The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our Twitter account. 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 PR Bucs Monday Mailbag. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.

Question: What is the beef with Gerald McCoy all about? Any plans to address it with him?

Answer: To quote Ron Burgundy in Anchorman – “Well, that escalated quickly.” Three weeks ago, in one of his SR’s Fab 5 columns, Scott Reynolds wrote an opinion piece saying essentially, McCoy needed to step up his leadership or step aside and let Pro Bowl middle linebacker Kwon Alexander become the face and leader of the defense. His reasoning was, McCoy was thrust into the whole “face of the franchise” thing as a rookie in 2010, and while he took on that role, it is one he never seemed completely comfortable with.

McCoy is a good solider. He understood after being the overall No. 3 pick in the draft that it came with the territory. McCoy has hinted at that a number of times over the years, including soon after Jameis Winston was drafted No. 1 and also thrust into that spotlight as the face of the franchise. The thing is, Reynolds never questioned McCoy as a football player or as a person. If anything, he went out of his way to praise him for it in his SR’s Fab 5.

“Let’s get a few things straight before we tackle this topic.

Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of the elite players in the NFL and has been for a long time. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler for a reason. McCoy is currently the most decorated player in Tampa Bay and he’s a future Bucs Ring of Honor inductee.

McCoy deserves to be a team captain for his accomplishments and his lead-by-example style. I have a great deal of respect for him professionally and personally. McCoy is a great community servant and role model. He represents the Buccaneers with class. McCoy deserves to be a leader in Tampa Bay, and no, the team shouldn’t trade him this offseason or anytime soon.

Now here comes the tough love.”

Reynolds went onto suggest Alexander may be better equipped, personality-wise, to take on certain leadership responsibilities on the defensive side of the football. Soon thereafter McCoy blocked @PewterReport on Twitter, as he has done with others from time to time when he doesn’t agree with something that was written. He has a right to do that, and we didn’t take any exception to it. That doesn’t change our opinion of McCoy as a player or a person.

If you go back and look, PewterReport.com has been very favorable in its coverage McCoy over the years unlike some in the media and in the fan base who have questioned his impact and “nice guy” style of play. Not everyone can be Warren Sapp. There is plenty of room on a team for lead-by-example players. Bucs Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon wasn’t a rah-rah guy. Neither were Bucs Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks or Bucs Hall of Fame candidate Ronde Barber for the most part. It wasn’t a personal shot at McCoy. It was merely a critique, which is a legitimate facet of any reporter.

The fact is, a guy like Alexander isn’t going to step on McCoy’s toes, he has a good deal of respect for him and understands the pecking order. Reynolds was merely suggesting if McCoy isn’t comfortable in the role of being the outspoken alpha leader on defense, perhaps it would be best to step back and turn it over to someone who was, like Alexander.

The current way hasn’t worked as there has been a lack of accountability and winning culture in Tampa Bay for quite a while, including last year. McCoy has admitted to such, as recently as earlier this year at the Pro Bowl where he said players (without mentioning Chris Baker by name) needed to be held more accountable.

Guys have to band together, McCoy said on WDAE via The Times. We’ve got to come together as a team and unit and get on the same page. We weren’t always on the same page.

I think myself and Lavonte [David], we take a lot of blame for that. Not doing enough in the room or at practice. If this thing is going to change, we need to take this thing over and make sure it changes.

I talked to Sapp and Brooks and one thing they did, they did it, McCoy said on WDAE via The Times. They took it over. We’ve got to do a better job of taking it over. A lot of what I’m saying is it’s my fault things didn’t go the way they were supposed to go. But we’re going to face that.

I have known Reynolds for 25 years. There is no agenda against McCoy at all – if anything he wants more out of him to help get the Bucs over the hump. Reynolds has defended him more times than not. Maybe too much in some people’s opinion. Through the years McCoy and Reynolds have had locker room bets and have had a good relationship since the six-time Pro Bowler entered the league in 2010.

