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: Considering this is Bruce Arians’ first year, if the Bucs under-perform does this really mean the last season for quarterback Jameis Winston and general manager Jason Licht? After all, weren’t they a big reason BA even wanted to be here?

Answer: I think it is a question no one in the organization wants to even let creep into their minds right now. Certainly they are hoping Bruce Arians can work some his past magic, hone Jameis Winston into a top-tier quarterback, and see Jason Licht’s draft picks have great rookie seasons with the needle starting to point up for the franchise. If that happens, then Winston and Licht get extensions, Arians is in the running for NFL Coach of the Year and Raymond James Stadium will be rocking once again.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

If it doesn’t? Yikes.

As I have noted on the Pewter Nation Podcast, I think Jameis Winston would have to have a disastrous year for the team to move on from him in 2020. The Bucs can franchise tag him if they are still undecided, and that could very well be the case. Despite Winston’s football I.Q. this is still a brand new offense and there will be learning curve. I expect Winston to improve in 2019, but enough to sign a long-term deal making upwards of $30 million per year? We’ll see. And if the Bucs go, say, 8-8, and Winston has a good, but not great season, then Tampa Bay is drafting middle of the pack and the opportunity to draft one of the top quarterbacks in 2020 would come with a hefty compensation price tag to move up. The decision then would be, does Tampa Bay gamble one more year on Winston with the franchise tag, sign him long-term, or cut ties and start over?

Question: If Jameis Winston demonstrates he’s not the guy is it more likely the staff pursues an established vet (like Derek Carr’s caliber) or a rookie in 2020?

Answer: This is a good follow up to the previous question. As noted above, part of that determination might be where would the Bucs be drafting if Winston is deemed to, in fact, not be the guy? If the team goes 2-14 the decision is a little easier, but if they are 7-9 or 8-8 it would hard to find a franchise quarterback with the 17th or 20th pick in the draft. So the idea of making a deal for a veteran would make more sense. And let’s face it, Arians isn’t here to coach the next 10 years. I think Arians coaching in Tampa Bay for five years would be a stretch. At age 66 and already having proved a lot (plus retired once already) Arians didn’t come to Tampa Bay for a rebuilding project.

QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: PewterReport.com

We saw what he did in Arizona resurrecting Carson Palmer’s career after eight good years with the Bengals and two so-so seasons in Oakland. The Cardinals made the playoffs in Arians’ first season in Arizona in 2013 with a 10-6 record and went 13-3 in 2015. So if the worse-case scenario plays out with Winston, chances are the team would go the veteran route, depending on who might be available, of course.

Question: Not many teams turn around such a disastrous season. The Rams come to mind that’s a team a with talent that made huge strides quickly. Is there a sense around the building that staff is the answer? Or is this team not as talented as we all think.

Answer: The answer to your last question will be answered this season. Was it talent, or coaching the last two seasons that caused the Bucs to go 5-11? Did Tampa Bay underachieve or was it really just a 5-11 team in terms of talent?

The Rams are a team I am guessing the Glazers are hoping the Bucs can follow in the footsteps of. After several mediocre years under Jeff Fisher, the Rams brought in Sean McVay who took a 6-10 team two years ago to the Super Bowl in his second season – and without a major rebuild. In McVay’s first season they were 11-5 before reaching the Super Bowl in 2019 with many of the players that Fisher and the front office brought in. This is exactly how the Glazers – and the fans – are hoping the Arians hire turns out.

Question: If the defense flips the script, and say becomes a top 15 defense, does Todd Bowles become the next Monte Kiffin? And does he stay?

Answer: As far as personality and style goes you couldn’t have two guys any more on opposite ends of the spectrum. Monte Kiffin was an over-the-top personality running a zone-based defense, with the pressure expected to come from the front four. Todd Bowles won’t win any “Mr. Charisma” contests anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean he is any less of a coach than Kiffin – just different.

Bucs DC Todd Bowles
Bucs DC Todd Bowles – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bowles is a pressure after pressure type of defensive coach that likes to attack from multiple spots on the field. If it works, it is great, but without the right personnel, it can be disaster. Of course the same could be said for Kiffin’s “Tampa Two” Cover 2 scheme as well. What would Kiffin’s defense looked like without a Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and John Lynch? We kind of saw it during Lovie Smith’s two seasons as head coach when he tried to revive the Tampa 2 in Tampa and it was a failure.

If Bowles has success there will be teams looking to talk to him about another shot in the NFL as a head coach, but probably not after just one year. Bowles would need to have sustained success in Tampa Bay to get another shot at another head coaching gig.

After listening to him and interviewing him, I don’t know that there is a burning desire around the league for him return as a head coach in the near future. I think he genuinely enjoys being hyper-focused on defense without all the responsibilities of being a head coach. I don’t know that for sure, but it’s just the vibe I have gotten.

Yet I think he would be the first guy the Glazers would talk to if things work out for Arians and he decides to step down after two or three years. Maybe that is already the plan – that Bowles in the heir apparent at head coach for the Bucs.

