It is Monday, and that means PewterReport.com answers your questions about the Bucs in an all new Monday Mailbag. You can have your question answered by submitting it on Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.
Answer: Without being in the meeting rooms it is hard to say how close to expectations he has come performance wise. I did speak to someone prior to the Jaguars game who said the Bucs have been pleased overall. The team did a lot of homework on him prior to signing him and aren’t disappointed or have any regrets at this point. I think with veteran players it is better to judge a player’s performance once the regular season begins.
As far as the pass rush goes, I wouldn’t put that on Baker anyway. Sure they like his ability to collapse the pocket, while also being stout in the middle against the run, but they didn’t sign him necessarily to be a sack master. If he can notch four or five they will take it, but his signing was more to get bigger and strengthen the team up the middle.
But yes, there are genuine concerns from PewterReport.com about the lack of pass rush from the starters in the preseason. Only one of the team’s regular rotation of defensive lineman has had a sack, and that came from Noah Spence last Saturday. Three of the five total sacks in the preseason have come from blitzes.
Answer: Unfortunately with Griffin going down so early in the first preseason game, it is nearly impossible to say he would be a better option, even when healthy, over Fitzpatrick. There are just too may unanswered questions right now. The one thing we do know is, Fitzpatrick hasn’t looked great in the preseason. The staff does like Fitzpatrick because of his experience in the league. There is little he hasn’t seen a 100 times before, and he and Winston have a good relationship. He is almost like another coach out there for Winston. Which is a good thing. I have maintained the season is over if Winston goes down, regardless if it is Fitzpatrick or Griffin having to come in for an extended period of time.
Question: Is there any trade value for Charles Sims? Why doesn’t he return kicks?
Answer: I don’t know there is much out there as far as trade value. Perhaps a seventh round pick, but why trade him for that? His benefit to the team is much more valuable that what a late round pick might bring in my opinion. He is still the best third down back on the roster, and is still explosive and shifty in the open field. His problem more than anything is the inability to stay healthy. Like Martin, when he has, he has been productive. If he is healthy he has carved out a nice niche in the NFL, and while it isn’t being a three-down back, it is still a valuable one. Count me as a big fan of Sims who I think will be very involved with the offense this season. IF he manages to stay on the field.
Question: Do you think Bucs kicker & kick returner are currently on the roster?
Answer: I do think they are. The Cleveland game provided a bit of clarity, especially at the kicker position. Nick Folk bounced back after a shaky outing in Jacksonville last week and gave a general manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter a break from the bottle of Tums they have both been chewing on every time a kicker walked out on the field.
As far as a punt returner I would expect to still see Adam Humphries out there against the Dolphins in 13 days, however, Bernard Reedy gave the coaches a glimpse of things in case they choose to keep Humphries on the sidelines in the regular season after a third down defensive stop.
Kickoff returner is most likely going to be Ryan Smith to start the season. But it might be by committee as it was last season, unless someone establishes themselves.
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]
Baker got paid so far for doing nothing.
On the second day of camp, Dirk Koetter offered praise that suggests RB Charles Sims has much more job security than one would think. Koetter said “At the very least, Charles is a really good third down back who is great in pass protection, really good on the perimeter, and is an excellent receiver – you saw that today. He got loose in the flat a couple of times and he can do something with it once he’s out there”.
At the close of camp, Dirk Koetter was just as effusive. “He’s hittin’ the holes hard in the running game. He can play every position in the passing game, and he’s one of our best pass protectors, he’s also doing a really nice job on special teams. He’s playing in the core on special teams. He’s doing the dirty work on special teams because he’s such a good blocker. Charles, he doesn’t say much, but he is as solid as the day is long. He’s just a really good football player.”
I would draw from that proclamation that Sims has solidified a spot on the 53. I may be one of the few people that supported the draft pick and still believe that when used properly, he is one of the more elusive RBs in the NFL.
Sims problem is he can’t run between the tackles and he needs to stay healthy. The 2015 season was no fluke, but when Doug went down in 2016 and he was moved inside – total disaster. JMO, Sims is not going anywhere and we will see the Charles Sims of 2015 with a coach that now understands how to best use him. Go Bucs!
Mac you are far more informed and astute than I am (and I mean that completely sincerely) but there is no way I would use the 69th pick in the draft on Sims if we had it to do over again. Absolutely no way.
Not nearly as much of a waste as Roberto but in the same vein. – a luxury pick by a GM that has never had to rebuild a roster nearly from scratch before, and put the cart in front of,the horse multiple times while (hopefully) learning the lesson in the process.
As a finishing touch on a team with lots of talent and depth – maybe but honestly even then he was picked a round too high. For us given who we really are and were when he was drafted? No way.
You may be right. That was my opinion at the time the pick was made. In 2015 most Buc fans agreed. Everybody mostly shared your opinion in 2016. Let’s see what happens this year. Having said that, the gist of my post was that Koetter loves the guy and I can replay the pressers to let anyone hear what he said. Sims is a Tavon Austin type hybrid RB and must be used that way. Good luck this season. Let’s chat again. Go Bucs!
Baker is a clown on Hardknocks but haven’t seen anything on the field to justify his signing yet. Not saying he was a bust just saying he hasn’t done anything yet. Will see soon. They ran down our throats one game. Two others no push up middle. Very lackluster d line thus far. Yes it’s pre season, but that’s is concerning regardless.
Baker is going to prove his worth in the regular season… Finally, a Bucs season that we expect to win; been a long, long time.
In case people haven’t noticed, most of the veterans have been used very sparingly during the preseason.
The days of Ray Perkins grueling three a days are over, due in large part to a stronger union and also to more intelligent coaches.
