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. GLENNON IS NOT THE QUARTERBACK OF THE FUTURE
The fact that head coach Lovie Smith abruptly switched quarterbacks from Mike Glennon to Josh McCown speaks volumes about the direction of the organization. So exactly where are the Buccaneers heading?
The old adage is that when you have play two quarterbacks that means you don’t have one. NFL teams don’t just want one quarterback these days. They need one.
Teams need a great one in order to win championships.
Since 1976, the Buccaneers have never had a great quarterback, and that’s why this team has only appeared in one Super Bowl in nearly four decades of existence. Neither McCown, the team’s 35-year old team captain, nor Glennon, the second-year signal caller that seems suited to be an NFL backup, are great quarterbacks.
One could argue that neither one is even a good quarterback – or at least good enough for Tampa Bay to have more than just one victory this year.
Just two weeks ago, Smith was praising Glennon, saying that the QB position was the least of Tampa Bay’s concerns. On Tuesday, Glennon confirmed what everyone suspected, which was that Smith was going to go back to McCown, who had missed the past five weeks with a thumb injury he suffered at Atlanta in Week 3.
Apparently the Bucs only needed five and a half games to complete their evaluation of Glennon to determine if he is the quarterback of the future. The conclusion is that he’s not otherwise he wouldn’t have been benched.
McCown, who signed a two-year, $10-million deal in the offseason and has thrown for two touchdowns and tossed four interceptions, is not the long-term solution, either.
Smith and Licht made two mistakes during the offseason. The first of which was listening to McCown rave about Glennon and suggest that the Bucs didn’t need to draft a quarterback and that Glennon could be a future NFL starter. That was a huge mistake as there was a bumper crop of passers available to Tampa Bay in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, including Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo – all of whom the Bucs scouted hard, in addition to Blake Bortles, who was drafted third overall by Jacksonville.
PewterReport.com was pushing the Bucs to draft Carr, who has had the best rookie season thus far. The Bucs should have traded up into the late first-round or early second to draft Carr, who has completed 60.7 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions in eight games for Oakland.
Instead, the Bucs listened to McCown and didn’t spend a single pick on a quarterback despite drafting all offensive players last May.
The second mistake the Bucs made was not opening up the quarterback competition to both McCown and Glennon. Smith sought to avoid a divided locker room and wanted the team to rally behind one guy and tabbed McCown to be the starting QB shortly after he signed in March.
While that idea had some merit from a chemistry standpoint, it certainly didn’t aid Glennon’s development. For the second straight offseason, Glennon was stuck taking backup reps in his second system with a second offensive coordinator and a second quarterbacks coach.
While he’s incredibly smart, there is no substitution for taking reps. One has to think that Glennon would have been better prepared to engineer the team to wins during his five starts with more reps with the starting receivers in training camp and the preseason games. Maybe he would have beaten out McCown in an open competition in the preseason. Who knows?
What we do know is that Glennon probably isn’t Tampa Bay’s quarterback of the future. If he were, the Bucs wouldn’t have any reason to pull him, despite what Smith said about Glennon this week.
“It doesn’t say anything except for right now Josh is our quarterback,” Smith said. “I said Mike is the quarterback of the future. As we move Mike into that role, I’d say the future came a little bit quicker than I thought. But now our starter is back. That’s all you should look into is that.”
“Nothing has changed. Mike has gone back in the same position he was when we started.”
It looked like Glennon would get the rest of the season to develop. Instead, I wouldn’t be surprised if Glennon will be shipped out for a mid- or a late-round pick on a draft day trade next year. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but it could.
FAB 2. IT’S TIME FOR TAMPA BAY TO DRAFT A FRANCHISE QB
With the Bucs’ minds possibly made up on Mike Glennon, and understanding that he’s a backup quarterback in the NFL and not a starter, it’s time for the franchise to draft yet another franchise quarterback – likely in the first round. History suggests that most great quarterbacks are drafted in the first round.
The next Tampa Bay QB that gets drafted next spring will join the ranks of Doug Williams (1978), Vinny Testaverde (1987), Trent Dilfer (1994) and Josh Freeman (2009) and get the distinction of being the savior’s next supposed saviors in the first round. But drafting a quarterback in the first round does come with some peril.
Because the Buccaneers made the mistake of not drafting a signal caller this past spring they will be forced to select one in 2015, especially coming off a season in which the team looks like it will have the dubious honor of having a top-5 draft pick. With a few exceptions – Carolina’s Cam Newton and Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck – history suggests that teams that are essentially forced to draft quarterbacks in the first round often miss out on great players and end up regretting the move.
Such was the case with Oakland, which owned the first overall pick in 2007. The Raiders drafted quarterback JaMarcus Russell and passed on drafting wide receiver Calvin Johnson, left tackle Joe Thomas, running back Adrian Peterson – all considered sure-fire NFL stars – in addition to linebacker Patrick Willis and cornerback Darrelle Revis. Those five players were top 15 draft picks and Pro Bowlers. Russell was a bust.
In 2010, the Rams took Sam Bradford with the first overall pick, only to see the next six players drafted – defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, left tackle Trent Williams, safety Eric Berry, left tackle Russell Okung and cornerback Joe Haden – all make Pro Bowls, which is something the oft-injured Bradford has yet to accomplish.
The 2011 draft is littered with quarterbacks that didn’t pan out surrounded by Pro Bowlers. Carolina was wise to draft Newton with the first overall pick, as he has been a perennial Pro Bowler. Eight of the next 10 players drafted – linebacker Von Miller, defensive end Marcell Dareus, receiver A.J. Green, cornerback Patrick Peterson, receiver Julio Jones, linebacker Aldon Smith, left tackle Tyron Smith and defensive end J.J. Watt – also made the Pro Bowl.
