The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where’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: What happens if Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians and coordinators Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich contract COVID-19 during the season? Who takes over for the Bucs?

Answer: Why are you even spreading that type of bad vibe around? I’m kidding, but it is most certainly a scary thought. I am not sure if you are asking if one of them were to test positive or all three at once. But if Bruce Arians were to test positive for COVID-19, then the chain of command would most likely fall to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who has the most experience on the staff, including time as a head coach in New York, and then on down the line. I am sure, depending on the severity of course, that Arians would still have significant input, but would have to do it from a quarantine vantage point from home.

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

Now if all three tested positive? That would be an awful scenario. And I have no idea how the league would handle that. Would the entire staff have to be quarantined? And if so, then the players would probably have been exposed as well. That is a nightmare scenario.

We are in uncharted waters right now and there are no definitive answers. The NFL will most certainly have to do some things on the fly to handle situations as they arise. I am still hopeful there is a football season, but of all the professional sports, football seems like the one that would be the most difficult to protect players and coaches because it’s a contact sport with 55 players on the active roster. We can bet the NFL offices in New York are abuzz and spending long hours every day trying to look at, and come up with, contingency plans for every possible scenario, but some would just have to be dealt with as they happen.

Question: Based on the circumstances, which match-up do you think will be harder for the Bucs – the Week 1 game at New Orleans against the Saints or the game versus the Kansas City Chiefs later in the season?

Answer: I believe those are definitely the two toughest games on the schedule – as of now. Anything can happen between now and then from an injury standpoint that could change that, but on paper at least, these two games loom largest in my opinion.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes – Photo by: Getty Images

And of the two, the Week 1 match-up with the Saints looks to be the most difficult. While the Chiefs may be the best team in the NFL, the Saints aren’t far behind, coming off back-to-back 13-3 seasons. Of course, Tampa Bay has greatly improved its roster this year, but with the fact the Buccaneers will be traveling to New Orleans, a tough environment to begin with, and do so with a brand new quarterback in Tom Brady, who will be still adjusting to a new offense and new teammates, I think Tampa Bay is at a distinct disadvantage in that game.

By the time the Chiefs come to town in November, Brady and the offense will have had 11 games under its belt. The Bucs offense should be peaking and humming on all cylinders, if the starters have stayed relatively injury-free. And add in the fact we could see a Super Bowl hangover from the Chiefs as is often the case, and I think the Saints game will be the toughest game of the year for the Buccaneers.

Question: Monday morning will be 60 days until the start of the preseason, and 90 days until the start of the regular season. How are you preparing to cover the Bucs in the new normal?

Answer: It will be a strange and interesting season if nothing else. And we really have no idea how it plays out from a media standpoint. But we aren’t anticipating having much – if any – access to AdventHealth Training Center this year. And if we do, it most certainly it will come in a very limited capacity.

Photo by: Matt Matera

Scott Reynolds in his latest SR’s Fab 5, and myself in last week’s The Hook column both wrote about the “new NFL” and what we might expect. Three months ago when this all started, everyone was saying there is plenty of time to get it all figured out and the NFL should be in good shape to get the season going on time. And now here we are, as you mentioned, just two months away from the preseason and I don’t know if there is any clearer picture now than in March.

Question: Not counting the Bruce Arians era, why have the Bucs been so bad since the Super Bowl win? Is it bad drafting? Is it the fault of the owners? Is it poor coaching? Is it poor play by the players? Is it all four, or something else?

Answer: All of the above.

That is a simple answer, but I think it really is the correct one. Being this bad for this long means there isn’t just one thing. There were a handful of bright spots in the years following the Super Bowl win in 2002, such as NFC South championship years and playoff berths in 2005 and 2007, but really since Jon Gruden was fired following the 2008 season it has been a solid 12 years of futility and missteps from the top to the bottom.

Former Bucs head coach Greg Schiano and ex-QB Josh Freeman - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former Bucs head coach Greg Schiano and ex-QB Josh Freeman – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

From poor hires by ownership, to poor drafts, to coordinators having heart issues and never coaching a game, to sure-fire players who have flamed out under the pressure of the spotlight of the NFL, it hasn’t been easy being a Bucs fan over the last decade.

