It is Monday and that means another Bucs Monday Mailbag where we answer your questions that readers submitted via Twitter using #PRMailbag.

Question: Why is the offensive line so horrible, especially in the run game? Is it coaching, chemistry, personnel, or something else?

Answer: Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.

All of the above. I think George Warhop is a good technical coach, and the players all rave about him despite his rough personality as a coach. But something is missing and sometimes the problems can be all of the thing you mentioned, coaching included. For whatever reason these players aren’t responding to the coaches as well as they should be it appears.

I think we would all agree the personnel could probably use an upgrade as well. While the coaching staff all talked about the vast amount of depth, if it isn’t full of talented players, then depth means nothing. Just because a guy can play and technically knows the playbook doesn’t mean he can perform it well. And if the depth is so good, why are players who aren’t performing well not being replaced? If Evan Smith and Kevin Pamphile are neck in neck as far as talent level, why hasn’t one of them replaced J.R. Sweezy yet as the other guard?

And how long will this team trust Donovan Smith to protect who they believe is their franchise quarterback? I get the potential thing with Smith, but again at what point do you say enough is enough? Yes, he is serviceable, but after two and a half years, there just hasn’t been a lot of growth and development from Smith.

I will agree with Dirk Koetter who likes to say, if it were a simple answer, we would fix it. I don’t know there is anything simple about it, but I have always been a firm believer, in at any level of football, the team that controls the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, will usually win the game.

Question: Who has out performed their expectations for the season?

Answer: In my opinion it is easily linebacker Kendell Beckwith. We were all pretty much scratching our heads when the selection came down on draft night. A linebacker, coming off an ACL injury just six months prior, and you are trading up to select him? With Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander already on the roster? Not many expected him to even be ready for the preseason games, much less the start of training camp. Yet Beckwith made an outstanding recovery and was the Bucs leading tackler coming into the Jets game. On top of the medical, he has been the best rookie on the field as well, although safety Justin Evans has played well too.

Question: Will this win over the Jets be enough to spark the defense to pull off a run like last year, or is the just a super bad Jets team that made a bad def. look good?

Answer: The jobs of a number of coaches and players depends on it. No doubt the Jets are not a juggernaut of offensive firepower, however the Bucs defense has looked bad against some equally bad offenses over the last couple of years. It was great to see the defensive line, who has been beaten up – physically and by the media and fans – get things going. Whatever was spoken prior to, and during the game worked somewhat. We saw passion and pride on Sunday.

Fans can accept losing to a degree, as long as they see guys fighting and clawing. I don’t know that we can say we saw that over the first eight games all the time. But words and players-only meetings can only go so far. Whatever Mike Smith and his staff came up with scheme and game plan wise needs to be continued. Sometimes you just need to simplify things. Maybe that was part of the change on Sunday. But again, whatever it was, hopefully continues moving forward.

Question: t’s gonna be now two years Winston hasn’t had a run game to aid him and take some pressure off him. How much of the OL and RB will be shaken up to ensure Jameis has a run game to rely on next year?

Answer: I suppose it all depends on how the rest of the season plays out. If the losing continues and the Bucs ownership cleans house, expect to see a lot of new faces next season. Especially across the offensive line. But even at running back as well. I find it unlikely the Bucs bring Martin back at over $6 million dollars next year unless his production greatly increases. The debate will rage on the remainder of the season if the running game continues to struggle, is it the line or the backs? I think that will sort itself out though over the next seven games.

There is no doubt Koetter’s offense, really any team’s offense, needs a running game threat to maximize the production of the passing game. If you can see it, and I can see it, then you can bet management and the coaches know it as well. Things can’t continue the way they are.

Shop the newest Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan gear at Fanatics!
Previous articleBucs’ Baker Talks Player Accountability, But Why Did It Take This Long?
Next articleCover 3: Bucs Defense Evolves; Training Another David
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]

12 COMMENTS

  1. Very good Mark, you said it all.

    Please wait...
  2. I don’t see Martin as unable to play at a high level. You watch him and he makes the effort. Our QB had time to throw the ball. Our RB did not have holes to run into.

    Please wait...
  3. Martin is washed up, he wouldn’t be a back up on the Saints. Sweezy is a bust F.A. signing, neither Pampile, or E. Smith are starting caliber guards, need I say anything about the other Smith at left tackle, Dot is on the down side of his career. Add it all up it equals a dismal run game, and shoddy pass protection. Did I mention holding calls at the worst times? We need an influx of talent along both lines, and better coaches to coach them up.

    Please wait...
  4. The Bucs have the worst group of running backs in the NFL. OJ Howard was the top player on the Bucs board when they drafted but everyone knew the Bucs needed major help at running back and defensive end.
    The Bucs should have either drafted Dalvin Cook or a pass rusher.

    They are the worst in the NFL at both positions.

    The concerning thing for the Bucs is they need help at a large number of positions(defensive line, running back, corner, offensive tackle and offensive guard)

    Please wait...
  5. Just now on ProFootball talk

    Talk of a Jon Gruden return heats up in Tampa
    Posted by Michael David Smith on November 14, 2017, 8:19 AM EST

    Jon Gruden coached the Buccaneers to their only championship. Could they bring him back to try to win another?