The two players drafted in the top 10 that haven’t made Pro Bowls? Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker and quarterback Blaine Gabbert, a bust that has already been jettisoned from Jacksonville. Don’t you think the Titans or Jaguars would rather have Watt on their team instead of facing him twice per year?
Or perhaps the Vikings would be better off with Pro Bowl pass rushers Robert Quinn or Ryan Kerrigan, who were drafted 14th and 16th, respectively, instead of reaching and drafting quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick in 2011.
Then you have the 2009 draft that featured three quarterbacks in the top 17 picks – Matthew Stafford, March Sanchez and Freeman. Stafford, the first overall pick that year, is the only one still on the same team, but he has yet to make a Pro Bowl and only delivered the Lions to the playoffs just once (2011). Sanchez is a backup quarterback on his second team, and Freeman, who flamed out of Tampa Bay after five years, is out of the league.
While a pair of juniors, Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, seem poised to be top 5 picks and the answer at the quarterback position, each comes with question marks and isn’t the sure-fire NFL star that safer players like Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, Georgia running back Todd Gurley seem to be.
As a redshirt freshman last year, Winston electrified college football by winning the Heisman Trophy and the BCS Championship Game by leading Florida State to an undefeated season, completing 66.9 percent of his passes for 4,057 yards with 40 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.
Winston hasn’t lost a game yet in his college career, and brought the Seminoles back against Oklahoma State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame and Louisville while completing 67.2 percent of his throws for 2,279 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine picks. Despite an NFL-ready 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame and the “it” factor on the field, Winston’s off-field antics scare NFL scouts and general managers to death. Some teams are more afraid of Winston than they were with Texas A&M’s brash quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Following the hype of Winston’s Heisman Trophy, Winston showed some terrible judgment by getting caught stealing crab legs from a Publix supermarket, and standing on top of a table at the student union at Florida State and swearing vulgar profanities from an viral internet meme. That led to a one-game suspension against the Clemson game, a contest Florida State nearly lost in overtime.
Against head coach Jimbo Fisher’s wishes, Winston actually dressed for the Clemson game and went through pre-game warm-ups and had to be chastised by Florida State’s head coach and told to take his uniform off. No one has explained how there are over 2,000 autographed items that bear Winston’s signature on the James Spence Authentication website, but there has also been no evidence to suggest that Winston was paid for his autographs, which would be an NCAA violation.
But the most troubling issue for the Buccaneers and other NFL teams is the fact that Winston was accused of sexual assault for an incident that happened in 2012 at Winston’s off-campus apartment (although the state didn’t find enough evidence to press charges). A student conduct code hearing has been scheduled for the week of November 17.
The Buccaneers drafted an immature quarterback in Freeman a few years ago and the Glazers saw him take $35 million of their money and let personal, off-field problems derail his NFL career. I’m not sure the Glazers want to risk the investment in such a volatile wild card like Winston despite his physical tools and talent. That’s what I’m hearing.
Mariota is the exact opposite. He’s a choirboy, and some NFL scouts even say he’s too much of a goody two-shoes and lacks the fire and vigor to lead NFL players into battle. Freeman was often criticized as being too laid back in Tampa Bay, and Mariota’s demeanor may turn off the Buccaneers and the Glazers if they see some similarities.
On the field, Mariota is a winner, leading Oregon to a 31-4 record, while completing over 67 percent of his passes for 8,893 yards with 89 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. The 6-foot-4, 219-pound Mariota has good size, great speed and athleticism and good, but is he a product of Oregon’s spread offense, which is only run by Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly, who coached Mariota in college?
Several NFL teams, including the Buccaneers, have some concerns that he is a product of the system and that his lack of arm strength and the fact that he has only operated from the shotgun will prevent him from being a franchise-type quarterback. Tampa Bay may be better off trading their first-round pick to Kelly and stockpiling draft picks if Mariota is still on the clock.
It’s too bad that there isn’t a Newton or an Andrew Luck-type quarterback in this year’s draft. There are no sure-fire, can’t-miss quarterbacks in 2015 for Tampa Bay, and this year’s QB crop isn’t as good as last year’s.
FAB 3. MORE QB OPTIONS IN 2015 OTHER THAN WINSTON AND MARIOTA
While Florida State’s redshirt sophomore, Jameis Winston, and Oregon’s junior, Marcus Mariota, will headline the 2015 NFL Draft should they forego their remaining eligibility, they aren’t the only quarterbacks that could be available. And no, I’m not talking about UCLA’s Brett Hundley, who hasn’t developed much at all as a passer during his junior season.
Michigan State’s Connor Cook and USC’s Cody Kessler are two other juniors to keep an eye on. Neither has the personality concern that Mariota has, nor does either have any character issues like Winston has. Both are productive, pro style passers with better escapability than Mike Glennon.
Cook is a first-round candidate, and could be a top 10 pick if he decides to come out as he is just as well thought of as Mariota and Winston in the NFL scouting community. Cook, who has a strong arm, but needs to work on his footwork, has publicly stated that he wants to stay in school for his senior season. But feedback from NFL scouts about being a possible top 10 pick could lure him away from Lansing, Mich.
