The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our Twitter account. You can submit your question each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.

Below are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the PR Bucs Monday Mailbag.

Question: Is Bruce Arians in over his head at his age? Back-to-back timeouts a week ago in Carolina. Intentionally taking a penalty to harm his kicker. Not going for two points after a first missed extra point. If his name was Lovie Smith we’d be rioting. Should we be rioting?

Answer: No, I don’t think it is time to riot. Not yet anyway. The examples you gave are perplexing and certainly can make people stop and pause for a moment. But it is too early to completely give up and riot or think Bruce Arians is in over his head.

The timeout debacle from the Panthers game is somewhat forgivable. Coaches will make mistakes – even the best of the best – and the Bucs still managed to win.

Bucs HC Bruce Arians
Bucs HC Bruce Arians – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

But the fact that Arians said he took the penalty on purpose to move rookie kicker Matt Gay back five yards makes zero sense. There just is no precedent for it, or even a logical explanation. If Arians doesn’t believe his kicker can make a 29-yard field goal, 100 percent of the time, then cut him now. He has no business being on your football team.

Simple physics and statistical probability research tells us that the closer a kicker is to the actual goal posts, the harder it is for them to miss a kick. This isn’t college football with wider hash marks making angles more difficult to hit the closer a kicker is to the goal post. There are no difficult angles involved in the NFL due to where the hash marks are. Plus, the Bucs even centered the ball before the kick!

If we are to believe Arians’ theory that Gay is somehow better from longer range, then why didn’t Arians take delay of game penalties after every touchdown to back him up?

A few people have mentioned Arians’s response last night was to take the heat off of Gay, and deflect the criticism. But Gay should be held just as accountable as every other player on the roster. He’s paid to make 34-yard field goals and needs to deliver.

Somehow, some way, the Curse of Matt Bryant seems to live on in Tampa Bay.

Question: After another game that came down to missed FGs/XPs, what round draft pick would you give up if you knew you were getting a Justin Tucker level kicker? I completely understand drafting Roberto Aguayo in the second round if all signs point to getting an automatic kicker.

Answer: None. Somehow even a Justin Tucker or Stephen Gostkowski would find a way to screw things up if they kicked in Tampa Bay. I wouldn’t sniff drafting a kicker ever again. I know that Jason Licht says if he drafted a fifth-round running back and he doesn’t pan out, that doesn’t prevent him from drafting that position again in the future, so why should it be any different for kickers? Well after two kickers, it is becoming more clear that this front office isn’t very good at evaluating kickers.

K Matt Gay – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

And the perception around the league is, if you draft a kicker, he better be damn good and pay dividends. Fair or not, that is the perception, and I completely agree. Most kickers are flaky, shaky and have a storm of mental anguish going on upstairs. And those are the good ones! Kicking is 90 percent mental.

Now imagine being a rookie and knowing all the history of the team’s kicking woes. A game like Sunday could be devastating for Gay moving forward if he isn’t mentally tough.

Maybe he is more mentally tough than previous guys. But the look on his face, his body language as he tried to explain what happened on Sunday, is an all too familiar sight. We’ve seen it before in Tampa Bay – too many times, unfortunately.

Question: Will the Bucs win a home game this season?

Answer: Probably, and history tells us Tampa Bay will win at home this year. But after watching this team invent new ways to lose as they did on Sunday, I don’t know of a game on the schedule that I would classify as a definite win.

The Saints, Panthers (in London), Colts, Falcons, Texans and Cardinals are all on deck for upcoming home games, but which of these games will the Bucs be favored in? How many of them are you picking Tampa Bay to win? If the Bucs can’t beat a bad 0-2 football team like the New York Giants, with a rookie QB making his first ever NFL start that just loss its best running back early in the game, and Tampa Bay has a linebacker that gets four sacks, then who will the Bucs beat? And yet here we are 24 hours later, staring at a 1-2 football team that now begins a hellacious string of travel and road games.

I’m no gambler, but I wouldn’t put a penny on this team either way until they decide who they are. Right now they are no different than the previous two Bucs teams that finished 5-11 in 2017 and ’18.

