little more. But otherwise, I don't see why we can't start Donald right next to McCoy. I don't know if anyone has put together such a passrushing Dt duo in NFL history!
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    No trading future picks. We've been down that road before. It sucks.
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    I don't understand all the hype around Donald. He may be a great player but we already have the best DT in the league. This team has too many holes to take a luxury first round back-up. We didn't have a first rounder last year and now you are talking about taking a player who won't even start. It makes much more sense to reach on a player who will actually makes an impact like a WR, Guard, or even MLB. Not to mention that DT doesn't even seem like a real important position. Who were the best DT's last year? McCoy, Suh and the Titan's guy (Atkins and Melton were injured). All of those teams missed the playoffs. Plus we has serviceable NT in Spence and McDonald (who we just signed to a multi-year deal.
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    The point is to make an inside passrush that impossible to stop; who are you going to double team? The other point is to be able to get Cam Newton . . . McDonald can back up, and Spence could get traded(just like Glennon could get traded).
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    I don't like Bridewater anymore. I used to like him; but, as people were saying his leadership and personality, I started checking him out, and found that he's a bit immature. Likewise for Johnny Manziel.
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yCqq2otqdo This video makes Murray look like a superstar; but, there's another youtube that shows he can be a bit wild with the ball. The question is "does he improve?" I guess that's the Bucs top brass to decide. I'd put Connor Shaw ahead of Murray; but, then again, I'm not studying these guys in that much depth. Draft them both! See what happens!
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    Or there's Garret Gilbert, who's 6'3, 220.
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    I don't like Bridewater anymore. I used to like him; but, as people were saying his leadership and personality, I started checking him out, and found that he's a bit immature.
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    As for Derek Carr, well, Aaron Donald is best available at that point . . .
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    The NFL is evolving and particularly at the QB position. Nobody is going to give us a 3rd round pick for an immobile QB. I think Glennon could be a back-up. Don't knock tall and accurate, useful skills in certain offensive sets. Trading Glennon will depend on how many QBs will be on the active roster. Lovie said they would take 4 QBs to camp, but didn't say how many he would keep!
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    I am surrendering to Scott about Glennon. I to hope we get a 3rd round pick for him because I think he is worth it and will be playing in the NFL for quite awhile.
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    Hope we don't take Manziel, if we have to take a QB I would take him in round two or later. Would love to take Donald at seven and have a great pass rush every down.
  • avatar

    So are we going to hear "faith" mentioned in every Fab 5 now? I can't remember the last time a Fab 5 didn't mention it. Cut it out.
  • avatar


    I agree that I would use the #7 overall pick on A. Donald. Great 3-techniques only come around every 3 or 4 years but I think there are about 10 great WR's that will either be #1 or #2 WR's. Why take Evans in the 1st round when D. Adams, Carr's favorite target at Fresno State will be there in the 2nd round? He had like 1400 yards and 24 TD's last season. Jordan Matthews could also be there in the 2nd round. I like the Best Fit QB breakdown in Fab 2. That's good info. I disagree with your top 10 prospects (Matthews is overrated as a pass blocker and a marginal run blocker and Mosley may fall out of the 1st round), but everyone's list will be different. I would definitely put D. Dennard somewhere in my top 10.
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    Yes, if the Bucs do, in fact, draft a QB in rounds 1-4, I expect them to do their best to deal Glennon for more picks. This would seem to be logical and would fit with what the new regime has done at other positions (replace position and get rid of the incumbent). I guess it just depends on whether they think Glennon is the QB of the future or not, although signs are pointing to him not being the one. Can't wait to find out!
  • avatar


    Scott, good Fab 5.
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