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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]

30 COMMENTS

  1. I think the Bucs will be in a great position next year to draft a rookie quarterback Arizona is the only team predicted to finish worse than the Bucs and after drafting quarterbacks 2 years in a row I’m pretty sure they won’t drafts QB. so even if Arizona gets the first pick
    All the quarterbacks will still be on the board I do see an opportunity for a bright future down the road.

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  2. Questions 1& 2 is getting old; sometimes it seems some want failure?
    Questions 3& 4, too early.

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  3. Bob, your eternal pessimism keeps us all grounded lol. I don’t expect a “great” year from Winston, although I do expect the offense to be just as killer as it was last year, maybe a slight dip in production, but still top 8. I’m expecting the most from the defense. I’m going out on a limb here with some predictions:
    1. Winston has a decent year with 33 TDs and 15 INTs, 4000+ yds. He also adds 4 fumbles so the front office holds off on a big contract and franchise tags him for one year.
    2. After a rough start, the defense improves greatly to top 15
    3. The team ends up with a 8-8 record and finishes 3rd in the division. Most of the wins come in the 2nd half of the season and they finish with momentum winning their last 3 games, playing spoiler to the Lions, Texans and Falcons who all narrowly miss the playoffs thanks to the Bucs stifling defense.
    4. We all go into 2020 with dreams of a home town Superbowl in Feb 2021. Get your tickets now!

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  4. If we have a top 15 defense this coming season, and that’s a big “if”, we’ll be going deep in the playoffs. All we needed last season to make the playoffs was a middling defense. Something between 15th-20th ranked would have allowed Koetter to keep his job because we would have had a winning season. Combine that defense with a ground game opponents have to at least acknowledge, and we’re going to be tough to beat because our passing attack will still be top-notch.

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  5. Bucianco
    My concerns were the nine players that started on this team last year that were released Adam Humphries has a lot to do with the success on the offense I’m very much concerned about the defense losing 3 best players. They replace those nine starters with backups from other teams with the exception of the three rookies and Suh .
    Devin white will become a good player but he needs a couple of years he made a living off of strength and speed but the technique need some time.
    This team needed help on its offensive line and desperately needed a good running back none of which were addressed with the draft or free agency. I’m still baffled why no other team wanted Suh. His numbers show that he’s a force and should help replace McCoy. My concern on Bruce Arians is his last two years in Arizona it also concerns me that no player came fourth to come be with him other than a backup quarterback that is bad. You’re forgetting about those record yards that came out of Fitzpatrick the first two games he’s no longer here and if Jameis goes down who is coming in? DeSean Jackson opened up his mouth about Winston and people don’t like him but when he took off to the endzone a couple backs went with him opening up lanes for Evans. If Todd Bowles defensive scheme was so good than what happened to the Jets I understand he wasn’t the defensive coordinator but he designed that defense.
    Google Bruce Arians in Arizona the last two years they’re blaming him for the destruction of the Cardinals.
    Look what that team became after he left that was five years of him putting together players.
    I really didn’t like Bruce Arians saying he would never draft based on position and then draft based on position that leads me to believe Bruce Arians is not calling the shots on this team. I feel Bruce Arians should have stayed retired he would have been remembered as a good coach there’s too much incompetence in the management of this team for him to overcome.

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    • I googled Bruce Arians in Arizona and did not find the reference “they’re blaming him for the destruction of the Cardinals”.

      Please try to post something to prove your point or if it was made up just come clean.

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  6. Those were the best questions submitted to the Monday mail bag?

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  7. Ignorant people should quit worrying about whether or not Winston can improve enough to take the Bucs to the playoffs and concentrate on the defense instead.
    Defense is the reason this team continues to struggle and have a losing record is not because of Winston. The one season the Bucs put a half way decent defense on the field, the Bucs finished 9-7;

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  8. Ok…..I’ll bite. “nine players that started on this team last year that were released” ???? BAB, please list those 9 starters that were “released”. Humphries & Alexander were free agents and NOT released. Grimes (dead to me) free agent; D Jackson traded; Fitzpatrick (not a starter for majority of season) free agent; McCoy (dead to me) released. Where’s the 9, old troll buddy??

    We wont miss Hump as much as you think with more athletic Chris Godwin moving to his old spot. I bet anyone a shiny silver dollar that Hump’s numbers are way down this season from last in Nashville. At least he got a good payday.

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  9. Ass you’re a broken record, please
    Only 1 shit post per article

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  10. Mark, since you usually read these comments, please get your webmaster to take McCoy’s picture off of the website. It is in the upper left when viewed on a widescreen monitor.

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  11. Bucs did not think Adam Humphies was worth 8 mill for 6 TDs
    And a ton of third-down catches
    Buc Patriots thought he was worth 10
    I wonder who would be right the Season will tell.