Question: Do coaches understand that playing conservative loses games? It seems like every regime can’t figure this out and plays scared. I’ve never seen two halves look like such different worlds.

Answer: Playing not to lose almost always gets a team beat.

When a team goes away from what has been working then it isn’t the opponent who is stopping them, it is the team itself that is self-destructing. Yet we see it time and time again in the NFL, and we saw it on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in the second half.

Bucs P Bradley Pinion and K Matt Gay
Bucs P Bradley Pinion and K Matt Gay – Photo by: Getty Images

Of course the Giants coaching staff countered at halftime, playing different coverages and such to slow down Tampa Bay’s offense, which put 28 points on the board in the first half. But make no mistake, this is a bad Giants team. This was as much about the Bucs self-destructing as it was about the Giants winning at the end.

The Bucs coaching staff did very little countering to what the Giants were doing in the second half and seemed intent on just hoping they could hold on for a win with Tampa Bay’s 18-point halftime lead.

This coaching staff wants the players to believe they can become winners. On Sunday it didn’t look like a coaching staff that believed in its players in the second half. That has to stop or it will most certainly become another disaster of a season in Tampa Bay.

Previous article2-Point Conversion: Bucs Offense Comes Alive In Crushing Loss
Next articleArians Backtracks On Intentional Penalty
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]

31 COMMENTS

  1. This team needs to finish football games to stack wins. Coaches and players need to not let up. With that said the season is long and there is more football to be played. Go Bucs!

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    • I am sure that Arians was forced to delegate OC functions by his health considerations.  He had to set aside micromanaging in order to relieve the pressure on himself. Leftwich’s play calling, Bowles’ 2nd half adjustments and Arians overall game management are all still shaky so far. 

      The guys are playing hard but have yet to learn how to win.  This year’s version of the team is very immature at this point.

      There are growing pains for everyone involved in this new version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

      I see no reason why we can’t be competitive with the Rams this week.  A win is unpredictable, yet, it would not be a total surprise to me if we do win.
      __________
      Go Bucs!!!

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  2. Mark Cook is correct on most points this is a first “Buc Ass Bob” and Mark cook agree that I can remember.
    Honesty works!

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  3. The thing that makes me see red more than anything else yesterday is that
    When Jones scored that last TD the cheering sounded like Giants were at home
    Thanks, Glazers

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    • Unfortunately Bob I agree with you. It was pathetic to hear Tampa Stadium erupt from the opposing teams go ahead touchdown. This loss and hangover still hurts today!

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    • And just how is the fact that season pass members sell their tickets to the opponent the Glazer’s fault? Do you realize they actually check the ticket exchanges? Do you even attend the games? It’s no ones fault but the worn out with losing, apathetic fans who no longer want to go to the games, but want to retain the rights. Perhaps you should buy one once in a while. Maybe you did when the Broncos came to town. Lots of Bronco fans. Were you one of them?

      It’s much easier to buy and sell tickets now……..even for profit. It’s happening in a lot of places, not just here. The game in Miami against the Flying Elvises and any city the Packers, Cowboys or my hometown Steelers are playing is the same thing.

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  4. in the immortal words of Bill Murray in Stripes, “and then depression set in.”

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  5. I am weary of everybody calling for the head of Andy Gay. His missed field goal was just one of many reasons we lost the game. He’s a good kicker. He doesn’t deserve to be cut. He made four of five field goals. If he had missed his first attempt and then nailed the next four, we’d be talking about his great effort against the Giants.
    The Bucs will recover. They’ll have a better record than last year. We just need to be patient. Their problem is they don’t believe in themselves.
    Playing not to lose and running instead of trusting your QB are not strategies of winning teams. I firmly believed the only reason Jones steamrolled over Tampa in the second half is because the Bucs did not believe they could stop him.

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    • I’ll preface this with, “no we shouldn’t cut Gay, that’s silly at this point”. I think the problem however is, not all kicks are equal (hitting 4 FGs matters not)….just like not all catches are equal (drooping one on 1st down in the second quarter is one thing; Mike Evans absolutely had to catch the last second long bomb), not all passes defended are equal, not all sacks are equal, and so on.

