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: Not that any moves are needed, but what might be a realistic move before the trade deadline on Tuesday?
Answer: Barring an injury to a starter or key reserve from Monday night’s game at New York, I don’t see the Buccaneers making any moves ahead of the trade deadline. Of course I wouldn’t have bet that Tampa Bay would have added wide receiver Antonio Brown two weeks ago, either. So anything is possible, as the Bucs are clearly “all in” for 2020.
General manager Jason Licht and his front office are always on the lookout for any players that could improve depth, and if a move was made, that is what it would be for – depth. The Bucs appears plenty satisfied with their current group of starts.
Personally, if I were Licht the cornerback group would be an area I would consider looking to add some depth to. Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis are both excellent starters and Sean Murphy-Bunting has experience in the defense although is struggling somewhat right now, but after that, things get a little dicey. The team added former Panthers cornerback Russ Cockrell, a seventh-year veteran, but he’s currently fourth on the depth chart and not starter material at this stage of his career.
Question: Do you think having Antonio Brown shacking up with Tom Brady is so Brady can keep him in line? Is this a calculated decision, or is this just a matter of convenience – or will it even matter?
Answer: Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that new Bucs receiver Antonio Brown has been living with quarterback Tom Brady to help him acclimate to Tampa Bay’s playbook and system. I believe Brady has a genuine interest for Brown’s well-being and feels like his influence on him will make him a better person, and keep him in line and eligible to help the Buccaneers be better on the field as well. Brown and Brady know this is likely Brown’s last shot in the NFL, and Brady also knows how talented of a player Brown is.
Fans love a good redemption story and if Brown were to stay out of trouble and prove he still has something left in the tank, that would be one of the better stories in the NFL in a while. Some of the allegations against Brown are quite disturbing, but Brown also deserves to have things play out in the courts before he is judged – at least in terms of his legal matters. There’s not a lot to debate in terms of his immature and sometimes bizarre behavior that took place late in his Pittsburgh career and his short-lived time as a Raider. Maybe, just maybe, those childish and peculiar actions are truly a thing of the past.
Question: Is it time to move Jamel Dean on the outside permanently and move Sean Murphy-Bunting into the nickel position strictly on passing downs?
Answer: It is something I have been advocating for a while. Jamel Dean does get a majority of snaps on the outside (only 10 playing in the slot this year) as he comes in at the outside corner when the Buccaneers are in nickel and Sean Murphy-Bunting then moves inside. The Buccaneers are in nickel a majority of times, so Dean sees plenty of action. However anytime that Dean isn’t on the field is a waste of talent in my opinion. He has proven to be one of the team’s best defensive players and has clearly outplayed Murphy-Bunting this year, and even the last half of the 2019 season.
With that said, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has a method to his sometimes confusing madness, and I am not going to sit here and pretend I know more about this than he does. He has his reasons for wanting Murphy-Bunting on the field on the outside over Dean in base defense, but it is becoming more and more clear that Murphy-Bunting is struggling this season and has maybe lost some confidence. Giving Murphy-Bunting just one position to concentrate on – the slot role in nickel defense – might help him get back on track.
Question: What is the latest status on Vita Vea? It was reported he broke his ankle or lower leg. If so, did he require surgery (like Dak Prescott)? Or was it a little less severe? Obviously, carrying 350 pounds he needs to have a strong lower body and this type of injury is concerning for the future of the big man.
Answer: We have heard very little on Vita Vea or even if his leg/ankle injury required surgery. Clearly with Prescott having a compound fracture (bone protruding from the skin) surgery was the only option in his case. That wasn’t the case with Vea. But the exact severity of the break hasn’t been revealed and we will attempt to find out during this week’s conference calls with head coach Bruce Arians.
Teams are careful what injury information they reveal, mainly due to HIPAA regulations that prohibit the disclosure of sensitive personal health information without the consent of the patient.
A quick scan of his social media didn’t reveal any information on surgery, but we will follow up with Arians to see if we can get an update on his progress.
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