It is Monday, and that means answers your questions about the Bucs in an all new Monday Mailbag. You can have your question answered by submitting it on Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.

Question: With Doug Martin most coming back this week, does he step right in as starter?

Answer: Before Sunday’s game against the Giants I would have said absolutely. But Jacquizz Rodgers had a tremendous game and was a very important component in the Bucs win. However, the Giants came into the game giving up over 150 yards on the ground, so Tampa Bay should have had some running success. I think a lot will depend on what kind of shape Martin is in. He has been away from the team for a month and was not allowed inside One Buc or to work with trainers or anyone with the organization. With that said, I would be shocked if he weren’t in tip-top shape. Not game shape, but I would be very suprised if he hasn’t been working his tail off and didn’t look essentially the same as he did when he left.

Expect Martin to work his way back in the rotation, and he should be active on Thursday night against the Patriots. We do know one thing, and that is he should have extremely fresh legs, but the last thing the team wants to do is press him into duty and he suffer something like a hamstring injury, and be lost for several weeks.

Question: Should the team start pursuing a new kicker after Nick Folk’s struggles?

Answer: Personally I would be taking a look, but dependable kickers who can handle the stress on mental aspect of the rigors of kicking in the NFL aren’t just hanging around the unemployment line. It is a unique breed. My son is a high school kicker who saw how difficult it is first hand this year, and that’s a high school team. Dirk Koetter is adamant, and reiterated it again following the game, these guys (kickers) have to make kicks, that is what they are paid to do. So his leash isn’t very long, but they need to take a look at the options. You can’t cut someone emotionally without a backup plan, so with that said, combined with the fact Folk made the game winner, I don’t see the Buccaneers making any changes. But it wouldn’t surprise me that Jason Licht isn’t checking around just in case Folk’s struggles continue.

Question: Why do you think the pass rush department has been off to a slow start? Do we need help from somewhere else to jump start it?

Answer: I just think the team lacks a lot of a talent as far as pass rushers go. That’s isn’t to say they aren’t talented defensive lineman. We have seen them play well against the run for the most part this season, and aren’t afraid to do the dirty work to free up linebackers to make plays. And it is a tough group of guys. But as far as being pure pass rushers, other than Noah Spence, I am not sure where the ceiling is for this group. Does Jacquies Smith become that guy when he gets more live game reps? Can Spence figure out some more counter moves? All of those are still question marks that need to be answered, and quickly. You can get away with zero sacks a few times a year perhaps, but just one sack in three games, against three quarterbacks who aren’t known for mobility? It is a concern. And other than trying to make a blockbuster trade, where would the help come from? As mentioned above about kickers, there aren’t many – if any – just sitting at home on their couch ready to step in and be a 10-sack guy.

Question: I see quite a bit of people stating that Hargreaves had a bad game yesterday, but from my view, I thought he had a decent game. Most of the catches that I saw that were caught on him were three-step drops and quick routes, he had a few decent break ups, and didn’t seem to get burned often or out of place.

Answer: I see both sides a little. I think there was still some lingering effect from the Vikings game with fans. But as you pointed out there was only one really big play that Hargreaves gave up and that didn’t even go for a touchdown. Brent Grimes played really well and combines with Hargreaves the duo overall were effective.

Trevor Sikkema posted the Pro Football Focus story earlier today and this is the grade given to Hargreaves: Victimized a week ago, victimized this week, Bucs second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves III was targeted 12 times against the Giants. He allowed 8 receptions for 97 yards and a 91.3 passer rating on throws into his coverage. While he kept them out of the end zone, both Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr. each were targeted 6 times and each hauled in four receptions against VHII. Despite playing 1 less game, Hargreaves has allowed the fifth-most yards in coverage among CBs so far this season at 260.

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for 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]


  1. Doug should definitely feature on Thursday night, but seeing as how Dirk has handled J Smith’s return and stated how he needs more live reps, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Doug only get 10 or so touches. Irma really messed up Doug’s ability to come back with the benefit of a full week of practice. Hope he can be a full go for the Arizona game. Him & Quizz give us a decent running attack and balance for the offense.

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  2. Mark,
    Same question I asked Trevor; best guess of player that will be release so Martin can fill a spot?

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    • They released Cross to make room for Doug.

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  3. Quizz was caught from behind by a D lineman that would’ve been a T.D. run by every other back in the league. Don’t get me wrong, he ran tough, and did a fine job yesterday, but there’s a reason he was unemployed last year when we picked him up. At least he ran through the hole, Sims would’ve danced to a dead stop. Doug is the best we got right now, he has to be ready, there’s only so many games in the season. I’m getting tired of hearing Spence is some kind of pure pass rusher. The kid has one sack in three games, give me a break. He runs around a city block trying to get at the passer, but rarely does. If he takes on a tackle straight up he gets punked, and his shoulder gives out. Smitty needs to stand him up next to the D end on passing downs letting the D end take on the tackle so Spence won’t have to. J. Smith is the Bucs other pass rusher, need I say more, need to google when his last sack came. Maybe we can draft someone next year, or pay someone, but Licht was banking on both these players this year, and he rolled snake eyes. Mark you guys got fooled watching Spence in practice against our guys. He was supposed to be a double digit sacker this year, and I want a toilet made out of solid gold. It just ain’t in the cards.

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    • Surferdudes, glad there is someone else who has same opinion about Smith and Spence; both should be playing in a 3-4 Defense as stand up pass rusher like Vonn Miller.

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  4. As far as Folk Roberto little brother maybe in the draft. Oh boy not another 2nd RD. Pick
    I do admire Spence for playing hurt but IMO not big enough. The Bucs Must address this issue in FA,the draft or both!

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  5. You know who would look good as our kicker………Connor Barth.

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