      When the game is on the line – and the distance is short – the kicker absolutely has to make that kick. I’m not upset with him for the 2 extra points…I’m upset because when the game was on the line…when the kick absolutely mattered…it was missed.

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      • This is such an intelligent post eastend there’s nothing else to say.

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        • I’m not thrilled with Gay either. Yeah, we’re paying him to make that kick.
          I’m just saying that calling for the Bucs to cut him and blaming him alone for the loss is a massive overreaction.
          We pay Gay to make kicks in crunch time. We also pay our defense to stop first time QBs from skipping into the endzone through holes big enough for monster trucks. If we can stop one of the league’s top rbs on fourth and one when the game’s on the line, we should be able to stop a rookie qb on fourth and five.
          Plenty of blame to go around.

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  6. Garbage garbage garbage. I’ve completely lost faith in Bruce Arians. The offense quit in the 2nd half. Byron Leftwich was calling terrible games until the 1st half of the Giants game, and then went right back to being terrible for the 2nd half. All this nonsense about kicking from further away being better for Gay is nonsensical. BA needs to be checked for dementia. This franchise is a joke. Licht did a great job finding Shaq Barrett. Other than that, garbage man. Blow this thing up and start over with competent management and a new QB.

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  7. GARBAGE

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    • You are welcomed to watch and follow a different Team…

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      • Great advice. Never thought of that. Go Chiefs!

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        • Meaning we wont have to see your pointless post anymore?

          SWEET!!

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  8. Spot on, Mark – coaching.

    Bowles not making defensive adjustments. Leftwich play calling. BA penalty at the end.

    Heading into this game I said this was set-up for Bowles to make the rookie QB suffer the way Tony and Monte used to. This to me is the next biggest disappointment after losing the game itself.

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  9. Have the Bucs EVER won a game when a former player was being inducted into the ROH? I can’t recall even one.

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    • Hmmmmmm?

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    • I think you’re right…although usually they get blown out, at least this one was a nail-biter…

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  10. This team is poorly constructed and until we get real with ourselves these types of losses will continue. We got a false sense of security after the Panthers win when we were playing an obviously compromised Cam Newton and the first game back after injury for Jimmy G. Both QBs missed wide open WRs but we got it spun as great pressure. The new coaching staff hated last years secondary so much they virtually drafted all new players yet none of them could crack the field. I’d argue that a healthy Justin Evans would’ve had Edwards on the bench as well. You just have to question a guy dedicating that many resources to a position and the only one worth a damn is Whitehead who was drafted later than any of the bunch. VHIII is not an outside CB for the last time, he’s too small and too SLOW what else do we need to see. If Daniel Jones and this rag tag group of WRs tore us up may the lord be with us against the NFC South minus CAR. Cam Brate is the 2nd highest paid skill player on offense but the 2nd TE on an offense that struggles to make use of the 1st string TE. Then we see articles about why trading for Ramsey would be terrible due to the draft capital already invested but I don’t see it that way. Trade for Ramsey to end Licht’s futile efforts at finding a #1 CB please. Somebody has to end this clown and his maddening attempts to “fix” the secondary. Send JAX Brate to offset the salary and then let that whole mess remaining at CB compete for 1 job and not 2. Last thing, Bruce has hollered this “no risk it no biscuit” nonsense and then kicks the FG up 3 in the last few minutes instead of going for the TD. I knew it was over then, can’t preach about having a pair then lose yours when it counts the most. Bruce find your onions before you join Licht out the door this summer!

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  11. Mark Cook….I 100% agreed with you when you made this comment….( How many of them are you picking Tampa Bay to win? If the Bucs can’t beat a bad 0-2 football team like the New York Giants, with a rookie QB making his first ever NFL start that just loss its best running back early in the game, and Tampa Bay has a linebacker that gets four sacks, then who will the Bucs beat? And yet here we are 24 hours later, staring at a 1-2 football team that now begins a hellacious string of travel and road games.

    I’m no gambler, but I wouldn’t put a penny on this team either way until they decide who they are. Right now they are no different than the previous two Bucs teams that finished 5-11 in 2017 and ’18….

