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.
Question: Hearing the Patriots willing to give Tom Brady $30 million, how do you think that affects Jameis Winston’s chance of returning to the Bucs?
Answer: Everyone wants to know where Tom Brady will play in 2020, and we may not know for another month or so. I saw the same report on Sunday about Patriots owner Robert Kraft willing to pay Brady $30 million to keep him in New England. Kraft doesn’t want to see the most beloved and successful player in New England history wear another uniform – even at age 42. But does it fall in line with the plans of the organization from a rebuilding standpoint – if that is in fact the plan moving forward?
Brady, like any great player, doesn’t want to go out on the decline, and regardless of the reasons, if he comes back and the Patriots finish 8-8 or worse, some blame will be placed on him. I think Brady would need some reassurances that the Patriots will provide the weapons he needs to be successful. Of course if he is eating up more than $30 million of cap space that hurts New England’s chances of getting back to a Super Bowl, where Brady would like to end his playing career.
Brady may want to take a look at some other teams might be closer to winning in 2020 than the Patriots are. The question now is, who are those teams? Are the Raiders or Chargers any closer to winning than the Patriots would be? I’d still take New England against the Bucs in a head-to-head matchup, regardless of who is under center for either team.
One intriguing team that some speculation has been would possibly be a good fit is the Colts. And if I were choosing as Brady, that would be the team I would most consider. Indianapolis has a solid defense, a very good running game and some quality receivers, but more importantly the best offensive line in the NFL. The Colts would most likely give Brady the best shot from the QB-needy teams to win it all in 2020 as he would be a significant upgrade over current starter Jacoby Brissett.
As far as Brady goes and how it affects Winston, certainly as quarterbacks sign with other teams then it provides the Tampa Bay organization one less option. The Bucs are very serious about exploring other options and would be foolish not to look at Brady, who would pack Raymond James Stadium, which currently has 15,000 empty seats for most Tampa Bay games. I just don’t see it happening.
Of course I never thought I would see Joe Montana play for any other team other than the 49ers either.
Question: Could the Bucs have a surprise or two up their sleeve this offseason? Jason Licht and Bruce Arians seem very, very quiet.
Answer: The lack of noise coming from the Buccaneers is definitely by design, as no member of the organization spoke to Bucs beat writers at either the East-West Shrine Game or the Senior Bowl. But I don’t know that means they have any definite surprises on the horizon. Tampa Bay is going into this offseason tight-lipped on everything from free agency to the draft. That doesn’t mean there won’t be anything that comes along that might be considered a surprise. The Jason Pierre-Paul trade caught everyone off guard years ago – something that began with some talks at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in 2018.
Jason Licht’s wheels are always turning, and while the results of his transactions can be debated, he is always on the lookout for ways to improve the roster. But this year there is even more of a sense of urgency. He has now steered the Bucs’ ship for six years without a trip to the playoffs.
And 68-year old Bruce Arians is picturing that pontoon boat at his Georgia lake house every night when he puts his head on his pillow. Him behind the wheel with some Blake Shelton on the radio and a glass of Crown Royal in his hand is coming sooner rather than later, so winning in the next year or two becomes even more imperative as he inches closer to 70.
The clock is ticking for both Arians and Licht, so nothing is off the table this offseason.
Question: Based on your observations, were most Jameis Winston’s interceptions not seeing/reading the defense, or simply thinking he can fit the ball in there and making bad decisions?
Answer: There were 30 interceptions total, and it was a mixed up mess of several things. There were certainly some bad reads, but it was more complex that just that. PewterReport.com’s Trevor Sikkema analyzed all 30 of Jameis Winston’s interceptions for our readers. We know at times the receivers ran incorrect option routes based on what the corners and safeties were doing. The quarterback and receivers have keys and rules to follow based on what the coverage dictated. That isn’t to say all of the option route interceptions were on the receivers. The quarterback must also see the same thing the receivers are seeing.
We noticed that early in camp when Winston was being intercepted frequently. There were passes not even close to a receiver at times, but without knowing the play call and the reads dictated by coverage, it’s tough to tell who exactly was at fault.
It got better in camp with more reps, and would likely get better in the second year in Bruce Arians’ offense. There is nothing simple about what Arians requires from his quarterbacks. The question is how much better will it get in 2020? Will Winston’s 30 picks turn into 15 or less? Or does it only going down by a handful to 25?
There were times when Winston was greedy and trying to rifle the pass into coverage when he shouldn’t have forced it. That’s just a fact.
I love confidence in a quarterback and feeling like his arm is superior to the talent he is playing against, but this isn’t the ACC and he isn’t at Florida State any longer. He’s now had five years to figure that out.
Yet as a number of Pro Bowl players I spoke with in Orlando said, throwing for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns doesn’t happen by accident. Winston is very talented.
Suppose Winston did only throw 12 interceptions to go with his 33 touchdowns and 5,109 yards. The Bucs are in the playoffs last year and Winston is most likely runner-up to Lamar Jackson for NFL MVP honors. That isn’t an exaggeration.
And finally, sometimes a quarterback is just going to make inaccurate throw or things happen they can’t control. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes had two interceptions on Sunday in the Super Bowl, as did San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo. No quarterback is going to play 16 games and not throw some bad passes.
Question: Who is the odd man out on the D-line if the Bucs can’t keep everyone?
Answer: From an organizational standpoint the free agent priority list on defense is Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh, and then Carl Nassib. Or at least that is what we have been able to gather from reading between the lines in conversations with our sources.
And that makes the most sense. The Buccaneers drafted Anthony Nelson last season with an eye on replacing Nassib at some point. At 6-foot-7, 271 pounds, Nelson even looks like Nassib from a physical frame standpoint.
That doesn’t mean Nassib isn’t back, or that Pierre-Paul and Suh will definitely return. A lot will be determined by the money they are asking for and Tampa Bay’s ability to find a price both sides can live with once the team figures out which quarterback it will be paying $25 million or more to in 2020.
Both Suh and JPP are towards the end of their careers, but love Tampa and the Bucs coaching staff. Yet with both being in the twilight of their careers, do they believe they can get to the playoffs next season coming back?
From what we understand both Pierre-Paul and Suh have a strong desire to return, but they aren’t going to play for peanuts. So if one of them decides to move on, that could open the door for Nassib to return.