Once again PewterReport.com takes your questions and comments and adds our thoughts to your reader submitted questions in this weekly feature. You can share your thoughts and questions each week by sending your questions to us on Twitter by using the hashtag, @PRMailbag.
Question: What was your overall impression of the Bucs draft?
Answer: I have definitely warmed up to it since it ended. I never thought it was bad by any stretch, but I had a few question marks. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Justin Evans, Kendall Beckwith or the Jeremy McNichols picks immediately, but after talking with some people in the organization, they make more sense than maybe I understood initially. But I am also smart enough to know that Jason Licht and his staff have forgotten more about football scouting than I will know. A perfect example? The Kwon Alexander pick a few years ago. The team had just given Bruce Carter a lot of money to sign and it was a real head scratcher at the time. Well, we see how that has turned out so far.
The O.J. Howard pick was terrific obviously. He should, if he stays healthy, add so much to this offense. And there could be games where he might only have three catches for 27 yards or so, but the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet can’t be ignored or underestimated. Just his presence on the field opens up things that will make this offense click, and helps Jameis Winston a better quarterback. And don’t write off Stevie Tu’ikolovatu too quick. He has a legitimate chance to stick and be part of a bigger, run-stuffing defensive line.
Question: Can the offense be Top 5 this year? I truly believe the team is loaded with talent. Can this offense be something special?
Answer: I am not trying to jinx anyone, but the thing that is most important for success is keeping the offense fairly healthy. If they do that, this offense should eclipse the record setting one of two seasons ago. I still wonder if perhaps they should have addressed the running back spot earlier, but I can say, this team is very high on Jeremy McNichols. You can’t argue the fact that on paper at least the wide receiver corps is much better with the addition of DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin. And Mike Evans should be even better than last season if you believe that is possible.
Add in Howard to the room with Cam Brate and all of a sudden who are the defenses going to double team? Fingers crossed the Bucs offense avoids any catastrophic injury and they should be as good, if not better, than any offense we have seen in Tampa Bay over the last 41 season.
Hang on tight. It should be fun to watch.
Question What are the realistic expectations for Jeremy McNichols before and after Doug Martin’s return?
Answer: The first order of business is to make sure the shoulder issue (turn labrum) is fine and he is 100 percent ready when camp starts. If that is the case, he will be in the mix to contribute very early. Then it depends on his success after he earns the right to get some snaps. This team is very excited to see what he can do when healthy and at the very least I think he is a very strong candidate to take playing time away, and possible a roster spot, away from Charles Sims.
I believe in a perfect world the team would love Martin to come back like the 2015 Martin and handle the load. But if for some reason he doesn’t, the organization has faith that Jacquizz Rodgers can do a respectable job. The Bucs also want to see what they have in Peyton Barber.
Question: Do the Bucs players /coaches wish USF would build their own stadium?
Answer: Interesting question for sure, but one I have never heard anything about. I suppose the players would prefer to play on a surface that doesn’t get worn and chewed up, sometimes the night before the Bucs play. But the crew at Raymond James does a tremendous job getting the field in really good shape following Bulls games.
Personally I would love to see the Bulls get their own stadium on campus. I think it would add to the excitement of being a Bulls fan. No matter how much they cover the red with green at RayJay, it still doesn’t feel like the Bulls are truly in their own stadium.
However, the organization like the current deal I am guessing, as the lease calls for them to receive almost all the revenue from concessions and parking when the Bulls play.
Question: Are the Bucs really content to roll into the season with what they have at RB or could they possibly look to trade for a displaced starter like Jeremy Hill?
Answer: If you would have asked me this two months ago, I might have answered differently. But unless they are completely bluffing, this team is more than content to head into this season with their current crop of rostered running backs. Anything is possible, and things could certainly change once camp gets here, but for now I don’t see the Buccaneers making any inquires about Hill, or any other veteran back. They could have gotten Adrian Peterson on the cheap had they felt he was an upgrade. So the lack of any major shakeups, speaks volumes in my opinion.
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]
I think the success of the upcoming offense is going to depend on the health of the O-line. The team appears to be supremely confident in the current group, but if there are injuries, it’s going to cool off the production from both running and passing numbers.
Yes I agree. If the injury bug hits the O-Line all of those skill players will not have a good season.
I remember Dirk Koetter’s first year as OC here in Tampa and he was asked about the O line. He said it didn’t really matter if you had big name players or not. He said there are always ways to get the protection you need. You can chip, you can double, you can max protect, you can get rid of the ball quickly, you can trap and pull, and you can leave a back in to help. I loved his “no excuses” attitude then and I still do. This offense will do well if they stay healthy at QB. That is what matters most.
A link to the SI article…
That sounds really great and smart and all. David Irving says hi, though.
I am not happy with the Justin Evans pick. He runs a slow 4.57 40. His playing speed comes from anticipation but the NFL QB’s will move him and he doesn’t have the speed to recover. He is not a legitimate Free Safety prospect. His tackling is horrid so he’s not a strong safety prospect either. If he sticks it will be because of special teams. I can see his kamikaze style making an impact there. So next year we draft another safety high. I hope I am wrong because we really can’t afford to miss on second round picks.
I’m with you Mark, don’t write off Mr.T, Stevie. This guys already my hero. Good article By Fennelly in the Times, a must read. We needed a run stuffing tackle, Mike Smith always had one, now he does. I give Licht an A for finally picking up a gem in the 7th round instead of a fullback.
The offense will again flourish this year but Winston and the offensive line will both have to improve for it to do so.
Winston must improve on his completion percentage and take better care of the ball. Although I don’t hold him accountable for all of his INT’s, there were still to many that were directly attributable to him.
Of course there were a wide variety for many of them, there were very few were he misread the coverage and threw an INT because of it.
Knowing Winston as we do, he is definitely working on the problem and I hope part of the process is him working on his foot work and lower body mechanics.
As for the offensive line, the weak link there appears to be Kevin Pamphille and not Donovan Smith. The unit could also use a leader in the form of Logan Mankins.
Smith has gotten better every year he has played but we still here the same chirping from his detractors using the same negatives that were used against him during the draft.
Hopefully Pamphile, with a full season under his belt, will improve at the left guard position because Mankins play and leadership was sorely missed last year.
Many people moaned about the Bucs not taking a better back at No. 3, but I believe Licht looked at the two positions of WR and RB and decided after last year, another quality WR was needed in case one of our two top WRs went out for a while with an injury which would have left us in the same position as last year.
As for the Justin Evans pick, most draft “experts” had him going at No. 2 or 3. His detractors, like Kram, makes him sound like he should have been an after the draft FA tryout for the roster.
I think I’ll take the opinion of the man who saw the diamond in kwon Alexander over that of someone who sits on a couch and regurgitates negative draft analysis.
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