If anyone cares to remember, Perkins teams were great at getting off to fast starts and then withering away during the middle and later parts of the season. A body can only take so much, especially in a grueling hot Florida sun.
Koetter is excited about getting that indoor facility but it isn’t because he wants to get his players out of the rain. Hell, if yo can practice in the rain it gives you a leg up on your competition that doesn’t, just like the snow and the extreme cold.
But it’s the sun and the energy sapping heat is what Koetter wants to give his players a spell from.
On the heels of the Julian Edelman injury and the one to the Chiefs starting RB, I think Kotter looked at those two incidents and decided to keep his more valuable commodities off the field or give them very limited playing time last Saturday night.
Coaches know injuries are going to happen, but to lose a star player during a meaningless preseason game is something they can’t stand.
Also, if you notice, a lot of veterans are given days off for nothing during training camp just to make sure their legs stay fresh.
I would imagine pretty soon, these so called “dress rehearsal” games are going to look more and more like the fourth preseason game.
You play as you practice. On that basis Clown Baker is just counting his money and is no team player sort of like our OL from Cincy that Licht gave a fortune to and we got nothing. If you think Baker is just going to hit a switch and play up to his money in the real games explain to me why he showed up out of shape just like a highly touted Clemson DE used to do and never amounted to nothing! Explain that to me. I wish I’m wrong and he suddenly takes off his Clark Kent Glasses and plays like Superman like Licht portrayed him, but I sure would not bet on it!!! If he doesn’t our DL is in trouble!
Worries about Baker are fair, but this is truly the guy he’s been for his entire career – he’s been known at his previous stops for not liking to practice hard or put in extra reps. His fitness has always been an on and off issue. It seems a bit silly to me for us to knock him for being the same guy he’s literally always been – the goof off who doesn’t really take practice seriously.
Maybe (hopefully) he is going to be able to play at a high level during the season. I do have my doubts. Vince Wilfork used to do this same thing – show up in rough shape at the beginning of every offseason, slack through some practices during training camp, then become a machine on September – December Sundays. Not saying Baker = Wilfork, but the point stands – he and others have previously shown the ability to increase effort and output when they choose to.
If Baker does not pan out we should put one of our two really big DL (and keep the other one in case the first has an injury) and play the three four most of the time with our All Pro 93 on one end and our best run stopping DE from Michigan State on the other end and line up our best speed rushing DE as one outside LB and our top SLB as the other outside LB and our two LSU LBs inside.
The baker signing was a mistake… way-overpaid a veteran then we let akeem spence (the strongest man in the d-line room) walk in free agency…
Deeznuts, How can you call the Baker signing a mistake when he hasn’t even taken an regular season snap. At least give him a game or 2 before labeling him a bad FA signing.
Akeem Spence does have a sack this pre season so Akeem may have the higher upside long term. Baker will have to prove his worth as a run stopper so it will be interesting to see the two players side by side.
Hope this D line Redskin free agent signing works out better than last one with Fat Albert Haynesworth. What a Lazy sack of shit he was after getting his free agent money. I think they overpaid a guy that’s likely not much better than Clinton McDonald. Really need DE more. See what happens I guess hope the guy plays hard now he got his contract.
I don’t think Koetter and staff are going to allow Baker to Haynesworth-it, myself… If he does, you-know-who is going to be in his face.
As I recall. we used to have a Hall of Fame DT who used to love to joke around, tease fellow players and have a good time during practice. There are plenty of videos out there that will demonstrate that fact. Oh yeah, he never met a bucket of chicken or a dozen donuts he didn’t like, either.
I suggest you doom and gloomers do what wnb0395 advised, wait till the regular season starts before you make any predictions or comparisons.
Doing what you are doing now just portrays you as a bunch of hysterical little children or even worse, vengeful adults.
BTW, by the time we got Haynesworth, he was finished. He also came with a ton of primma donna attitude, something Baker doesn’t have.
I also believe Baker was having the most fun in camp and mugging for the cameras which you guys take so seriously when he was busting open the OL of the Jaguars in front of their fans. That might possibly give you a clue about him and you.
Yeah, my first thought was “don’t they remember Sapp????”
Sapp practiced hard.
Sapp grinded in practice and played that way on game day. Sapp is a HOF player for that reason alone.
How can anyone compare Baker to Sapp.
Charles Sims has far more trade value than a 7th round pick. For those who are concerned with Baker, Im not entirely sure where people got him being a pass rusher. Baker is and has always been more of a NT, that is what he played in Washington and what he excelled at. He is a run stuffer and will pair nicely with the pass rush specialist Gerald Mccoy. Personally I think he is a better fit at NT than at a 3 tech Defensive tackle. Im my opinion if there is a player who hasnt performed up to par it is Saftey Justin Evans.
How could Licht have been so wrong giving up another second round pick after he had been chastized already in the past for blowing second round picks. It was no secret Justin had the risky habit of trying big hits high in lieu of wrapping up the ball carrier and taking him to the ground. He was also hurt at the time. All he has in his favor is speed and smooth running. I guarantee if you tried to trade him no other NFL Team would be so stupid. Any rookie GM would have picked Jameis and at 19 this year would have picked our star TE. Licht is highly overrated. He gave a good contract to our injured QB so we will have to keep him on the roster. We will be keeping three QBs which means we’ll cut a good player instead of a fragile QB who has never started in the NFL.
When you watch our extremely poor third string get outplayed by the Red Skin Third String once again; remember we have had the same bad quality third strings for every year Licht has been here. If he was as good as he thinks he is don’t you think he could pick better third string players than we have had to watch ad nauseum every year. No wonder he blows even second round picks routinely too just like his picks in free agency often have wasted millions of dollars as well. Are you seeing any pattern here?
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