It is Monday and that means another Bucs Monday Mailbag where we answer your questions that readers submitted via Twitter using #PRMailbag.
Question: If hurricane Irma impacts Week 1, what is the best and worst case scenario for Bucs scheduling?
Answer: Checking the latest advisory on Monday, it is hard to imagine the hurricane not having some type of impact on the game Sunday. For us living in Florida, we have seen scenarios that look like gloom and doom, only to have the storm make a sudden change. However, forecasting tools have gotten better over the last few years, and the accuracy has improved as well. But we are still six days out before potential impact. The problem is, the NFL will need to make a decision sooner rather than later. And with all of Florida in the potential path, moving the game to Tampa or Jacksonville doesn’t seem likely.
The two most likely scenarios are, the team moving the game up a day or two, or postponing the game and rescheduling it for the bye week. Both the Dolphins and Bucs share the same bye week, so that seems like the most likely scenario, if in fact the storm keeps on its current path.
Regardless, while everyone is super excited for the season to get underway, the safety of the citizens has to be the most important factor. And from a public relations standpoint, the NFL doesn’t need to take a hit by making it appear they are hell bent on playing the game with a major hurricane bearing down on the state wouldn’t be a good look.
Question: Love the T.J. Ward signing. You got Ward/Tandy or Ward/Conte starting next Sunday and why?
Answer: It will be Conte and Tandy in Week 1, as Ward is most likely inactive this game upcoming against Miami. Getting him up to speed in a new defense can’t happen in six days, so the Bucs will take their time. They are not in a position where they have to rush him into the lineup, and safety is one of those positions where continuity and communication are crucial. You definitely want to see Ward on the same page as the others on the defense, particularly in the secondary. Ward wasn’t signed to be a backup, so it won’t be long before he is in the lineup, I just don’t believe it will be this week.
Question: Given the recent turnover at safety, does this indicate that the staff is not happy with the current bunch, or the opposite?
Answer: I think the Bucs were pleased overall with their group on Saturday evening, but woke up feeling much better on Sunday morning with the addition of three-time Pro Bowler T.J. Ward. When you have an opportunity to go out and get a proven Pro Bowl player you have to do it. And at only $5 million (with incentives) it was a great move by Jason Licht to get him in the fold.
The Bucs liked Wilcox but there was a log jam at that position and someone had to go. The Bucs weren’t getting rid of a second round pick in Evans, so the player who knew the defense the least was the odd man out. Special teams was a factor as well as Evans contributed on special teams, and Wilcox did very little.
Question: Will we see the second TE or the third WR on the field more this week?
Answer: That’s a difficult one to answer and unless Dirk invites me upstairs to help with the game plan, then we will both have to wait and see. Guessing? I would say both about equally. But we do know Koetter, like most coaches, loves having two tight ends on the field because it makes it more difficult to for defensive coordinators to know if it is a run or pass, and most likely keeps teams in their base with three linebackers – whichever tight end gets matched up with a linebacker should win that battle more often than not. Then it will be up to the defense to adjust, which opens things up on the outside with possible man coverage, if they choose to put a safety on either Cam Brate or O.J. Howard.
Question: What are the Buc’s plans with the abundance of tight ends?
Answer: Well, it clearly tells me Koetter wants to run a lot of 12 personnel (1 running back, 2 tight ends) and wants to have horses in the stable if someone gets hurt. However, Luke Stocker and Alan Cross fit the bill more of the team’s fullback/H-back instead of being true tight ends. Both are asked to do the dirty work that rarely gets noticed by the fans, but is still a very important job. We saw how things changed when Stocker went down last year in Week 2. We also saw the Bucs passing game suffer when Brate was injured in the Saints game on Christmas Eve.
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]
Really wish all media would stop referring to players ans X-Pro Bowler. Its a completely arbitrary popularity contest that provides absolutely no indication of accomplishment or skill level. Dues that spent 10+ games on IR have made the “Pro Bowl”. Its a farce.
Pro Bowl the game may be meaningless, but the Pro Bowl recognition is certainly not. Voted in by the fans , the coaches, and the players.
Frankly Pro Bowl is far more meaningful than “all pro” which is purely the media voting.
And if a player is the best in his league as his position gets injured and lands on IR, so what? He’s still the best at his position.
Nope – Pro Bowl is still the most meaningful award in all of NFL
Super Bowl MVP is NFL’s greatest award!
