It is a new year and with it comes a new Bucs Monday Mailbag where we answer your Twitter offered questions. You can submit your question each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.
Below are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the Mailbag. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.
Question: With the recent news of Evans not wanting to sign an extension this year, does thatgive the impression he is thinking of leaving for another team as opposed to extending here in Tampa?
Answer: No. I truly believe Evans wants to be here, and I know for a fact Tampa Bay wants him here for a long time. He is part of the puzzle Jason Licht started putting together when he arrived and they see him as being part of what will bring this town another Super Bowl in the next few years. Will that happen? That is still up in the air, but this organization is either going to, or not going to, with Evans as a member of this football team.
I wouldn’t get caught up in agent talk. It is just that for the most part. Evan wants to be here long term, the Bucs want him here long term, so he will eventually sign a new deal to a Buccaneer for the next several years.
WARNING: Video music NSFW
Question: With huge holes on both side of the ball, cloud of suspension over Jameis Winston, and Jason Licht’ s horrid defensive record in FA (besides Grimes), give me one thing in 2018 to look forward to sir?
Answer: This team isn’t the Cleveland Browns? Seriously, it could be worse. I will admit after the end of the season, and the Bucs not making any coaching changes, I felt much like you do. 2018 is going to be a lame duck season and a repeat of 2017, essentially. But now, a little over a month and a half later, and a chance to reflect back and look ahead, I do see some things to be excited about. Now, I won’t be predicting a 12-4 season this year, but with a lot of luck and some key acquisitions, this team can be in the playoff hunt.
First of all, the defense has to be better right? I mean can it be worse? 22 sacks in a 16-game season is pathetic anyway you stretch it. This team will find some better pass rushers, and I think a new voice coaching the defensive line can also help. Kwon Alexander will be better. Justin Evans will be better. Noach Spence, if he can stay healthy, will provide a boost. Gerald McCoy is Gerald McCoy and should benefit from better players around him. Lavonte David is as solid and dependable as they come. There are some pieces, now it is up to the front office to make it better.
And the thing that excites me the most about next season is the offensive potential. I like Winston coming into his fourth season and second working with DeSean Jackson. I think the duo of Cam Brate and O.J. Howard will be the best 1-2 punch at that position in the NFL. Mike Evans wants to rebound. Chris Godwin showed flashes. And the front office will add some new blood at the running back position that will only help take the pressure off of Winston.
As mentioned, the Bucs will need some luck to make some playoff noise, but even if the defense doesn’t drastically improve, heck, this team ought to be able to go out and just outscore a lot of team. I am not jumping up and down about 2018, but I don’t know the outlook is as grim as we might have thought immediately following the season. And again, even if things don’t turn around, at least the Bucs aren’t the Browns, right?
Question: Is Brent Grimes coming back? Should he?
Answer: The jury is still out on if Grimes is back in 2018, but the Bucs sure hope so. I do as well. While they need to draft and develop some young talent at cornerback, getting Grimes back for at least one more season at least gives the organization a bit of breathing room until someone is ready to take his place.
And yes, to answer your second part, he should be back. Grimes is a great locker room guy by all accounts and is still extremely talented despite his “old age” in NFL years. This team has plenty of other holes to fill, and Grimes coming back at least gives them some piece of mind at one of the cornerback spots heading into 2018.
Question: Should the Bucs draft defense, or should they go for the final pieces to make the offense superior?
Answer: On the surface the answer is unequivocally yes. All seven picks. But as I wrote earlier, and as I have mentioned on the Pewter Nation podcast a couple times, the NFL is an offensive product, and if you can’t score points, you don’t win many championships. I mean look at the glory days of the Bucs and their outstanding defenses. An average or even above average offense and there would an entire case of Lombardi trophies in the the lobby at One Buc. And things have changed even more since then in favor of the offense. If the Bucs can average 28 points or more in 2018, they are in the playoffs. They would have been in the playoff last season had they scored four touchdowns a game.
Of course the Bucs will, and should, address the defense this offseason, but adding a premiere playmaker at running back would go along away in making this football team respectable again.
Question: If I show up at Pin Chasers during a PR bowing event in an airbrushed Def Leppard half shirt and maroon short-shorts can I bowl on your team?
Answer: You can be the captain of the entire league if you show up like that. Just no jorts please. I don’t want anyone to think we welcome Gators fans.