The 6-foot-4, 214-pound Cook started during his sophomore season and completed 223-of-380 passes (58.7 percent) for 2,755 yards with 22 touchdowns and just six interceptions in leading Michigan State to a Rose Bowl victory over Stanford and a great Cardinal defense. After Cook completed 60 percent of his passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns and one interception to lead the Spartans over Ohio State for a 34-24 Big 10 championship, he beat Stanford, 24-20, by completing 61.1 percent of his throws for 332 yards with two scores and one interception.
Cook’s Spartans were 13-1 last year with their only loss coming at Notre Dame, 17-13. This year, the Spartans are once again contending for the national championship, and are 8-1 with their only loss coming at Oregon, 46-27. Despite the loss to the Ducks, NFL scouts loved how Cook competed with Mariota head-to-head by completing 61.7 percent of his throws for 343 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Cook’s 29 completions and 343 yards passing were career highs.
Kessler isn’t a guy that has much fanfare right now, but he led USC to a 10-3 mark last year and a 45-20 victory over Derek Carr’s Fresno State team in the Las Vegas Bowl last year by completing 73.3 percent of his passes for 345 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. That capped off a sophomore season for the 6-foot-1, 210-pound passer in which he completed 65.4 percent of his throws for 2,968 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Kessler has the Trojans off to a 6-3 start this season with three losses by a combined 13 points to Boston College, Arizona State and Utah. He started the season by completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 394 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 52-13 win against Fresno State. After throwing for a career-best seven touchdowns while completing 73.1 percent of his passes for 319 yards in a 56-28 win over Colorado, Kessler threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns last week in a 44-17 win over Washington State in which he completed 65.6 percent of his throws.
While Carson Palmer went on to star in the NFL, the Trojans brand at quarterback has turned off NFL scouts in recent years after Matt Lineart and Mark Sanchez became first-round busts, and Matt Barkley has done little to impress as a fourth-round pick last year, Kessler could break that dubious trend. He could be a late first-round or early second-round pick if he leaves USC after a 2014 season in which he has completed 69.7 percent of his passes for 2,548 yards with 25 touchdowns and just two interceptions with four games remaining.
Like the 2004 NFL Draft in which Eli Manning and Philip Rivers were the headliners, Ben Roethlisberger, the third quarterback taken in the first round that year, proved to be just as good as the other two despite being unheralded. That could be Cook or Kessler if either one – or both – leaves early for the NFL.
There will be other quarterbacks available to draft in 2015 including, Baylor’s Bryce Petty, East Carolina’s Shane Carden, Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion and Kansas State’s Jake Waters, in addition to possible junior entries like Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, who is a slightly better version of Tim Tebow. But none of these quarterbacks excite NFL scouts the way Winston, Mariota do – or Cook and Kessler do for that matter.
FAB 4. BUCS EXTREMELY HIGH ON ROOKIE OT PAMPHILE
While the 2014 free agent class for Tampa Bay has fizzled, the 2014 draft class that general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith have put together has started to sizzle. Wide receiver Mike Evans is becoming a star and is coming off his best game as a pro, catching seven passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns – all career highs – last week against Cleveland.
Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the team’s second-round pick, has a load of potential, as does third-round running back Charles Sims, who is expected to make his NFL debut this Sunday against Atlanta. But the Bucs may have found another real gem in fifth-round offensive tackle Kevin Pamphile, who saw his first NFL action last Sunday at Cleveland. Pamphile played three offensive series subbing for Oniel Cousins at left tackle and played well.
“Kevin is an athletic guy that is trying to learn the game,” Bucs left guard Logan Mankins said. “Kevin got a chance to play a little bit for us this past weekend and he did what he was supposed to do. The wheels didn’t fall off, and that’s very promising.”
The Bucs front office is very high on Pamphile’s ability to develop into a starter, which is something that his teammates see as well.
“Kevin is really coming along and he’s got a lot of potential,” Tampa Bay right tackle Demar Dotson said. “He has to keep working, but he’s got the potential. The sky is the limit for him and he’s come a long way since he got here. I tell him all the time to take advantage of those scout team reps because that is what is going to make him a better football player. I hope he reaches his full potential.”
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Pamphile goes against Tampa Bay’s starting defensive ends Michael Johnson and Will Gholston every day in practice and the veterans are noticing his improvement since training camp.
“He’s getting better just like everybody,” Johnson said. “He’s being more patient in his pass sets. A lot of young guys are so over-aggressive. He’s done a good job of getting better and being more patient. He’s got the size, strength and length to start in this league.”
If the Buccaneers can find a starting-caliber left tackle in the fifth round of this past year’s draft, it would make a very solid draft class even more promising. Like Dotson, Pamphile doesn’t have a lengthy background in football. A former basketball star at Miami Central High School, Pamphile didn’t play football until his senior season.
“Going back to high school I played a lot of basketball,” Pamphile said. “I transitioned to football as I became a senior in high school. That footwork from basketball has really helped me out.”
Pamphile started his career at Purdue as a defensive tackle before moving to the offensive line during his sophomore season. He only played left tackle as a senior and performed well enough to carry a draftable grade last May. Behind the scenes, Pamphile has been playing both left and right tackle in practice.
“He’s flipping between left and right,” Dotson said. “He’ll play one day at left tackle and the next day at right tackle – he and Oniel Cousins. It’s difficult to do that, but when you are the swing tackle you have to do both. The more versatile you are the better football player you are. You don’t know where your home is going to be. He could play left tackle or he might be a right tackle.”
After getting comfortable on the left side at Purdue, Pamphile admits that it was an adjustment having to play right tackle where the footwork is the exact opposite as it is at left tackle.
“In the beginning it was a tough transition, but as the weeks go by I’m getting more accustomed to that position,” Pamphile said. “Soon I’ll be able to play both sides and I’ll be the swing tackle for the future around here.”