That is why it was personally disheartening to see McCoy call Reynolds a coward via Twitter, which is just wrong. He and Reynolds texted back and forth on Sunday and Reynolds texted him twice saying he was ready and willing to meet McCoy face-to-face and has yet to receive a reply.

And perhaps most importantly, Reynolds always puts his name on what he writes. That can’t be said for everyone. 

At the end of the day both Reynolds and McCoy are grown men who are allowed to have their own opinions – just as Bucs fans are entitled to the same right. McCoy wants to get to the playoffs. PewterReport.com would like to see this team reach the playoffs, too. It’s been too long. It benefits everyone to see this team make the playoffs. Whatever it takes to get there is what it is all about. Perhaps McCoy uses Reynolds’ critique as more motivation and it pours gasoline on an already burning fire.

PewterReport.com will continue to cover the Bucs with fairness, objectivity and accountability – regardless if a player, coach or member of the front office agrees or disagrees. PewterReport.com has no personal beef with McCoy. He is a Buccaneer and a damn good one.

Question: With the relationship Gerald McCoy and Michael Bennett has (as displayed in the 2017 Pro Bowl) can we agree making that signing could ignite Gerald career and really bring the beast out of him?

Answer: I wouldn’t say McCoy’s career needs to be ignited. He could retire today and he would go down as one of the best Bucs players in franchise history. But McCoy will be the first to tell you there is something missing, and that is a long overdue trip to the playoffs.

Who knows how things might have turned out had the Bucs kept Bennett? There is no way to look into the future, but we do know it would have had to have been better than it has been since he left in 2012, right? The guy has notched 39 sacks in that span. The Bucs defensive ends might not have combined for that many over the last five years. It will go down as one of the team’s biggest blunders, in my opinion, and that is saying a lot. This team has a history of major gaffes that end up biting them in the rear down the road.

We can debate Bennett’s personality or character all day, but the bottom line is this team needs pass rush help desperately, and Bennett would provide that. And while igniting McCoy might not be accurate, it would certainly help this defense, and that in turn should also help McCoy.

Question: With a seventh round supplemental pick and two sixth round round picks, please speculate why the Bucs weren’t prepared to add a sixth-round pick to top Dolphins’ offer for Robert Quinn. Injury history, gap in talent vs. Ayers not worthy of higher price tag in Licht’s mind? What is your best guess?

Answer: This one, on the surface, is a head-scratcher. Now in defense of the Bucs, why did the Rams want to basically give Quinn away? Wade Phillips, their defensive coordinator, can work with anyone and loves pass rushers. Often there are behind the scene reasons that fans and many in the media don’t know about. Injury issues, character problems, work ethic and so on.

I keep thinking if you knew a fourth-round pick would notch you 8.5 sacks next year, you wouldn’t be able to turn your draft card in fast enough. So then why would the Bucs gamble on drafting a fourth-rounder and hoping he turns into an 8.5 sack guy when there is one being dangled in front of them? I could see balking at a first- or second-rounder, but a fourth-rounder? There had to have been some extenuating circumstances. General manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter know their jobs are on the line and need to win. I just can’t believe that compensation was the hold back on pulling the trigger. Perhaps the Rams didn’t want to trade Quinn in the conference and decided that an AFC team like Miami would be a better fit.

Question: For Trevor, regarding your Cover 3 on Minkah Fitzpatrick. You liken him more to a nickel than a SS due to his size but could Bucs brass draft him as a SS in the ‘multiple’ role and if so could you see it being successful despite your valid reservations about that philosophy?

