Each week PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your submitted questions about the Bucs. You can have your question answered by asking on Twitter using the #PRMailbag hashtag and also on the message boards. Here are this week’s five questions.
Question: Vernon Hargreaves I though had a lackluster rookie campaign. Do you think if he doesn’t come out and make an impact we move on and call it a bust?
Answer: I am not sure if this is a legitimate question and comment or not, but I will answer it anyway. First, for a rookie cornerback thrown into the fire in a defense being coached by a first-year coach, I thought he performed admirably. Hargreaves, like most every other player on defense started off the season with issues, but as the year went along, the production for the defense and Hargreaves greatly improved. There is no question the transition from college to pro wasn’t an easy one, but it rarely is for cornerbacks, not to mention adding in being part of a first-year defense. With that said, I expect Hargreaves to be one of, if not the, most improved defensive player in 2017. Mike Evans talked about Hargreaves last week.
“In OTAs, I’ve noticed that he’s talking more,” Evans said. “At first, he was real quiet. He’s talking more, he’s showing out, he’s making plays. He looks real good.”
If that translates into production for next season is still up for debate, but by all indications, Hargreaves is due to have a much improved 2017 campaign. And even if he doesn’t, to say a player after two seasons is a bust, would be crazy in my opinion. I think most would agree that the former Gators standout has all the physical tools to be successful, now it is just up to him to put it all together. Experience is the biggest teacher at the position he plays.
Question: Why do the Bucs wear white jerseys for the first few home games? I thought those were away colors?
Answer: While I am not sure an actual answer has ever been stated by the organization, I suspect it is due to the heat factor. A lighter colored jersey doesn’t retain the same heat as a dark jersey. Or so some think. There is some debate on that however. While dark colors may absorb more heat, they reportedly also radiates more heat possible making it cooler. Or so the opinions of some would say. I googled it, and found arguments on it going back and forth. It could also be something as simple as that is what the Glazers or Dirk Koetter prefer. Maybe it is just a looks thing. But even going back to the creamsicle days, the team often wore the white jerseys at home early in the season before wearing the orange ones later in the season.
Another question, brought up often by Scott Reynolds is, if they are going to wear white uniforms, why don’t they always wear the pewter pants. Personally I like the white on white, and I am not a fan of the pewter pants. Especially where they start getting wet from sweat. To me it looks like, well, you get the idea.
Question: Please give us an update on how rookie free agent QB Sefo Liufau is doing. Don’t hear much.
Answer: Part of why you don’t hear much is he isn’t doing as much. Essentially fourth on the depth chart, Liufau is buried deep on the roster and doesn’t get as many reps as the ones ahead of him. For one thing he is still new to this offense, and secondly the Bucs have a larger financial investment in Ryan Griffin and Ryan Fitzpatrick. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a future here in Tampa Bay or in the NFL. It is just going to be an uphill struggle. I can say, based on the rookie mini-camp he was the more impressive quarterback that weekend. At 6-4, he has the looks of an NFL QB and also showed off a pretty strong arm during that windy weekend back in April. He will be fun to watch during the team’s training camp and we will try and watch him a little more closely during this week’s mandatory mini-camp.
Question: How will the coaching staff be with playing time in the preseason to avoid injuries with veterans? Like any other year or more strict?
Answer: I don’t imagine we will see much deviation from what we saw last season. Perhaps a few less plays from players like Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy, or maybe even Jameis Winston, but while preseason games aren’t the same as regular season games, they still give you a better look and are more beneficial than going up against your own defense day in and day out. They are needed, no question. It is the toughest three games (the fourth preseason game starters rarely play) of the year as far as anxiety for coaches and the front office. But you just hold your breath, pray and keep your lucky rabbit’s foot in your pocket if you are Dirk Koetter and hope for the best.
Question: I think we got a real gem in Boise State WR Thomas Sperbeck, what’s the chances he makes the roster?
Answer: It is still too early to make roster predictions, but I will say, he has caught my eye somewhat, in the same way Adam Humphries did three years ago. Sperbeck appears to be one of those smaller (5-11, 187), yet fearless guys, who will always be in the right place at the right time. Not blessed necessarily all the tools of guys like Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson, Sperbeck will have to carve out his own niche in the same way Humphries did as an undrafted free agent. Whatever it ends up being, special teams will have to be a big part of things if he ends up sticking somehow. He is a guy you like to pull for, but this team isn’t keeping guys just because they might have a rags-to-riches story. The best 53 will stick. If Sperbeck is one of them then he will have earned it with his play on the field.
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 email@example.com
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