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. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.
Question: Simple question, who starts at QB Week 4 at Chicago?
Answer: It might be a simple question to ask, but not necessarily one to answer. On the surface, it is simple, I suppose. If Ryan Fitzpatrick has this team 3-0 after three games and playing lights out, how can you replace him?
But you also have to also consider long term. If Ryan Fitzpatrick were 25 and not 35, then it really is a no-brainer. But will Fitzpatrick even want to play beyond this year? Do you potentially stunt the development of a player you selected No. 1 overall three years ago in hopes that a journeyman quarterback who has played on seven different teams in 14 NFL seasons can capture the fountain of youth and lead his team to the Super Bowl? I mean, would any production company in Hollywood even green light a script like this?
If I am coaching this team, then Fitzpatrick is the quarterback until he gives me a reason to replace him. Yes, I understand that Jameis Winston could very easily be duplicating the exact same numbers if he had played the last two games. Let’s not forget, he was the best quarterback in the preseason, even better than Fitzpatrick. But, Winston isn’t playing, and only can blame himself for that.
I say keep rolling with Fitzpatrick as long as the ride continues. And just maybe one day we see the Ryan Fitzmagic movie coming to a theater near you.
Question: Cameron Brate’s name has hardly been called thus far. Why? It’s still early, Do you think this is due to Monken calling plays or maybe O.J. performing better?
Answer: As Trevor Sikkema said on Sunday during the podcast, Brate isn’t getting the snaps because the guy playing in front of him is just better. There is no shame in admitting that. The Bucs didn’t draft O.J. Howard to be Cameron Brate. They drafted him to be better. And he is. That isn’t a knock on Brate at all. He is one of my favorite guys, and I will almost guarantee you that at some point this season he will be a factor in helping this team win a football game. But for now, how can you say that Brate would be producing the way Howard is? The Bucs are extremely fortunate to have to tight ends capable of being a difference maker. And, at some point, whether it be by injury to Howard or by the opposing defense taking Howard out of the game, Brate will get involved in the offense more. But the last thing I am going to do at this point is reduce Howard’s snaps when he’s playing as well as he is.
Question: Should I be getting ready to watch the Bucs in the playoffs or should I be pulling back my expectations a bit?
Answer: Hold on now! You know what though? Why not expect it? Bucs fans deserve to have hope and optimism moving forward. There is still a ton of football to be played, but if this team can mange to start 3-0, stats say they have a very good shot to make the postseason. In fact, the last two times the Bucs started 2-0, they won 10 games. I think 10 games gets you at least a wild card this year and could very well win the division. NFC South teams will be beating themselves up all season long (we already saw it with the Bucs and Saints, and the Falcons and Panthers on Sunday), and 10-6 might be enough to take the divisional title. Who knows that the next three months holds, but for now enough this rare air you are breathing as a Bucs fan.
Question: With the passing game doing so well, it’s been overlooked how the running game has struggled. Worth it to try Jones out, or get Wilson more carries? Barber hasn’t exactly lit it up.
Answer: No doubt the running game has struggled, but if teams are going to load up to stop the run first, keep throwing it deep and keep throwing it often. Maybe part of the passing success is because teams are keying to stop the run? I would have to really go back and look closer at that possibility, but whatever the Bucs are doing, it is working.
The one thing I would do is get Shaun Wilson a few more touches each game. He is more dynamic of a runner than Jacquizz Rodgers and I think he possesses some of the trait the team hoped Ronald Jones would provide.
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, the beach and family time.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]
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