Answer (Trevor Sikkema): To answer in short: yes.
The Bucs could draft Fitzpatrick and play him at nickel or strong safety or some sort of hybrid of that. He has that skill and NFL teams need three good cornerbacks in today’s game where teams are playing nickel defense at least 60-70 percent of the time. My point was just that they already have a nickel cornerback in Vernon Hargreaves, so if you’re drafting Fitzpatrick, you’re replacing a talent you already had instead of inserting a new one – unless you think Hargreaves can still be a starting outside cornerback.
But, even though every team likely needs three good cornerbacks, you’re not going to pick one in the Top 10 if you’re not going to play them at outside as a shutdown. It’s about the draft-position value there.
I like Fitzpatrick. I think he can play any position he wants at defensive back. But, if you only view him as a safety, and it’s not a single-high free safety because the Bucs already have Evans, then you’re already devaluing his potential as a Top 10 pick by limiting him to a safety role and not a more important outside cornerback role.
Talent isn’t the issue. Where they view him as a player is the question. If the Bucs are looking for a pure outside cornerback then Ohio State’s Denzel Ward might be a better first-round option.

 

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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, the beach and family time.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 mark@pewterreport.com
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cgmaster27
3 years ago

IN terms of Gerald, he has been a great player here and many of his years may have been “wasted” as he never really had a stud DE to work with. But as much as we love Gerald, he has thin skin, here’s no two ways around it. He’s always cared what others think of him and that’s not a bad thing, just something that’s not conducive to someone in the position of a pro athlete. I mean if he wants to see some heat, go look at any post about Jameis, that’s real heat right there. As for the… Read more »

FLBoy84
3 years ago

Would be great if GMC could project some of that anger he has for SR towards some of the OL’s he going to face in 2018. Have read the Bucs offered a 4th for Quinn, but still baffled that they evidently weren’t willing to go any more than that considering the other DE options that are going to be available in FA and the draft. Hoping there’s a bigger picture we’re not able to see yet. And anyone else feel that maybe deal-making is probably not Licht’s strong suite? Seems like a decent evaluator of talent, but, when it comes… Read more »

Jolly Bucs Fan
Reply to  FLBoy84
3 years ago

I doubt that Licht wasnt willing to swap sixths with the Rams like the Fins did.

My guess is when the Rams didnt get a significant different (i.e. Bucs or other NFC team offering a 2nd or 3rd) that they decided that sending Quinn to the AFC would be worth more than the little extra the Bucs might offer

FLBoy84
Reply to  Jonathan Goodfellow
3 years ago

Solid point.

TBAtlas
3 years ago

Said it before, will say it again.

You don’t just hand someone leadership. If a guy like Alexander is so suitable to be the leader, then he would be a leader by now. It’s not like Gerald has it stashed in his locker and he’s not letting anyone take it out.

As for Quinn, I would imagine the Rams wouldn’t want him in the NFC either. From what I’ve heard, the Rams were pretty low on him. The only thing that’s a real negative for Quinn is that you’re stuck with his 12 million dollar salary from what I see.

Buc-Up
Reply to  JustaBuc
3 years ago

Good point, Warren Sapp still established himself as a vocal leader and endorcer even though Hardy Nickerson was already doing it. Hardy didn’t mind having another person to help him kick some butts when needed!

FLBoy84
Reply to  Buc-Up
3 years ago

The difference between then and now is that Nickerson and Sapp literally DID kick some butts when needed.

FLBoy84
Reply to  FLBoy84
3 years ago

Not saying we need an IK Enemkpali (see Geno Smith’s jaw) in there, but it shouldn’t have taken until the end of the year for somebody to get in Baker’s face for being lazy, undisciplined and not giving a @--#$!. Even Dotson said as much in his PR podcast interview. Having guys like that on the team that go unchecked affects the entire team, not just their position group. It’s a bit of an indictment on the coaching staff as well, who obviously either didn’t see or failed to address Baker’s issues, and is probably a big part of reason… Read more »

Dman
3 years ago

McCoy and David have been on the squad together for years. If they haven’t taken things over the way Sapp and Brooks did by now, don’t hold your breath. McCoy is a good, not great player. LaVonte David is the most underrated and overlooked player in the league and absolutely one of the All Time Bucs Greats. McCoy talks, talks, talks about being the guy, but just hasn’t been. Tired of all the “He’s great” hype. He NEVER shows up to WIN games – NEVER. At his age he’s perfect to be traded for draft picks the way the Patriots… Read more »

wnb0395
Reply to  Dman
3 years ago

So in an effort to build our defensive line you would send our best defensive line player and pro bowler to the colts for an unproven DE? How does that improve our defensive line?