Pamphile may even become the team’s starting left tackle sooner rather than later if injured starter Anthony Collins continues to disappoint. The Bucs like Pamphile’s strength at the point of attack and in pass protection better than Collins’.
“He’s strong,” Dotson said. “He’s a real strong football player and I think that’s going to help him out down the road. When you run into him you realize how strong he is. He has a lot of things to work on and get better at, but I think he’s off to a good start.”
“Kevin is a big, strong guy,” said Bucs rookie guard Kadeem Edwards. “He’s naturally strong. You can see it on film and in practice and he knows it. We communicate well on the field. He’s a left tackle and I’m a left tackle, so it was pretty easy for us to gel.”
Pamphile is modest when it comes to discussing his strength.
“I take that as a compliment,” Pamphile said. “I still feel like I need to work on my strength, though. I’ve been working on my technique a lot and watching game film and making sure I’m keeping up with the playbook. That’s been my main focus. It’s a challenge going against our number one defense in practice. That’s been my game day and I approach practices like they are my games.”
Pamphile will likely continue to get some series at left tackle rotating with Cousins while Collins is out. Dotson indicated that once Pamphile gets more experience he would have the chance to start.
“He’s got some technique work to do in the passing game and being more physical in the running game,” Dotson said. “He has to work on both aspects because you never know when his number is going to be called. It might be next year or next week, but he’s getting ready.”
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• I wanted to start off by addressing one item that was posted on Pewter Report’s Facebook page by Guy Carr. This Bucs fan called out PewterReport.com and the other Bucs beat writers by not forecasting how bad this team was going to be this season, evidenced by a very disappointing 1-7 start.
“I’m more mad at the beat writers who sold us a load of [expletive] about how good this team would/could be. They/you were the ones there every day watching so we rely on your eyes and obviously you’ll are blind.”
This is true, and caused me to apologize to Bucs fans in the September 26 edition of SR’s Fab 5. Here’s my apology in case you missed it.
“Remember when I was touting Tampa Bay’s offense during the OTAs and mini-camps this offseason and marveling at how quarterback Josh McCown was hitting 80 percent of his passes and throwing to wide open receivers? We’ve now learned why.
We’ve learned that the Bucs offense isn’t dynamic at all and that McCown isn’t that accurate. He looked good – and the offense looked good – because it turns out that Tampa Bay’s defense is so bad. Everything I saw in the offseason and reported was simply a mirage, unfortunately. I apologize for not seeing through the mirage and realizing that it was the defense that looked so bad – rather than the offense looking so good. The real problem is that I’m not the only Bucs beat writer that was fooled. Most of us were.
The reason why receivers were running wide open in practice is because the defensive backs have problems in coverage, evidenced by the fact that the secondary has just two pass breakups and no interceptions through three games.”
That’s my apology. Time for the other Bucs beat writers who were fooled by what they saw to come clean, too. In my 20 years of covering the Buccaneers football, I’ve never seen a worse offense and defense together in one season as I have this year. The fact that both units were bad fooled me – and everybody.
• In addition to some roster changes in 2015, don’t be surprised to see a few assistant coaches depart Tampa Bay next year, too. With the Buccaneers owning the NFL’s 31ST-ranked defense, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s job should be in serious jeopardy, especially if one of Lovie Smith’s best friends, Rod Marinelli, becomes available. In 2013, Marinelli was added to the Dallas Cowboys staff as the defensive line coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator this year.
He has been highly effective in replacing Monte Kiffin in 2014 and has improved the Dallas defense despite a lot of star power. Most assistant coaches sign two-year contracts, and if that’s the case, Smith would probably love to reunite with his good friend Marinelli, who was his defensive line coach in Chicago in 2009 and then his defensive coordinator from 2010-12. Smith and Marinelli coached together as defensive assistants in Tampa Bay from 1996-2000. Bucs defensive line coach Joe Cullen was Marinelli’s defensive line coach in Detroit from 2006-2008.
• The only way head coach Lovie Smith gets fired after this season is if the Buccaneers finish 1-15 and get blown out another time or two and don’t show much progress. And even if that happens, Smith likely survives for one big reason – and it’s not the five-year, $25 million he signed. No one saw the misfortune that offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s heart ailment has caused the franchise.
Tedford’s absence has rocked the Buccaneers hard and left quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo in charge because of his knowledge of the offense – but not because of his play-calling skills. Arroyo would have never been considered for the Bucs offensive coordinator position or any play-calling position in the NFL – let alone an offensive coordinator position at a major college outside of Cal. There is no way Arroyo returns as the team’s offensive coordinator next year, nor does it look like Tedford will, either, at this point.
• Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey has asserted himself as the team’s leading rusher once again. After rushing for 532 yards and five touchdowns last season while catching 11 passes for 27 yards and a touchdown, Rainey has amassed 374 yards and a touchdown on 81 carries and caught a career-high 23 passes for 214 yards and one score.
Rainey led the Bucs with 87 yards on the ground last week and is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He was recently named PewterReport.com’s Most Improved Offensive Player, and deserves to be the starter over Doug Martin until rookie Charles Sims asserts himself.
“My first regular season was last year, so the more you play the better the feel you have for the game,” Rainey said. “I feel like a rookie, but then I don’t because I feel like I’ve been here so long because I’m actually in my third year because my first year was on IR (in Baltimore). At times I feel like I’m young. It’s like I’m an experienced rookie. The more you play, the more comfortable you get with breaking down defenses and your reads.”