    They might, as talk is heating up in Tampa that head coach Dirk Koetter is on the hot seat and Gruden could be his replacement.

    Longtime Tampa reporter Ira Kaufman said today on PFT Live that he thinks Koetter needs to close strong if he’s going to save his job, and that the Buccaneers’ owners may think Gruden would energize the fan base.

    “I think Koetter’s got seven weeks to prove that this team is still buying what he’s selling,” Kaufman said. “The stands are half empty, and there’s a guy out there that has a lot of juice and can fill those stands. . . . I’m starting to believe it for the first time, that Gruden’s coming back.”

    Kaufman said he has heard that Gruden would be open to returning to coaching and would prefer the NFL, not college football, because he doesn’t like recruiting. Kaufman also said Gruden’s announcing career has run its course and that Gruden doesn’t have the same passion for the job now that he’s not paired with Mike Tirico, who became a close friend during their years together. Kaufman added that Gruden thinks highly of Jameis Winston, has mended fences with the Glazer family after they fired him at the end of the 2008 season, and would love to work with his son, Deuce Gruden, who currently works as a strength coach on Jay Gruden’s staff in Washington but would likely leave his uncle’s staff for his dad’s if Jon Gruden became a coach again.

    Add it all up, and there are a lot of reasons to think a Gruden return would make a lot of sense.

    Please wait...
  6. Buc76, here are three good reasons why not to bring back Guden.
    Michael Clayton, Cadillac Williams over Aaron Rogers and the pen necked Gaines Adams.
    In short, Gruden and the GM then were simply horrible in the draft which helped lead the Bucs to the current situation they are in.
    Thanks, but no thanks.

    Please wait...
    • Gruden didnt have a say in the Gaines Adams draft. He has stated many times he wanted to draft AP and had him rated at the top of his draft board but was over ruled by the GM because they had Cadillac Williams already. Cant blame him for that pick.

      Please wait...
  7. The players hated Gruden. It was more than tough love. They hated him because he was dishonest. That narrative was circulating all around the team prior to his departure. Also, he was blessed with top defensive personnel. He’s been gone a long time. Nobody doubts his passion, but this would be a huge gamble on the order of a publicity stunt to sell tickets. Let Koetter stay on as coach on the condition of some coaching changes. Encourage him to give up the play calling. The players like him and they play hard for him. What we need is an infusion of better talent. Yes, we need a couple of guards, but have you looked at the rest of the NFL. Colleges are not producing great offensive lineman (on the whole) due to the nature of the college game. Dallas lost their left tackle and got creamed by a mediocre defensive line. We need defensive lineman first and foremost and cover corners; then we need a running back. Things are not as desperate as they seem since we have a decent quarterback, excellent receivers and tight ends and better than average linebackers. There’s a fine line between the haves and have-nots in the NFL. Look what New Orleans did in one off season and Philadelphia too. The Saints changed defensive coordinators two seasons ago, then had a great offseason in free agency and the draft. Personell-wise (other than their hall of fame quarterback) they aren’t that much better than the Buccaneers; nor is Carolina (outside their defensive line). Our cup is half full. The time is not right to panic unless Koetter loses the players which he has not done yet.

    Please wait...
  8. Koetter is toast. These players haven’t forgotten that Lovie got the boot and he took Lovie’s job. They think Licht was orchestrating the whole thing. You don’t believe it go watch a clip of Winston when Lovie got fired. He took it hard. Lovie deserved it but these players did not like the way it went down. The trust will never be there. Koetter is as good as gone. Gruden is coming in here. get ready, Derrick Brooks GM.

    Please wait...
  9. With all the Gruden talk, man it’s a thin line here. He took us to our only Superbowl and two other playoff seasons. That’s more than any coach since then and then some. However I wouldn’t want Chucky to have total draft say. He was horrible at picks as some have listed above. Let Licht stay , he has made some bone head moves, but what GM is 100%. He has built a damn good young nucleus in key spots and is magical in the third 4th round area. Just let Gruden pick the second round pick. Haha.
    O-Iine guy I would love to see as our coach, and he’s another you either love or hate, is Jim Harbaugh. Just a thought. I never saw him as a college coach, but you can’t deny the mans passion. Anyways, I think if Koetter gets this team back to .500 by the end of the season , he should keep his job, but there is drastic work on both lines that need to be done.

    Please wait...
  10. Hiring Gruden is a step back. His schitck will go only so far. If you go back to the last ten NFC Championship games, you will see how relevant Jim Harbaugh made the 49ers. The organization needs to give the fan base more credit by not hiring the name lingering out there. Harbaugh is a winner. Gruden had a great season and an all-time defense.
    As for the OL, after drafting a DE, we should consider drafting a LT and center. I would move Ali back to guard and feel good about the fact he gained immeasurable experience under center. With all due respect to Donovan Smith as a person, he needs to either be moved to RT (sorry Demar, you’ve been a terrific player this year and good soldier) or traded for a 6th or 7th round pick. Since 1976, Go Bucs!

    Please wait...
  11. At center. My mistake.

    Please wait...