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: With Lavonte David being the heart and soul of this defense for years there’s no way the Bucs cut him after this season even though he’s due $9 million dollars? Sure, if he was slowing down but there’s no signs of that even after missing all of camp. He’s still making plays.

Answer: In what will be an offseason of change and decisions that must be made, the easiest one the team will make in 2020 isn’t even really a decision. Lavonte David will be a Buccaneer next year barring some major injury. Other than that, No. 54 will be on the team, starting for Todd Bowles’ defense, and a captain once again.

At age 29 he truly has shown no signs of slowing down, and as teammate and fellow linebacker Devin White gets better, that could actually help to even extend David’s career. David is actually set to earn $10.75 million in 2020, which is still a bargain for the type of player and leader he is.

Bucs LB Lavonte David and DT Ndamukong Suh
Bucs LB Lavonte David and DT Ndamukong Suh – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

There was a play on Sunday where the Cardinals threw a pass to a running back in the flat and David came all the way across the field and dropped him for no loss. What was so impressive was how fundamentally perfect the tackle was. If I was still coaching youth and high school football, that specific play would be one I would show daily to my defense as an example of how to make a tackle. David has never been about showboating or going for the knockout-highlight-reel type of hit. He just does it the right way every single time.

Of course his timely forced fumble and fumble recovery at the end of the third quarter was one of the key plays in Tampa Bay’s 30-27 win over Arizona. That was David’s 19th forced fumble and 14th fumble recovery of his career. As I mentioned in Sunday’s Most Impressive story, it really is a shame David has played on so many bad Buccaneers teams in his career as he will most likely never get the proper respect he deserves nationally.

Question: What do you think about the Bucs using a best player available strategy for every round in the 2020 draft for their areas of need?

Answer: Draft strategy is subjective and every front office has its own philosophy, but whatever the Bucs do, and whoever is in charge of the draft for Tampa Bay in 2020, the team must find impact players. I would start with the offensive line over any other position. Just as the Bucs have done with secondary players the last two years, I would like to see them do the same thing and address the offensive line with multiple picks.

Whether it be Jameis Winston, or a new quarterback under center next year, the Bucs will need to protect the team’s quarterback better than they have this year as Winston is on pace to get sacked 60 times in 2019. The Bucs also must be more effective running the football. On Sunday there were entirely too many negative runs or runs for no gain. Once again, the breakdowns were spread out among all five linemen at times.

Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

We all know the writing is on the wall for 34-year old right tackle Demar Dotson as far as his time starting in the NFL. Father Time catches up with everyone eventually and Dotson is seeing that time coming sooner rather than later. I applaud Dotson’s willingness to go out each and every week despite his body breaking down somewhat. But the Bucs need to address the right tackle position for the future while also adding some depth – if not guys that can challenge current starters.

Question: What position do you think gets upgraded first in the draft/offseason and what spot would you upgrade first?

Answer: I have no idea what position the Bucs address with their first pick next April, but as mentioned above, at some point they must draft more offensive linemen. In the first round a team can’t reach based on need. For example, if the Bucs have an edge rusher rated significantly higher on their draft board, they can’t take say an offensive tackle just because it is a need. Now if it is close, then perhaps general manager Jason Licht can stretch a little and take a lineman, or trade down if he can find a partner.

Bucs GM Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians
Bucs GM Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But even before the draft in April, the Buccaneers will have a chance to upgrade the roster via free agency in March. That is where I would be on the lookout for secondary help. I understand the whole youth movement thing, and it is true – building a roster in free agency isn’t an ideal strategy, but it can be very effective when it comes to filling holes.

This secondary needs a veteran presence. With the money Tampa Bay could save by not bringing cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III back at his fifth-year option price tag (just over $9 million) the Bucs could find at least one veteran starter, if not two. It may not be Janoris Jenkins-type talents for example, but the Bucs could use a veteran cornerback to help mentor the young DBs and provide competition.

As I mentioned on last week’s Pewter Nation Podcast, Morris Claiborne didn’t sign with the Chiefs until August 8, and for only $1.5 million. Now Claiborne isn’t making any future Pro Bowls, but one can’t say he wouldn’t have helped this football team last week at Seattle. And I would even venture to say the Bucs win that game with Claiborne on the field instead of ill-prepared rookie Jamel Dean.

Question: Is Justin Evans going to see the field any time soon? This secondary needs all hands on deck.

Answer: Justin Evans won’t be back in 2019, and who knows after that? It is unfortunate because this young Bucs secondary could have used a veteran presence in 2019. Not that Evans was some 10-year pro before he got hurt, but his game experience and and just being in the meeting rooms would be been invaluable to some of the young players, like rookie Mike Edwards for example.