• While Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon got benched this week, it’s important to note that he’s in his second offensive system with his second offensive coordinator and second quarterbacks coach. If he’s on the team next year, Glennon will likely be in his third scheme with his third play-caller and possibly a third quarterbacks coach in 2015 if Arroyo gets the heave ho at the end of the year.
• In last week’s SR’s Fab 5 column I called for the Bucs to start Jacquies Smith at defensive end in place of Michael Johnson. That didn’t happen, but Smith saw 23 snaps at left and right defensive end and recorded his first NFL sack in addition to notching three quarterback pressures. Smith, who recovered a fumble in Tampa Bay’s Week 3 win at Pittsburgh, outperformed Johnson, who had just one quarterback hit and no sacks or tackles in 45 snaps.
I also called for the Bucs to start rookie offensive tackle Kevin Pamphile and Tampa Bay should be applauded for working him into the starting lineup for three series against the Browns. Pamphile has plenty of upside and the future is now for a 1-7 team like the Buccaneers.
If former Bucs left tackle Doug Reisenberg hadn’t gotten injured in 2006, would we have known about Donald Penn? Sometimes young players just need an opportunity and experience to strut their stuff.
If former Bucs left tackle Luke Petitgout hadn’t gotten injured in 2007, would we have known about Donald Penn? Sometimes young players just need an opportunity and experience to strut their stuff.
• Bucs fans, if you need improved insurance coverage, want better rates or maybe you want a former Buccaneer to handle your insurance needs, call Pro Players Insurance Group today. Pro Players Insurance Group was founded by former Tampa Bay running backs Earnest Graham and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams and their wives, and they are one of the major sponsors of PewterReport.com.
Their business has in part allowed us to develop a new PewterReport.com website for you, the Buccaneers fan. I ask that you click on their banner ad or call Pro Players Insurance Group to inquire about rates and types of insurance they offer as they cover the entire state of Florida.
Whether it is auto, home, life, health or business and commercial insurance, call 1-855-367-PPIG (7744) and ask to speak to Graham or Williams today. Wouldn’t it be cool to say that your personal insurance agent is a former Buccaneer running back? Here’s your chance. Call Pro Player Insurance Group.
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t follow college football that much but the info on Connor Cook looks very interesting especially if we fall just out of reach for Mariota. Winston just scares the #$@% out of me to consider.
great read Scott… although I’m not sure Jerry lets Rod leave dallas
With so much that needs to change this team is in for another long year next year. There is no way we will get Marinelli but Warhop needs to go. If L&L listened to McCown about Glennon they should both be fired. If Tedford doesn’t come back we will need another OC thus comes a NEW scheme again. Things look pretty bleak for next year so why not start with the best QB possible even if we have to trade up or take a chance on Winston if available. Sometimes you need nerve more than BRAINS. If Winston grades out as the best QB you need to take the chance that he will grow up. Maybe under Lovie he could change into a MAN.
Scott, Donald Penn took over for Luke Pettigout in 2007 not Doug Reisenberg in 2006. Sometimes I wonder how much you guys really follow the bucs. Doug Reisenberg played for the Bucs in 1996.
@gibsonmx. I agree. Ive been saying this for a while now. PR has really not been the same since Charlie Campbell left. SR is alrite. he does do a lot for his readers, but a lot of things he say have me scratching my head and I know im not alone. Changing the site does not all of a sudden change my mind on pewterreport. i used to check PR every day, now, not so much. Like the bucs, Pewterreport has been in Rebuilding mode since they lost their best player, which was Charlie Campbell.
My apologies, gibsonmx. I got my “former NY Giants free agent OTs that came to Tampa Bay and didn’t do much” confused.
You have a point. Lol.
Fabulous 5 Scott, addresses THE most important position on the team. This year’s absolute disaster and the stubborn, condescending leadership of St. Lovie have actually made it possible for the Buccaneers to recieve a top pick in the 2015 draft. NOBODY wanted to type about a draft almost 6 months from now at the halfway point in the 2014 season. Well, after the horrible start at home in September it was inevitable and here we are. You point out, correctly, that we have never had a franchise QB here. Well, to win now or to have a good chance at winning in today’s game, having that guy makes all the difference. It gives fans legitimate hope too. we NEED that guy and to get him you have to take chances. Winston IS that guy Scott! Not only is he a proven winner with a passionate love for the game and winning, but his skill set is ALL there. And selling tickets? OMG it’s a no-brainer. Problem is, does St. Lovie think so?
I never root to lose, especially at home. Who pays lots of money for THAT? But what pisses me off is that that’s EXACTLY the position St. Lovie has put so many great fans in.
THIS is the great question for the rest of the season and the off-season next year….. What the hell are we in for in the line of legitimate hope and a future including an actual shot at the playoffs again.
Excellent read and thanks for the positives, little as they are. Good things COULD happen over the next nine months, but will they?
Next year’s draft scares me too!
I doubt if I will agree with anyone the BUCS pick at QB.
Hey Scott, one of the things the BUCs and various writers have said is that the BUCs need to get meaner. I think GM might have said that too.
If they want to get meaner, why aren’t they seriously considering Richie Incognito? I know they don’t want turmoil in the locker room, but the fact they haven’t given him a shot tells me Incognito must have some serious, beyond-repair type issues.
Any Comments on this PR?