Dman
Reply to  wnb0395
3 years ago

Best lineman that does what for us? By the time we build enough around him he’ll have lost that first step – which is his only move. Good guy, decent player, but not a leader, not going to be in his prime when the rest of the team is able to compete.

Devasher
3 years ago

“PewterReport.com will continue to cover the Bucs with fairness, objectivity and accountability – regardless if a player, coach or member of the front office agrees or disagrees. ” Wait, when did this happen? I though I was following PR’s reporting closely and now this? Are you telling me that after 4 years on the job and the worst record of any Bucs GM over a quarter century, Scott is going to stop rationalizing every poor decision made by Jason Licht and finally to call him out as a below average GM? Just kidding Mark, we know that isn’t going to… Read more »

stlbucsfan
3 years ago

We missed out on Quinn for the same reason we never pursued Calais Campbell last offseason bc they were focused on the emerging force known as Chris Baker lol. Jason Licht has been a terrible evaluator of DL and this offseason is no different. Muhammed Wilkerson is already being linked to the Packers while we sit quiet and wait. We let Quinn leave when we realistically could’ve given the Rams a 3rd for Quinn and not batted an eye. We have over 70 M in cap space and a mountain sized hole at both DEs but yet again he sits… Read more »

Devasher
Reply to  stlbucsfan
3 years ago

When Mark Dominik’s job was on the line he mortgaged the future sending the 13th overall pick in the draft and a future 4th for one 16 million dollar year of Darelle Revis. He was still fired. When Jason Licht’s job is on the line, he scoff’s at sending more than a 4th round pick for a former first round 27 year old pass rusher who had 8.5 sacks last year and once tallied 19 sacks in a season (Bucs entire defense combined for 22 last year). He also seems content to letting another former first round pass rusher with… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  stlbucsfan
3 years ago

Definitely on the “we need to address the DL” train, but see Wilkerson as basically Baker 2.0. Guy got paid and then shut it down up in NY, along with consistently missing meetings, etc. Not much reason to think he’d be any different in Tampa.

Devasher
Reply to  FLBoy84
3 years ago

While I understand the comparison of attitudes of the two players, their respect talents are starkly different.

Baker at 320 lbs is only 5 pounds heavier than Wilkerson at 315.

Chris Baker has 12 sacks in his 8 year career. Muhammad Wilkerson had 12 sacks in 2015 alone and 44.5 in his career.

You want sign a player who has talent rushing the passer but don’t want to give up a first round pick or risk 50 million guaranteed? Then you’re going to have to take players with some warts on them.

FLBoy84
Reply to  Devasher
3 years ago

Not discounting Wilkerson has been more productive than Baker, but don’t see the Bucs bringing in someone with a similar tanking issue as him. Wilks sacks by year – (’11-3.0), (’12-5.0), (’13-10.5), (’14-6.0), (’15-12.0-got paid), (’16-4.5), (’17-3.0). Granted he’s only missed 7 games over the last 7 years, but over the last 2 years Robert Ayers has more sacks than him (in 4 less games) if you’re just going by stats.