It appears to be coming together now, and there hasn’t been a better Bucs football team – on paper at least – since the Super Bowl team as this one that is trying to get on the field in 2020.

But make no mistake, the Glazers, former general manager Mark Dominik and current G.M. Jason Licht, former head coaches Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter, and first-rounders like Josh Freeman, Vernon Hargreaves III, Jameis Winston, several failed second-round picks and other missteps in the draft and free agency, including signing running back Derrick Ward, cornerback Eric Wright, quarterback Josh McCown, defensive end Michael Johnson, left tackle Anthony Collins, defensive tackle Chris Baker and others, have all contributed to the results over the last several seasons.

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for 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]
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I’d feel ok with Arians out as Leftwhich knows and calls offense and vice versatility if Lefty is sick. Bowles can coach if needed. Rather not think about that stuff though. Also couldn’t they possibly coach from box with distancing if they are asymptomatic? Who knows. Agree First game against Saints in New Orleans will be toughest since we have new QB. The Bucs have not had a decent coach since Gruden. That’s the biggest issue. Lovie was the worst I’ve seen. My god the man was just completely lost imo. I started calling for his firing towards end of… Read more »

Pete Wood

If Bruce Arians came down with covet 19 and had to quarantine, why couldn’t he coach remotely and phone in plays?
I gotta tell you, though. That question about our top three coaches coming down with the corona virus has to win some sort of award for pure pessimism. 🙂

Rating: +12. From 14 votes.
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Seriously! First question right off the bat, what happens if all our coaches get covid. Like really? Can we just get away from this pessimistic view for one article. By and large, outside of like 5 or 6 states, it’s going down across the country. Significantly. 3 months is still a long time away. If somehow we haven’t seen any progress, or enough progress come mid August, then we can start worrying.

Rating: +5. From 7 votes.
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As much as I admire Jon Gruden and the Superbowl success he had I am really glad we didn’t get him back as a head coach when he came out of retirement to coach again. I actually wanted him initally but after I see what he has done with the Raiders he would have blown up the Bucs roster and not in a positive way. This is the guy who wanted a washed-up Emmitt Smith on the roster before he got fired because he likes veterans, even tho they are past their primes. I wish him luck in Vegas( I… Read more »


Just read that the cowboys and Texans have multiple players who tested positive for Covid…yikes.

Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
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This is what I fear the most. I think if they manage this carefully, they can do this. But if they don’t? The entire NFL will suffer.

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Brady and Gronk could retire as Bucs without ever playing a single snap. How strange would that be. It would certainly add to the folk lore of the plight of the Buccaneer franchise.

Rating: -6. From 10 votes.
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Damn, BS, twice as many down-votes as up. I guess some people can’t handle reality

Rating: -5. From 5 votes.
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No worries GrayBalls. Up votes or down votes aside. People want to believe there’s too much money at risk or there’s too much momentum for the franchise. They’re trying to remain positive at all costs and who can blame them.

Rating: -2. From 4 votes.
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Into The Abyss by:
The Glazers
-Firing John Gruden
-Hiring Lousy Coaches
Raheem Morris
Lovie Smith
Who hire
-lousy assistants
-lousy scouts
All of whom had a terminal case of The Stupids!

Rating: +5. From 5 votes.
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I’m getting to the point where I’d almost prefer the league just go ahead and announce that the entire season will be canceled and I can just spend the rest of the year, or maybe even what I have left of my life, in the Jerry Seinfeld Bizzarreo World this has become.   I’m not sure I would even want to watch a game with no fans in the stands. I can just see one designated fan dressed in a Bucs hazmat suit sitting on the west side yelling “Tampa” then running over to the east to yell “Bay”. Of… Read more »


Good luck with your test. Be well and get plenty of vitamin D.

Rating: -1. From 1 vote.
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Thanks Sombrero. Sat in the line of cars for 3-1/2 hours to have two popcicle sticks stuck up my nose. Any junior high kid could have accomplished the feat in five seconds. Ahhhhh, those were the days. You’re right about the vitamin D.

Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
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While I am with you Mark when you say how dare somebody consider this possibility, that first question is actually very insightful. I appreciate the person who asked it as well as you taking the time to answer it

Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
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