About the author

Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]

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  1. 1


    Generally agree with these grades …. maybe with one exception: the defensive line grade is more like, in an academic sense, “incomplete”. The injuries on the line made it really tough to maintain continuity and the performance varied tremendously throughout the season. We also had two rookies who were learning on the job, and their performance in the second half of the season was much more skilled than in the first half.

    If we can avoid the major decimation by injury that we had in 2016, and given the rookie learning curve for Hargreaves and Spence being largely complete, I can sense that the Bucs defense will improve a lot.

    The biggest question mark is whether we have continuity in defensive coaching – if Coach Smith leaves, there will be another learning curve to master in 2017. We should know in the next week if he’s staying or going.

  2. 2


    Doesn’t look like Mile Smith will be moving to Jacksonville.
    NFL.com just reported Doug Marrone will be getting the Jag job.
    Aestecially it’s probably a good thing for Smith. Who really wants to move to Jacksonville. Blah.

    1. 2.1


      Hope he stays here.
      GO BUCS

  3. 3


    Jags hired Doug Marrone, not Mike Smith, eh! ESPN Insider Mark Dominik predicted that Smith was the leading contender and the Jags would likely announce that on Tuesday. That should have been our clue. Now if we can get Dominik to predict that Smth gets the San Diego job, we can all relax. Lol.

    Bucs D-Line coach Jay Hayes just went “What the………you gotta be kiddin’ me! lol.

  4. 4


    Just my opinion: DL, C; LB, C+; CB, C+; Special Teams, C.

  5. 5


    We have two Pro Bowl alternates in our LB corp… unit is an A. Secondary is a C due to subpar safety play the majority of the season. final quarter Tandy was great.

    1. 5.1


      Subpar safety play? Durring our 5 game winning streak we had INTs every game by a safety including multiple game winners. If thats subpar play, what is par play?

  6. 6


    the way this season went, you should give separate grades for the 1st and 2nd halves of the season. if you did the secondary would have gone from an F to an A

    1. 6.1

      Mark Cook

      Definitely much better second half than first. Tried to take that into account.

  7. 7


    I don’t try to grade each unit, the only grade that counts is 9-7 which is an improvement over 6-10 in 2015. As has been the case over the past several years with the concussion protocol, injury factor, rule changes, and win now philosophy football has changed dramatically. “The next man up,” mentality has become the new norm. Therefore the sack leaders, tackle leaders, TFL leaders, INT leaders are collectively useless statistics. The sack leaders get double teamed, The INT leaders get avoided and when you praise a CB for the number of solo tackles he is making, you are indirectly penalizing your DL and LB personal. In todays modern version of football, player depth, consistency, and team continuity are the ingredients to success. A blended coaching philosophy and the ability by management to factor in injuries, suspensions, etc. is imperative. Finally the reliance on superstars and focusing cap space on a few can be fatal. All NFL players have ACL’s and hamstrings. 9-7, NEXT MAN UP!

  8. 8


    I’m ok with the grades but I do have an issue with this statement “First-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III came into his own, showing elite potential in coverage as well as a physical defender, with 76 tackles to his credit.” The kid showed some glimpses but he was also the only CB in the NFL to give up 1,000 yards receiving. I’m all for pumping up good stuff but VHIII has plenty to work on this offseason and I dont think elite would be the word I’d use to describe his season. Eli Apple who we traded down and missed out on had a much better season, motivate our players with the truth. I hope Spence we let Spence leave bc he brings nothing to the DL, I honestly can’t remember him making one play all season that stood out. His position isnt always glamorous I get that but he doesnt help take double teams off GMC which should be the focus of the offseason, finding impact DL to win 1 on 1s and thats not Akeem Spence.

    1. 8.1


      I agree 100% with your review of Hargreaves. He couldn’t cover anyone against Carolina last game and struggled big time also against New Orleans. l did not see elite cover skills at all!!! He was atrocious at the beginning of the year missing tackles and not making tackles with bad techniques. Was not a correct pick at the spot last year in the first round. Very disappointed in his overall play last season for where he was picked in the draft.

  9. 9

    Buc 1976

    VH lll should be in the slot yes he can tackle because he let his man make catch in front of him. Without Tandy in games we may have lost 1or2 more games he really played well! McCoy is still good but getting older I wish we had taken DT first rd. last year. Just my thoughts but a better pass rush helps our DB more. Playing against Carolina twice a year our it is hard to stop tall wr in red z.

  10. 10


    Hargreaves really came on by yrs end and Noah Spence shows real promise, Alexander might become best lb in league in a few yrs if not next yr, Tandy a stud sad it took this long to realize this, future bright

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