Devasher
Reply to  FLBoy84
3 years ago

Wilkerson broke his leg at the end of the 2016 season and had surgery to correct it. It’s certainly a factor in his play in 2017, in addition to his allergy to being at meetings on time. But let’s not pretend that Chris Baker or Robert Ayers and Muhammad Wilkerson are in the same league in talent or overall production. I’m willing to buy low on a guy who has done it in his career over one who never has, especially given the mess that the current line happens to be in thanks to the stewardship of our incredible GM.… Read more »

stlbucsfan
Reply to  FLBoy84
3 years ago

This whole character thing is a bunch of nonsense. The reports out of Washington last year were very clear when detailing the issues they had with Baker. We signed him in spite of that information not because it wasn’t available. Wilkerson however is much more talented and that talent has shown itself with a couple of double digit sack seasons. If properly motivated then he has shown the ability to produce, if we don’t have the staff to motivate him then that’s the bigger problem. Jason Licht watched Calais Campbell dominate while both were with the Cardinals and still thought… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  stlbucsfan
3 years ago

If the money was more comparable have to believe the Bucs FO would’ve preferred Campbell as a Buc instead of Baker. Baker had many more warts than Campbell, and the FO may have felt Hayes, McCoy and Co could keep him in line, which was an obvious miscalculation (and ya have to know Baker said all the right things on his visit as well). Baker was definitely a 2nd tier FA compared to Campbell, which is why he got 3 year/$15,750,000 instead of 4 year/ $60,000,000.

Devasher
Reply to  FLBoy84
3 years ago

Baker and William Gholston have played in a combined 14 seasons in the NFL. They’ve combined for 22 sacks.

Prior to his 14.5 sack explosion this year Calais Campbell had 57 sacks in 9 seasons.

It seems like paying two mediocre players who have less than half the amount of sacks in 5 more seasons 11 million a year vs one very good player 15 million is a poor choice. But then again I’m not a historically bad GM so what do I know?

stlbucsfan
Reply to  stlbucsfan
3 years ago

We have over 70M in cap space and had an equally ridiculous number of space last year, cash is not the issue. If Jason made upgrading the DT a priority like he should have then paying for a player like Campbell would’ve made sense. He instead sank 40M in Gholston and Baker which amounted to a whole lot of nothing. We misdiagnose our real weaknesses every offseason and spend our summers swapping out safeties when the trenches remain terrible. They are already saying “we are higher on our OL than everybody else” yet we watched Doug struggle to find running… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  stlbucsfan
3 years ago

Definitely with you on the staff overvaluing their own players, have brought that up on a few occasions. Very frustrating from a fan pov.

Dman
Reply to  stlbucsfan
3 years ago

Build from the trenches out.

Mike Wright
3 years ago

Funny how many so called Bucs fans despise McCoy. He’s been the one true warrior we have had for quite some time. He’s never been surrounded by the D line talent he deserves or would complement him. And I suspect this trend is going to continue in 2018. He’s getting long in the tooth. Hopefully, he will be around to see the positive change in 2019 when Licht/Koetter/Smitty are shown the door.

Darin
3 years ago

The Quinn deal was beyond a head scratcher. And of course they prefer an afc team, if all else is equal. Its simple business. The rams would have sold to the highest bidder. Theyre not worried about quinn beating them next year. Licht low balled them. He messed up bad. Should have easily gave up a 3rd for Quinn. 8.5 sacks last year playing out of position. He will have 10 plus this year going back to a 4-3 DE. He is a great pass rushing DE. Easily worth a 3rd. I will never understand this non move. Especially after… Read more »

Devasher
Reply to  Darin
3 years ago

Jason Licht only trades 3rd round picks to trade up for kickers Darin…you’re asking too much of him to think he’d spare one for a 27 year old edge rusher with 62.5 career sacks.

Ken - Kfromfla
3 years ago

No one despises Gerald McCoy. Some people just see him for what he is, a good player whose single objective for playing football is he own popularity, period. The only way to get a rise out of him is to tell him that he has not been good enough. Gerald does not care about losing. He leaves losing efforts with a big smile on his face. That giant grin and hand shake he gave Kirk Cousins after he did zero to stop a 24 – 0 implosion to blow one of the biggest leads in franchise history should be proof… Read more »

Dbuc63
Reply to  Ken - Kfromfla
3 years ago

Very good points Ken. Been posting periodically last 2 years same thing. If a team gave us a top 10 pick for McCoy I’d take it in a heart beat. We are more than 1 draft away and need “very good” players on the D- line. McCoy’s “good/very good” status is up in a couple years assuming he doesn’t get injured. Parading into camp last year for hard knocks in a clown suite speaks VOLUMES about his leadership skills. Let’s copy the Belichick way; it’s a winning formula!