Fab 1: Well, I agree with the 1st half of this Fab. The 2nd half where you described two mistakes L&L made is complete nonsense. How is it a mistake not to have drafted a QB this year? None of them have proven to be franchise QB’s. You say Carr is the best of the bunch with a 60.7 completion percentage, 11 TD’s and 7 INT’s? In what world does that quantify the signs of a QB we should have built our franchise around? He’s hasn’t even won a game yet! I know you were hyping Carr throughout the draft process but you are reaching for something that isn’t there to say in hindsight we should have drafted Carr (or any QB from this year’s draft class). You’re the first person I’ve heard say anything positive about this QB draft class since the season started. The 2nd “mistake” is not having a QB competition? Neither QB is any good so how was having them compete supposed to have made either one of them better? How was getting snaps with the 1st team supposed to help when the our current starting WR (Evans) and TE (Seferian-Jenkins) were backups just like he was? Evans didn’t become a starting WR until the 3rd preseason game so Glennon should have had plenty of chemistry with him instead of over and under throwing him last week. The same goes for ASJ who only recently became a starter. This was a new offense and naming a starter and getting him as many reps as possible was the better move. This is becoming lengthy so I’ll discuss the other Fab’s in a separate post…
Great Fab5. Look forward to this every Friday. Any insight into who they might bring in at Offensive Coordinator next year if Tedford can’t go. And is there any chance they bring a guy in before the season ends?
My bet is that the Bucs take DE in the first round, possibly an OT and then get a QB in the second round, or perhaps trade back up into the first to get the QB they want, if they haven’t already picked up another retread in FA.
Fab 2: This is even worse than Fab 1; I don’t even know where to start. You start off by making the case that early QB draft picks haven’t worked out recently when the team is drafting for need. You start off in 2007 and there’s a team you skipped over…the Bucs. We had a top 10 pick and drafted for need at DE and ended up with Gaines, who was a bust. You also stopped in 2011. In 2012 we had another top 10 pick and drafted for need and got M. Barron, another bust. It’s not that drafting QB’s high when you need one is bad, it’s drafting any position high when you need one and drafting a crappy player is bad. We have a new GM who has drafted well so far so if he drafts a QB (or any other position) it just has to be a great player. As for the top two QB’s you brought up, I agree completely about Winston. However, you’re scaring me that you could be this wrong about Mariota. How could you knock his personality when E. Manning, Flacco and R. Wilson have all won Super Bowls with the same personality? You have absolutely no basis for criticizing Mariota for a character trait that has recent proven success. He has plenty of arm strength so I don’t know where that’s coming from. I’ve seen him make plenty of deep accurate throws. Even if he didn’t have a strong arm, how has that strong arm helped Glennon, Freeman or even Stafford who has the strongest arm in the league? Finally you give plenty of praise to Cook (who I also like BTW) for beating Stanford, but no props to Mariota who creamed Stanford a few weeks ago. Where is the objective analysis here? Oregon faces Michigan St., Mariota plays better, Oregon wins and you still come away more impressed with Cook who threw 2 INT’s vs. Mariota’s 0 INT’s? I’m just getting started on Mariota between now and the draft and if the Bucs continue to lose and are in position to take him we better do it. To be continued.
Lovie is a smart man and he knows his fate in Tampa will be tied closely to how he develops the QB position. Our 1st overall pick will and should be used on a QB. I still think if by chance Tedford is healthy and can coach that Mariotta is a good fit given what I’ve heard/seen from his schemes in the past. HOWEVER the choice should be Jameis Winston despite all the off the field issues. We have a HC that is perfect to groom him off the field but Jameis has exactly what we need on the field. A motivator, leader and frankly someone who doesnt accept losing. This team is closer to success than the record would indicate but lack that difference maker to push us over the top. A Manziel or Winston type player is exactly what this team and town needs to breath life into what has been a bleek last few years. Complain all you want about his off the field issues and the comparisons to Freeman but one thing makes them different IMO, Freeman never showed the love for the game that Winston has. I’d gamble on a player who made bad decisions off the field when their passion for the game is this high. Its time to put character issues aside and draft the BEST players available not the ones with Bibles in their gamebags bc the nice has gotten us nowhere fast. Go Bucs and find some fire this offseason PLEASE!
Fab 3: Like I said before I like Cook, but Mariota is clearly better in every possible way. As for Kessler, I’m not biased against him coming from USC, but I am biased against 1-year wonders (like Sanchez). I would pass on Kessler.
Fab 4: I would love for Pamphile to win a starting OT job. I love hearing even more how strong he is. My biggest problem with 4 of our starting O-linemen (excluding Mankins) is that they aren’t strong enough. They may be atheletic and some like Dotson are good pass protectors, but none of them are strong enough to consistently push people off the ball. I hope Pamphile is the beginning of a trend in Licht’s drafting.
Fab 5: I still don’t think you need to apologize for that, but it is appreciated. I don’t expect you to apologize when you get things wrong or brag when you get things right. I only expect you guys to work hard and report the facts as you see them at the time with as much supporting evidence/data as possible. I’d love to get Marinelli but either way Fraiser has to go. Also, I’m glad you pointed out Jacquies Smith last week and I hope he becomes our starter at LDE. Go Bucs!