Not really. It’s just one game, and sometimes the game MVP is quickly forgotten. How many of today’s Bucs fans under the age of 35 know the name of our sole Super Bowl MVP – a guy who was let go the following season by the Bucs and will never get his name in the Bucs Ring of Honor..
Question 1: I’m sure both teams are against using the bye week as it becomes a big disadvantage for both teams and an advantage for the other teams they play later as the season moves along. I hope they play Thursday as both teams have been putting in plays to use against each other in preseason games and practices. I believe this is the best choice for both teams.
Question 2: Obviously he’s not playing; heck he even hasn’t practoced or played previously with Denver.
Question 3: Of course they wanted to get better at Safety and finally they have.
Question 4: Yes Howard and Goodwin will play because of rotation and fresh bodies.
Question 5: they really only have 4 TE’s. My question why is Cross considered a TE?
Go Bucs! Wherever and whenever, let beat the tar out of the Dolphins!
If the NFL reschedules during the bye week I will be madder than I have been since the Burt Emanuel catch was ruled incomplete. No way the players want that, and that will be strong evidence that the NFLPA needs new leadership. My first thought was any open stadium as a neutral site in a safe location, but the league will balk at loss of revenue. Playing on Thurs will divert from Pats/Chiefs. I am hoping they say to heck with the gate revenue for one game and play in front of a small crowd somewhere. I know that gives Miami a slight disadvantage, but they signed Cutler so they don’t get to complain about loss of a home game.
Why not do a double header Thursday night games. The NFL did it to start the season a couple years ago on Monday night.
I’m not a huge fan of Thurs. games and don’t want to see anything, this situation included, feed that monster. Week 1 would be the best fit for this I will agree, but this will still affect the game plan and overall quality.
The league will look extremely hard hearted if they refuse to reschedule to Thursday because it would take away from ratings for Pats/Chiefs.
The problem with a Friday night game, it doesn’t even leave one full 24- hour day to handle hurricane prep by the players, coaches, and staff of the Bucs … plus, everybody else in South Florida needs to have that time on Friday as well as Saturday to prep or evacuate the peninsula.
If the league can’t do it on Thursday, then they have to reschedule to the bye week … or else provide an extra week at the end of the season for the two Florida teams to play that game.
So glad to see Jason go!!! I knew Licht blew that second pick the moment he did it. I will be interested to see what Ward can do, having achieved three Pro bowls in his past.
All this talk about 12 personnel giving defenses nightmares but what I’d like to see is 22. Brate, Howard with doug and Sims flanking jameis, and Jackson or evans to one side. How the hell do you cover that???
I think it would be damn near impossible to stop if we put Evans and Jackson on the outside, OJ split out slot and brate on the line. I know the sample size on OJ is small right now, but I’m thinking Safteys will have a very hard time covering him, and LB’s besides the elite will have no shot.
I think they play the game in Miami Friday night. Look we could have another storm heading to Tampa next weekend, how many games can you postpone? Both teams have been preparing for this game for some time, so moving it up a few days won;t affect game prep. Friday night NFL network would love it.
The most logical reaction to Irma is to move the game to Thursday. Friday is too late as players and coaches have families at home they need to tend to on Saturday, and the storm is projected to hit or skim by the Florida peninsula on Sunday. Don’t take away the bye week in November.
The NFL better decide today so that the teams can prep for Thursday.
The latest NOAA forecast has tropical storm force winds arriving in Miami area by Friday evening … no way the NFL can stage a game during that timeframe. The Governor has already initiated evacuation of the Florida Keys, and will likely order Miami area evacuations by late Wed or Thursday at the latest.
Contingency planning never hurts and procrastination is the thief of time. I’ve known about Irma and her possible path for more than a week now! Pretty sure that money (income) or the possible loss of it has nothing to do with the timing or eventual outcome of this decision. wink! wink!
Nobody begrudges a for-profit business for thinking about profits. But after Harvey and now about to experience Irma, the league has to think about other stuff besides profits. The league already has huge image problems between CTE and some players battering women, both of which are very hot topics at the moment. If the owners are so tone deaf as to put temporary profit above mass-scale human health and safety, then it may not ever recover what it loses in public good will.
I was planning a short trip over the bye week so my guess is that’s when the game will be played. As Rhonde would say, “It is what it is.” Let’s hope the storm takes a hard right turn and goes out to sea.
I’m so tired of stocker making this team year after year. I get he’s a good blocker but you can’t tell me he makes that big of a difference being on the roster.
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