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: Is this Bruce Arians’ offense with Byron Leftwich calling plays? Or is it Leftwich’s offense with Arians’ input?
Answer: It may be a combination of the two, but at the very least it is heavily based on philosophy coming from what Bruce Arians has done in Arizona, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. I am not sure if that specific question has been asked of Arians. I don’t know that Leftwich has even been in the league long enough to develop his own offense. His first shot at calling plays was midway through last season when as quarterbacks coach for the Cardinals, he took over playcalling duties when Mike McCoy was fired.
I am guessing he just continued with the playbook that the team has spent the year learning, and just added his touch and maybe a few wrinkles to it. Similar to what Mark Duffner did last year for the Bucs defense after succeeding Mike Smith.
And honestly, if you are Leftwich, why would you try and reinvent the wheel, when Arians has a proven offensive system that has succeeded with multiple teams, including a couple of Super Bowls?
Question: Do the Buccaneers place the franchise tag on Donovan Smith for this year? And then draft somebody, groom them and takes Smith’s place in 2020?
Answer: It is possible they tag Donovan Smith, but a long-term deal is still not out of the question. As I wrote in my Bucs Battle Plan, a long-term deal saves money initially, as the average annual salary would most likely be less than the $14 million Smith would receive with the franchise tag. But the Bucs won’t give Smith a multi-year deal unless the new coaching staff is convinced he can play at a high enough level to justify it.
General manager Jason Licht, from what we understand will have some discussions with agents of Bucs free agents this week in Indianapolis where the Scouting Combine is happening. We should know more about the team’s long term plans with Smith shortly. Either an announcement of a new contract or their intentions on using the franchise tag.
Question: What’s the feeling about Justin Watson with Bruce Arians? He’s got great size at 6-foot-3 and 4.4 speed, and had a pretty good connection with Jameis Winston last preseason. Could he be the one that takes that next step?
Answer: The front office is pretty high on Justin Watson, but we haven’t heard anything yet from the coaching staff on their assessment. Of course they have very little to go on, as Watson only caught one regular season pass in 2018. His preseason film was good in 2018 with 12 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns, but it is difficult to really know how that translates to a regular season performance.
As you mentioned, Watson has the attributes to be successful, and Arians’ offense is a receiver’s dream as the ball gets thrown around a lot – much of that on downfield attempts. It isn’t a dink and dunk offense for sure. And if Adam Humphries is allowed to walk in free agency, then Watson gets bumped up a spot on the depth chart heading into the offseason workouts and training camp.
Question: Consensus seems to be that we’re taking an offensive tackle or a defensive lineman with the No. 5 pick. My favorite pick there would be LSU cornerback Greedy Williams. How does Williams compare to Denzel Ward? Cleveland took him at No. 4 and he panned out to be worthy the pick.
Answer: If the Bucs believe that Greedy Williams could duplicate Denzel Ward’s rookie season, then they would draft him in a heartbeat. I was one of those that thought Ward went a little high last season, but that is proof of why I am not an NFL scout. He had 53 tackles, 11 pass breakups, three interceptions, a fumble recovery and a trip to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, and was even more than the Browns thought they would get when they drafted him last April. But they are obviously pleased he exceeded expectations.
At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Williams is as impressive of a cover corner as there is in this year’s draft, but the knock seems to be his tackling and physicality in the run game. He has great ball skills and coverage ability, but is probably not worthy of a Top 10 pick in this year’s draft.
And most mock drafts have the Bucs selecting a defensive lineman or offensive tackle but all options are on the table. Mocks are merely speculation, and rarely factor in trades. I would still guess there is more than a 50 percent chance the Bucs trade out of the No. 5 slot to pick up more picks this year.