Scott, we agree that the Bucs need to draft a QB. But that’s where it stops. First of all, while I loved Bortles coming out, and he will likely be the best QB in that class, Manziel has as much risk to him off the field as Winston based on his own history, Bridgwater is a mediocre QB with your pet Derek Carr, who manages to be the only one of the 3 QB’s who is winless (in 8 starts). If your argument that rookie QB numbers mean that Carr is the one the Bucs missed then you conveniently forget that Glennon had better numbers as a rookie (QB Rating, TD/Int, YPA) Carr will be a bust, and when he does invariably get replaced, remember that I told you so. I will send you an address so you can write me an apology, but in due time. This QB class is better than last years class. While the concerns about Winston’s maturity are legitimate, you cannot possibly denounce his ability. National Championship, Heisman, 21-0, remarkable comebacks, top tier physical tools. The wearing a uniform to a pregame warmup should clue you into the obsessive nitpicking that Winston has been under. When in the history of covering football have you ever heard an uproar over a player wearing pads to a warmup. Or yelling out an internet meme in public (remember he was mimicking a meme) that caused him to get suspended for a game. It’s incredible. The Glazers are the single reason this team is where it is, if they have even a remote say in the direction of the franchise at this point you can imagine it will point downward like it has the past dozen years under their incompetent watch. So naturally they’d be against the best QB prospect to come out since Andrew Luck.
The 2015 draft is April 30, 2015 in Chicago. That’s an eternity in NFL time. All of the QBs we’re talking about will have to stay healthy, have great closing performances, declare for the draft, perform well in pre-draft bowl games, excel in combine tests, and stay out of off-field trouble. Quite the gamut before they are ready for prime time!
Already NFL analysts are weighing in comparing Mariota to Kaepernick and RGIII, two QBs that are not faring very well in the NFL now and TMZ (who I have little respect for) reporting that Winston may be involved in some point shaving scheme in the Louisville game. Pete Schrager, Fox Sports believes Connor Cook and Sean Mannion are the best NFL ready QBs in the draft.
I put very little faith in anything that is being said now, but I caution against selecting one of these QB before they have run the gauntlet to the draft. Now nothing of what I have said changes the fact that the Bucs need a QB for Sunday’s game and my belief is they should draft one in April. But I do not know who that QB is yet!
Good read. Early in the process but my take is Mariotta in the first if available. Only QB I would take in first. If not available then trade down for additional picks if possible. It not, take best player available (DL, OL, or LB). Also, would like to see Bucs contginue to play their rookie OL. Both Pamphile and Edwards, if they don’t show promise then we need to draft additional OL. This season is history so lets see what the young guys can do, otherwise we could be looking at drafting a whole new OL.
I disagree, Winston and Mariota are both sure fire NFL stars. And if they don’t draft one of them,then they need to draft a LT(and move Collins to RG)in rd 1,and draft 1 of Bo Wallace/Brett Hundley in rd 2. Those 4 QBs are the only ones worth drafting in the first 3 rounds IMO,with Winston and Mariota the sure fire NFL stars and Hundley and Wallace the solid starers in the NFL.
if the Bucs draft ANY QB in the first round next year,it will be a mistake and be no more than a lateral move…Its a weak draft class at the position,need or no need.
Brace yourselves BUCS fans~ they have been screwing up this franchise for over a decade with little to no positive growth over that time period and next year will not be the end of it(nor will it likely stop for another 4-5 years at best).Plan on spending the better part of the next 10 years at the bottom where this team is currently since this team cant seem to get a hire right at coach/gm or draft more than one decent player a year.
its amazing this teams owners are the same that own the most successful and profitable Soccer club yet cant field a decent American football team to save their lives…
I feel every word from media outlets about the Bucs should be taken with a grain of salt since we have been fed BS for over a decade about the improvement of this team…
If it were my call,I would disband the Bucs and the Raiders,move both teams to Los Angeles,change the names and owners and erase the stain both teams have left on the league…
The SPACE PIRATES suck today,tomorrow and will well into the future…trust me..this boat is riding the reef and has for years~and at the bottom of the ocean is where it will likely stay until a real salvage operation tries to raise it from the deep…
Great writing guys. Winston does not seem like someone who will transition well. Look at the top QBs in the leaugue… All solid pocket passers besides Wilson. Newton has leveled out and so has Kaepernick. Mariota seems like a solid pick. Still not sold that Lovie will take a QB round one. McCown is the starter this year and next most likely.
Also Cook talked about zone blocking vs Man blocking on the What The Buc show. Seems like our OL play last week was more of a scheme success rather than player success. So, not sold on the players we have up there. Lot of time between here and the draft. 8 games to see what this team is made of. Would love to see Frazier get the boot. He did a lot of questionable things in Minnesota and was never my choice for DC.
Are you confusing Winston with Mariotta? Mariotta is the scrambler from a college spread offense, while Winston runs a pro-style offense and is a pocket passer who runs only when the play breaks down.
Newton was no chior boy either. He was expelled from Florida for stealing. Also, a frat party honcho. Maybe we can tame Winston or he will mature?
There is someone who has a lot of sway at 1 Buc, who is in Winston’s corner, Derrick Brooks. That’s right, Mr. Brooks has his endorsement. If the kid doesn’t screw up between now, and April 30th, he very well could be a Buc. As far as missing on first round Q.B.’s, come on Scott, plenty of busts at all first round positions. Gaines Adams was a can’t miss D end, right? Clowney this past year was can’t miss, and it turns out he can’t stay heathy. Things happen, you can’t be afraid to pick one, and you can’t win without a good one.
We need to have a legitimate offensive scheme, linemen, and coordinator to evaluate Glennon fairly. He’s got the intelligence, arm, and grit to make it in the NFL. He’s too young to say one way or another if he’s our franchise QB…he’s been on some very bad rosters with a lot of drama amidst talk of trade, benching,and coaching change.
Scott, your repeating a few paragraphs at the end, including the correct player Penn replaced.
Scott, don’t be so hard on yourself. I think you guys were right..I think the offense WAS good, remember, that was when TEDFORD was there!!
Don’t listen to these punk commentaries , most of which weren’t even around to see a Jon Gruden Coached team. much less anything else.