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  12. Off season is to long.Ready to get our brutal schedule started. 9/8/19. one game at a time. Go Yucks

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  13. I think we are on the crux of one of two things happening. Winston and the offense click and Tampa becomes a winning team with Licht and Winston getting extensions or Winston spends a lot of the season running for his life or throwing interceptions trying to overcome a defense that cannot get to the QB. If that happens it will be the apocalypse in Tampa with Licht getting shown the door, Winston getting cut, and BA on the hot seat.

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  14. Alls I can say is…Arians better win Buc fans. He has talked enough manure to fill up an elephant pen!
    I can remember many of the posters here..heping praises when we hired Koetter like he was the 2nd coming of JC..! So forgive me if I am not drinking the summer Kool-aid everybody else is. Sure we got quicker in the secondary. But we got bigtime question on that D line. Where..is the pass rush? What good is it if Jameis throws for 400 and we lose 32-30? (memories of last yrs Steelers shootout loss) I won’t hold my breathe. But I’m predicting cautiously..an 8 win season which will be an improvement of sorts.

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  15. Mark Cook ?
    Do you have any insight to Devin White contract
    I heard he wants record money above 27 mil
    What do you know.
    I HAVE NO SOLID INFO

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  16. Mark I think the guy who would take over when B.A. hangs it up would be Leftwich, especially if Winston gets an extension.

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  17. You never have any SOLID or real info just bunch crazy, bitching rants, that make no sense. You never fail to say something stupid and off topic every new post. Well done 👍🏼 enjoy your many – you moron.

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  18. Surfer dudes anything is possible I guess, but the offense, and Winston would have to be stellar for Leftwich be head coach after just being being promoted as play caller….I gues your taking about 3-5 years from now. If defense makes good turnaround can’t picture Bowls not being the natural choice to be successor.

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  19. If Winston “falters” Gabbert takes over. That’s pretty straightforward. Arians loves Gabbert. In Arizona he said Blaine was the most naturally talented QB he’d ever coached.

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  20. Buciano, if Winston throws for 4000+ w/33-15 AND we’re a top 15 D, no way in hell we’re 8-8. Well, I guess I shouldn’t say there’s no way, I suppose we could start 1-7 or something close to that and everyone just lights it up in the 2nd half of the season. Maybe I should say highly improbable

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  21. Mark my words; Devin White is going to be a super player, but his already demonstrated mercenary streak is so strong he will constantly being holding this team hostage for star QB money.

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  22. Horse:
    I agree, questions 1-4 are redundant and impossible which tells me they are nothing but filler to help get thru another week before training camp. I think BA and his small army are going to implement a new dimension this year. Whether it is successful or not is for the crystal ball pundits. A few more weeks and the roller coaster ride begins. Go Buc’s

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  23. This season is really riding on defense. We were number offense most last year and what it got us was 5 wins. It will not be as good this year learning new offense etc, but should still be top 5 or top 8 at least imo. The offense will go as far as O line takes it not Winston IMO. If we are balanced I see him having his best year for sure. Will he be too 10 QB in one season? Doubt it but never know. I’ll take solid year with int cut close to in half.

    I know defense will be better (they can’t get worse lol), but how much first year with new scheme etc is the question.

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  24. Cardinals are the only team projected to be worse? Weird because projected win totals by teams has the Bucs at 6.5 wins, and has FIVE teams projected at 6 wins or less, and another 3 with the same as the Bucs. But yeah, keep pulling baseless stats out of your a$$. Loser

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  25. And if people every question just how bad our defense really was last year, keep this in mind. The Bucs were 3-6(.333) when scoring 27+ points. The rest of the league was 145-36(.800) the only other team in the entire NFL who was under .500 when scoring 27+ points was the 49’ers, who were 2-4. The Bucs were 1-3 when scoring 30+ points. Again, the rest of the league was 108-24(.820) the Bucs were the ONLY team in the NFL below .500 when scoring 30+ points. Also to add more credence to defense is the key to a turnaround, when allowing 24 points or less, the Bucs were 4-2, and 1-9 when allowing 24 points or more

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  26. Ever*

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  27. When allowing more than 24 points*

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  28. Hey, if Jameis Winston has a marginal season in 2019 – let him go. Not only can we select a QB, but we will have him on a cheap rookie contract for at least 4 years. Then we can focus on other positional weaknesses (like the swiss-cheese OL) and wait for our 2021 Compensatory Pick for losing Jameis.

    As Michael Scott would say – “That’s a win/win/win”

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  29. Week in, week out, nothing but speculation and questions that can only be answered by speculation, and arguments back and forth.

    If the Bucs don’t win at least 8 games, minimum, the answer to the question, “Is it coaching, or is it talent that has held us back?” will be answered in favor of the latter.

    What are the odds? According to Las Vegas, and most media prognosticators, the odds are that the Bucs finish with no more than 6 wins. And thus the question would be answered if the oddsmakers and progosticators are correct.

    It seems most commenters here at PR expect a different answer and a different result for the season.

    I remain skeptical that anything actually got fixed. I do believe we got worse on the defense, talent wise, ditto on offense. So if Bruce Arians and his assistants produce 8 or more wins then that’s even more reason to blame coaching and not talent.

    We’ll soon see.

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