It is Monday, and that means another Bucs Monday Mailbag where Mark Cook answers your submitted questions about the team. You can submit your own question for next week via twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.

Question: Objectively, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your level of concern regarding Winston’s training camp interceptions?

Answer: Maybe a 2? I really don’t lose any sleep over it. As I have mentioned on the Pewter Nation podcast, and on the What the Buc podcast, Winston isn’t keeping a tally of his practice stats. We saw Josh McCown a few years ago look like Tom Brady in the offseason with days where a ball rarely hit the ground. But that obviously didn’t translate to the games. Winston loves to see what he can and can’t get away with in practice. He has never been known as an outstanding practice player, going back to his days at Florida State. That comes from coaches.

He plays a game in his own head essentially. He knows check downs in practice don’t necessarily help him get better. Of course, he must be better this season as far as protecting the ball. He will get greedy, at times, and he has supreme confidence in his arm and tries to fit the ball into nearly impossible spots, at times. But, as Dirk Koetter has said, you don’t want to coach out the aggressiveness, because that is part of what makes Winston special. One other thing, these defensive backs have seen pretty much everything already and take more chances and guesses when in coverage during team period.

Question: This may have already been answered, but how has J. R. Sweezy looked this far through camp? Haven’t heard much.

Answer: I would say he has looked fine. I can’t say he has stood out, but I also don’t think he has disappointed either. The Bucs are giving a lot of guys reps, but so far Sweezy hasn’t stuck out like a sore thumb – and that is a good thing. When you don’t hear anything about an offensive lineman, it usually means he is doing his job. The one thing I wish we would see in practice is the 1-on-1’s with the offensive and defensive lines going up against each other.

I talked to coach Warhop the other day coming off the field just casually and he seems pleased with the line so far. Actually, I take that back. Coach Warhop never seems pleased. But, he expects this group to be better, including Donovan Smith, who he says has the potential to be one of the best in the league. If Smith wants to be he added.

Question: Thoughts on how rookie Jeremy McNichols looked so far? Will he have a role?

Answer: I think McNichols has played about to the expectations we had for him at this point in camp. I can’t say I have noticed anything that jumps out at me, although he does have good hands. The preseason games will tell us a lot about if he is ready to be a contributor in the NFL as a rookie. It is not about just running the football. His pass protection had to be solid and how quickly he can pick up the offense after not participating in the offseason due to his shoulder surgery recovery will be a big factor. We do know the team loves him and thinks he can succeed at this level. He is definitely one to keep an eye on starting next Friday night in Cincinnati.

Question: How will the cut from 90 straight to 53 affect how the team approaches practices and games later in the preseason?

Answer: I don’t know that it affects how they approach practice, but we do know Koetter likes have the full 90-man squad available for that final preseason game. The starters won’t play, so that is 22 players basically not dressed. Then you add in the handful that will be dinged up and unavailable to play. When there was the cut down to 75, it was tough to get enough bodies to play four quarters. So, coaches had to play some guys they would have preferred not to. And then you have guys saying, “why am I in the game,” but this guy isn’t.

Example last year when Austin Seferian-Jenkins played in the deluge against the Redskins at home. He wasn’t real pleased, but it was a bit of a necessity. The one group that probably doesn’t like it is the Hard Knocks crew, who was able to make the cut downs in the past, into two episodes. Now, it most likely will have to be just one show on the players coming in Koetter and general manager Jason Licht’s office to hear their fate.

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]

5 COMMENTS

  1. Jamies has to improve his accuracy. Love the guy but he misses guys wide open. Mostly high. The interceptions are more from gun slingin’, which I’m fine with. But get the ball down and his numbers and our wins go up.

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  2. Yes, I noticed the same thing about ASJ in last years final preseason game.
    You would have though with his past indiscretions he would have been a lot less demonstrative about his feelings.
    But a mind clouded with booze seldom allows you to think clearly.
    Despite that fact, I understand ASJ has sobered up, admitted he had a problem and is now in recovery and I hope he stays that way and does well, just not against the Bucs.

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  3. Yea Dman sailing balls over open guys heads needs to stop. That reminds me of Freeman. I think it’s mechanics driven and can be fixed. He sometimes doesn’t have his feet set. Also gets little too amped up at start of games. Needs find way to calm down first drive or two. Interceptions don’t concern me much with Winston either. That’s just another thing guys say that don’t know him or this team.

    Mark, I remember McClown lighting it up in pre-season then stinking it up when reg. Season started. Lol. To be fair I also think that was the worst offensive line play I’ve ever seen. He was running for his life in pre-season. I said we have big problem here. Everyone said oh it’s just pre-season doesn’t mean anything. I was thinking pre season or not if you can’t block anyone…. regular season started and he was pummeled. Lol. It didn’t help that he panicked and was acting like the ball was a hot potato. Lol. He looked horrible out there for sure. Turnover machine. Lol.

    Thank god the Glazers let Lovie go and hired Koetter. Lot guys here said how horrible that move was. I for one cheered it as the right thing. Just had no confidence in Lovie and knew Koetter had something.

    Anyways enough reminiscing about he good ole days. Lol.

    Go Bucs!

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  4. From my attendance at just one of the public practices, I noticed that Jameis routinely stares down his open receivers, and when defenders see that it makes it much easier to jump the ball and either intercept or bat it down. That’s a habit that Jameis apparently has had throughout his career. It’s a mental discipline that has to be developed to stop doing that. I don’t think he will ever get his INTs down until he fixes that.

    The overthrown balls issue is also there, but I doubt that is the root cause of his INTs, more an explanation for incomplete passes.

    I’m assuming the coaches see exactly the same thing. I expect there are some exercises that they could have Jameis go through to get him in the habit of giving at least two or three possible receivers a look before settling on his first choice, even when the defense appears to be giving him the throw he wants to make.

    That’s why it takes many years for NFL quarterbacks to fully develop. It’s a process not a destination.

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  5. Of course Cook would downplay the INT’s. FSU fans are so grateful Jameis made them relevant again they will think of any excuse to cover for his turnovers and sloppy practices.

    Those sloppy practices lead to turnover filled games. Jameis needs to show the fans he’s got the turnovers under control sooner rather than later or he’s just another turnover prone erratic qb in the Bucs history

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