Bucs FS Justin Evans
Bucs FS Justin Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/P

Between toe and heel injuries, and this year Achilles surgery, Evans’ future as a football player may be in doubt. Of course the hope is he can come back from the injury and possibly be ready for camp next season. But Tampa Bay can’t count on that happening and needs to plan accordingly.

The addition of Edwards wasn’t made with Evans situation in mind particularly, but he may end up being the long-term starter depending on his development that some would say has been slow and disappointing so far. The only good news with the lack of veterans is the amount of reps the young secondary players have gotten in 2019. And it should make them better.

This team isn’t ready to give up on any of the young players yet, and some of them, like Jamel Dean, the team feels has a very high ceiling. That thought was somewhat proven by his bounce back game over the previous week at Seattle. Dean had four pass breakups in the 40-34 overtime loss at Seattle and surrendered three touchdowns, but had four passes broken up and a clutch interception in the fourth quarter in Sunday’s 30-27 win over Arizona.

Previous article2-Point Conversion: Takeaways By Dean, David Lead Bucs To Victory
Next articleArians Sees Confidence Growing In QB Winston, Offense
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, 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]

25 COMMENTS

  1. I dont care if Justin Evans ever takes the field again for this team, hes been replaced by Whitehead.

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    • Whitehead is a keeper for sure.

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    • Uhhh…. Two different safety spots, two different players

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  2. Mark,.
    Any updates on the Beckwith situation?
    Is his career over?

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  3. By the way, we haven’t seen an article on pass Buccaneers as to where they are and the new careers for quite a while.
    Any chance someone putting out an article about several of them?

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  4. Agree, David is a warrior. Also agree that a defense can’t be expected to be even average with three to five rookies starting or playing major roles. There is major hope for Dean and Bunting. The management won’t admit it but this is a rebuild year with the hope that significant pieces can be added. The offense doesn’t need much–a right tackle, a backup center, another guard. In the age of free agency, the units are never going to be complete. You look at the games yesterday and week after week and you see that the vast majority come down to the final two minutes–very few blowouts. Four of our six losses could have been wins and two of our three wins could have been losses. We definitely need more senior leadership behind a pretty good and still developing. The addition of Barrett–who MUST be resigned shows the difference that one major addition can make. Whitehead is a player and Edwards has a world of potential . But with Hargreaves on the way out, we don’t have anyone who has more than one year of experience back there. That’s absurd! As much as people have questioned last year’s offseason departures, Alexander is now out for the year–again and Goodwin is a really good slot receiver. In addition to Hargreaves, Gholston, Perriman, Stewart, and Nassib will be gone. Nassib plays hard, but we have other priorities. This year is a rebuild no doubt. If you look around the league, you see that all of the first year head coaches have struggled LeFleur and he is the only one with a Hall of Fame quarterback. No other first-year coach has more than 3 wins and most of fewer. We are likely to score over 400 points this year and will be the only 400 point team not to make the playoffs. We have three more losses than wins but a very small total point differential. No team that averages 29 points a game should have 6 losses out of nine games.

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  5. The Bucs will have to draft a QB. Picking one up in free agency is just too costly, Winston is a bust with little to no trade value. Signing him or tagging him is just a waste of time and money, more over it cost fans.

    This team is a star corner and QB away from being dominant winners. We would have to pay for the corner, but with a little luck we could draft the QB. Godwin and Brate will likely have to be dealt to achieve that goal and keep us under the cap. The O line doesn’t need a massive upgrade, we just need more quick release plays and a accurate QB to execute them.

    While it was encouraging to see some of those type of play yesterday, RoJo still doesn’t have the hands for it, now if he can progress by the same amount as he did this year that might be ok. He doesn’t have to be the outlet though. Winston showed he can get the ball out quickly, but all of those were designed quick release plays, his decision making is way too slow for RPO plays. Every time he chose to use the option he holds the ball way too long and locks in on his target. The only exception to that yesterday was the TD to OJ, but I think that was designed play from the start. It’s not that our O line is that bad it’s that Winston holds the ball too long and that will make any O line look terrible.

    Leftwich was correct that he and Winston are a lot alike, both have a high football IQ and on paper look great. The problem is neither are remotely accurate, they both hoeld the ball too long, and Winston is down right reckless with ball. Like Leftwich Winston may have future in coaching.

    Lastly if BA doesn’t show some strides down the stretch he’s a waste of money. What is he actually bringing to the team? We still lack discipline and there doesn’t seem to be much accountability. Now we have press conferences that are unwatchable, granted so are Belichick’s but no one cares when you win. No question that BA has a proven record, but it’s not showing here.