These JR Footballers need to learn from reading, not writing comments. Losing Tedford is THE no.1 reason for the record this year. Lovies Defense will be just fine, id leave the coaches right were they’re at unless this current improvement doesn’t continue.
great comments, Scott. You told it like it is. Only its a little depressing to know there are no real real star QBs after Winston….who I cannot recommend in all conscience. Too scary. So I am left with a bad feeling for another year with a so so first round pick QB. Hard to watch the Bucs this year….
Another pimping of Bobby Rainey by SR. I like the player too; but I think we’ve all read enough statistics about the exploits of # 43 as compared to #22. Loved the Pink5 Pinkstob. Next Training Camp I’ll make a point to join you as we evaluate the new and hopefully improved team. The QB talk is going to rage for the rest of this season and until we eventually find that guy.
Other than the off-field juvenile actions by the young Jameis Winston; he is the best QB I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s his calm but passionate demeanor. It’s the way he takes charge especially being so young. It’s the arm strength. It’s the ability to move well enough for his size. It’s his willingness to give up his body to get the first down. It’s the way his teammates believe in him. It’s his “I got this” confidence. It’s his accuracy. It’s his football IQ. In short, it’s his “IT”.
He just needs to mature. My bet is he will.
Thanks Scubog! I’d love to see you again at camp next year and chat more about the Bucs.
There is a long way to go and a lot of test to take before I’m ready to say that’s my guy! But If my instincts are correct, I agree with scubog about Winston.
Here is what I will say and I’ve said it before. There is nothing about Winston’s off-field allegations that would stop me from selecting him anymore than I would select Ben Rothelisberger or Brett Farve who seemed to like sending selfies through the mail.
Man.. I can’t believe some of the sh…t I did when I was his age. If he doesn’t do anything stupid between now, and April, he will be the first pick in the draft.
On running backs, Bobby Rainey, et al. I just watched the NFL Network Football Life feature on Earl Campbell. Now that was a RB. What is it now with these Smurf-like bowling balls that colleges are turning out for running backs?
I want a big bruising type RB that is going to move the line. Jim Brown may have been once in a lifetime, but where are the Earl Campbells, Herschel Walkers, Ricky Williams types anymore?
Sing with me! I like big Backs and I cannot lie!!!
Thanks pretty funny Mac!
I am interested in Kessler because of his accuracy and his wins in a USC program that is still recovering from sactions. Can we have more on Kessler please? How big is he and how is his escapability and arm strength?
While Glennon played his worst game as a pro in a game in which we finally saw the offensive line and defense finally resemble the look and feel of what was expected much earlier in the season, I think it’s a bit unfortunate to remove him with no chance to redemption. His performance in the 1st half of the Browns game definitely earned him much deserved criticism, but I think he should have had at least another half in another game to redeem himself a bit.
It disturbs me that the same group of reporters (because that’s all the PR staff are is reporters) who defended Freeman for years when it was obvious to many of us he had no future are making a definitive call that Glennon is incapable of being a productive starting QB in the NFL. A call based on him being brought in as a relief QB during two partial seasons under two of the most inept coaching regimes in the Bucs’ storied history of such. Look guys, I understand that you’re probably concerned about the risk continued poor play by the team represents to your franchise, just as Lovie is trying to protect his you know what by starting Josh. But you guys are using your microphone to influence decisions that, based on your track record of “analysis” you’re candidly not qualified to make. Forgetting all of the spelling and grammatical errors, it should also concern you that the posters are usually more insightful than your writers. The truth is that we don’t have enough information at this point to assess Glennon – look how many years of info it took before you realized Freeman was terminally flawed. Please think more about what you write, how you write it, and how you (theoretically) edit it. As a subscriber I’m nearing the end of my rope.
Macabee; it’s a different world out there now than in the past. There are defined guidelines to follow now.
Good article Scott. I have to say something about the QB’s you have mentioned in this Article. I like Dak Prescott and I hope we go after him. I think he will be a 2nd rounder. Mariota hasn’t shown me anything that would put him in a Top 5 Spot. Winston could be there, but I would never pick him because I know enough about him as a loyal FSU fan. I lived in Tallahassee for 19 years and just moved back here 3 years ago. Both my kids went to FSU.
Winston has taken a step back in his progression. He is throwing way to much fading back on that back foot and staring down his receivers. He lacks commonsense and he hangs with people who aren’t in his best interest. Will he grow up? I don’t know; probably in time, but when will that be? I’m not willing to take that risk. We have other needs we can fill and pick another QB in the 2nd or 3rd round. Go Bucs!
Winston will be in trouble all his life. He thinks he is above the law. His father didn’t raise him right and has tried to blame the coaches at FSU for not keeping someone on him 24-7. Any team that takes him regardless of round will wind up regretting it. He has no respect for his coaches or his team mates. All he cares about is himself. The Bucs should take the best LT in round 1, the best RDE in round 2, The best OG in round 3. Maybe they can get a better QB in 2015’s free agency. I don’t like Hundley, he makes too many mistakes for a veteran. In fact the whole QB class doesn’t impress me this year. This team is so many players away from having a good team. Why draft a QB and have him get killed behind the Bucs puny O-line? My 70 year old girlfriend asked me “Why do you watch the Bucs?” I said “I don’t know.” She said “Do you think the fans believe anything the Bucs tell them?” I thought about it and said “Not really.” All the Bucs have is excuses. The suffering fans want to see wins. I think Malcomb Glazer was a much better owner than his sons are. Maybe the sons should sell the team to someone who knows what they are doing.
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