    Same Bucs Team…different Coaches…5 and 11 here come the BUCS..!! …who did Jason Light pick in the second round??…Yeah…Shawn “I don’t know where to go or who to cover” Murphy Bunting…!! This Team won’t win anything with Jason Light as a GM. How many great players we passed “AGAIN”…just look at the list of players that were drafted in the second round..!! Vernon Made 1 play ..now he thinks he’s a HOFamer..!! He’s still the same scrub…that can’t cover..just tackles after the catch..!! Once again we are the joke of all NFL and Sports shows on TV..!! Come to Tampa…break a record..!! Ugh..🤮

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  12. This a game of Inches But also a game of Decisions. For the 3rd week in a row BA and this coaching staffs decisions have cost this team:
    1) Choosing Gay over Santos
    2) Misuse of Time Outs
    3) Backing the kicker up 5yds
    4) Forcing Winston to sit in a collapsed pocket and not run. Crazy
    5) losing to a rookie QB with 10 days to prepare
    BA is getting a rap sheet less than a month into the season and that was the main reason he was brought here, because of Koetter’s poor decision making.
    BA agreed with Koetter that “Talent is not the Issue” so better turn this ship around.

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  13. Out coached by Pat Shurmur…Never thought that would happen. Second half, we literally played as if we were scared to do anything. Winston’s interception was bad, I get it, and I’m no fan of our QB, but hell, at least chuck it up and let Evans try to catch it. This was sad.

    I cannot possibly fathom how a team loses the game like we did.

    On the final kick, number one, WTF? Make that dam kick. But number two, WTF, why take that delay of game? Come on. This was piss poor

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    • Oh, and I forgot, WTF is wrong with our ST blocking? A blocked punt week one, and now a blocked XP? Our return game sucks in all ways too.

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  14. 2nd half was the tale of the tape. Bucs came out flat and lost the momentum. We got scared once Jameis threw that interception. We should have kept being aggressive. Give the Kid Jones credit. NYG’s have found their future QB. Yes, out kicker lost the game. But this team lost even more. We will not recover from this soon. Unlike the Giants, The Rams have a beastly Defensive front 4 which does not need to utilize blitzes. As you all will see come Sunday. I’m not telling any of you anything you do not know Butt…..Look out 1-3, Here we come baby!

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  15. Whoever wants to blame Gay for this loss should first blame the moron who drafted him. Santos is more then a capable kicker. When we used a draft pick on Gay I knew he already had the job because dumb ass Licht wasted a pick on him. Let’s be clear, Santos didn’t lose his job because Gay was better, it was because our idiot GM drafted him. Licht needs to go, and he can take his stale old biscuit with him. Packers new young first time HC, new DC, 3-0. Yeah they have Rodgers, but isn’t Winston supposed to be a franchise QB too? I don’t see Maholmes struggling, hell the rookie Jones looked like an all pro yesterday. We have been drafting in the top of each round for years, and we have not one pro bowler to show for it. We’re still waiting for Jameis to turn a corner he can’t even see. This team is a dumpster fire. Licht has done nothing as a GM but amassing more losses then wins, many more.

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  16. NFL comes down to 16 things — namely games. You have to get to 10 wins to assuredly get into the playoffs. We can analyze how well things went in the loss, but none of it matters for a team trying to find its way back. Wins matter — all that other stuff is for next year’s fan. We squandered the lead, the psyche and the game. We now have to go 9-4 (.692) to make the wild card.

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    • except in 2010, when 10 wins wasn’t enough for us….only the Bucs, only the Bucs….

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  17. I’m curious as to what game(s) of the remaining 6 home games people think this team is going to win? Seriously, I’m not seeing one. That’s not being negative, just real. If you can’t beat one of the worst defenses in the league at home with a rookie QB starting, I don’t see who you think you’re beating here. The Cardinals? Murray is better than what you just saw from Jones.

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  18. I rarely look at next year’s Mock Drafts until the halfway point. We are 1-2 and now are spending our time talking about kickers and coaches fumbling on time outs and giving up on offense. I think I will check out DE’s OT, and LBs, and maybe a few more corners and safeties. LOL

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