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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.