Dman
Reply to  Ken - Kfromfla
3 years ago

Thank you – this guy is not the answer. Belichick trades these types of players for premium picks all the time. Gets premium pick for guys that are at the end of the road and restocks with more young talent with higher draft picks. Then coaches guys up to continue winning games.

wnb0395
Reply to  Ken - Kfromfla
3 years ago

Ken, you make some good points but tell me this:

Name me one game when McCoy didn’t consistently get double and triple teamed. Dude has no help and every ones game plan is to double McCoy. If he had any type of talent around him on the Dline at all he would consistently post double digit sacks numbers. He is top 5 at his position every year despite being the only player on our Dline that opponents game plan for.

Ken - Kfromfla
Reply to  wnb0395
3 years ago

wnb0395, please stop making excuses for that grown man. EVERY decent DT in the NFL gets doubled. Do you think that Aaron Donald is not doubled/tripled? Do you think that Sapp was not doubled and tripled in 1997 – 10.5 sacks, 1999 – 12.5 sacks. and 2000 – 16.6 sacks. Teams did everything they could to stop that 4-time 1st Team All Pro, and Sapp fought through it. How many times did you hear Sapp complain about the doubles? He used his heavy hands to split them and still terrorized. McCoy cannot do that, so he just complains that “Its… Read more »

Pit of misery
3 years ago

Look who McCoy has had on defense his career and who Sapp had playing with him on defense! Case closed get the man some help!!!

surferdudes
3 years ago

Ken I can answer that, never. I’m sick of hearing the McCoy fans say he’s never had the help he needs to make a difference, great players make those around them shine, not the other way around. McCoy will never turn the leadership roll over to Kwon because he’s a selfish media whore who craves the spot light. Look how he showed up for camp, wearing that silly robe, with his red little curls hamming it up for the hard knocks cameras. At home he has a life size Batman doll for crying out loud. He’s a smiling clown, who’s… Read more »

scubog
3 years ago

I think we sometimes forget that people in the public bullseye are not much different than the rest of us when it comes to our desire to be viewed favorably. Just because a celebrity has the riches most of us desire, it can’t buy them the “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me” mindset if they aren’t born with that trait. I do think that athletes should refrain from retorts that often just make it worse and make them appear, as someone said, “thin skinned.” We all know how Scott feels about Gerald McCoy. Many of us feel the… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  scubog
3 years ago

Trade McCoy to the Seahawks for Bennett and the Seahawks second round pick and this draft and a third round pick in 2019.

sidetrack
3 years ago

Quinn to the Dolphins is unacceptable. I don’t buy any of the scenarios where maybe Licht didn’t know about it, or the Rams didn’t want to trade him to the NFC. Clearly the Bucs biggest need was edge rusher (by far)and one of the best youngish edge pass rushers was available at a bargain price, and Licht didn’t make it happen. Go out and make it happen Licht! There aren’t many DE’s available in free agency or the draft. I was on the fence about Licht before, now I know this guy doesn’t have it. In my opinion, this was… Read more »

Jack
3 years ago

I rarely comment on stuff, but I’m with McCoy. I’ve stopped reading most of SR’s articles on PR. Mark and Trevor are the best, but SR lost me with all the Gruden nonsense, and even before than I’d grown tired of his tabloid takes on the Bucs. SR spends too much time calling for people’s heads and too little time on valuable analysis.

Mark & Trevor, keep up the good work.

matador
3 years ago

Trevor is The Man. Dilly Dilly!