    Also I really hope the Vea stunt yesterday was a setup for future uses in goal line situations.

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    • Godwin–surely you jest!

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    • First of all, if we draft a QB there is NO WAY we have to trade or cut ANYBODY to just sign a top CB and draft a QB. Obviously you are unaware that we are in really good shape with the cap next season even if we sign Winston to a big contract. In addition cutting or trading Godwin makes no sense whatsoever. He is an elite receiver with outstanding run after catch ability. Finally this team need MUCH more than a star cb and a QB. We desperately need a RT and really a LT too. I would draft a LT and move Donovan to RT.

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    • Buc Off F**K off.

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    • This post makes less sense than most of what BOB write. Don’t worry BOBby boy, this dude isn’t gonna steal your title…. I hope

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  6. One of the things I see with Winston is the way he throws. It is very simular to out OC when he was playing. That is to long and is IMO a reason balls are being hit by defensive linemen and some times his own linemen. I am no expert but I don’t see Winston as a QB that would take any team to a Superbowl. I’m not hating here! Just my observation.

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  7. Depending on where we end up drafting, if a high rated QB falls to us we’d be crazy not to draft one, no matter what we do with Jameis. Winston stays, it wouldn’t hurt to have a capable option as back up.

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    • First of all, if we draft a QB there is NO WAY we have to trade or cut ANYBODY to just sign a top CB and draft a QB. Obviously you are unaware that we are in really good shape with the cap next season even if we sign Winston to a big contract. In addition cutting or trading Godwin makes no sense whatsoever. He is an elite receiver with outstanding run after catch ability. Finally this team need MUCH more than a star cb and a QB. We desperately need a RT and really a LT too. I would draft a LT and move Donovan to RT

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    • There is NO WAY we will use a first round pick to draft a BACKUP QB!!

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  8. Right now the 49ers are still undefeated and we gave them a fight in the first game. We beat the Rams and gave the Panthers a beat down in our first game. Now our team is turning the corner and has established a winning culture. BA will finish this year strong and our team will go into every game believing they will win. Rojo and Dean are showing signs of being future Bucs stars. We have better DEs with two players that are double digit sacker type players and we have great run stoppers. Jameis has escapability and good run potential, and is a gunslinger passer and showed in this last game he can score TDs in just a minute at the end of the first and second halves like he did to win the last game. You will remember that Green Bay won a Super Bowl with a similar gunslinging QB. Jameis is going nowhere and as our defense continues to get better and better Jameis will be winning games for the Bucs. With just a first string LT and a second round large DE to one day replace PFF and a Veteran CB with good speed and length to replace Hargreaves and slow Stewart next year we will be in the playoffs next year. Cappa can be a great RT and D. Smith can be a big RG.

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    • I’ve thought the same thing about Cappa. He played OT in college and he is built more like a tackle than a guard.

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  9. RT in first round please!

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    • Couldn’t agree more! Draft best OT and let them battle it out for which side of the line they fit best.

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  10. Buc off.
    LMAO.
    Apparently you didn’t see the offensive line play yesterday which I would grade out as a C-.
    On one play the Bucs did max protect on a play action pass and Winston still had to dodge one DL and then another before releasing the ball. Most every other QB in the leeague excpet for Mahomes or Wilson would have been sacked.
    Shut up.

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  11. No doubt we need to resign JPP, Shaq, and David, and I’d say Suh as well depending on the asking price. VH3, Nassib, and even Gholston can walk. Gholston hasn’t played bad, but hasn’t played up to his price tag either. We could even move Nassib back to LE where he played better last year if the price is right. Of course Stewart and Smith can go without us feeling it.

    In the draft, we need a RT or a LT and move D Smith to RT. I could even see Cappa going to RT and Smith RG if we draft or sign a good LT. Sign an experienced CB to help mentor these young guys who obviously have talent. The front 7 is good on defense, once the back end catches up we’ll have a good d going. Fix the Oline and the offense is already set. We are closer than most people think or our record shows.

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    • Smith is a SPECIAL special teams player. Just keep him off the field in defensive snaps. Unless we’re dropping eight on an obvious hail mary play, then he might be ok

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      • true, he’s definitely a luxury if we can afford to keep him

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  12. As far a J. Evans and Beckwith are concerned, I just pray that they can get healthy and play again.
    I see our biggest issue is with our OT’s. Both of them. Donovan is not a LT. Maybe a good RT. I felt that Dotson should have been cut in the off season. I love the man, yet his body and ability was not worth his guaranteed contract to the team.

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  13. We are coming off of a rare “home” victory, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and the Draft talk has already started. I’m hoping the youngsters already on the team develop into stars more than I am seeking a savior come April.

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