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: Do you think Jason Licht gets fired? His two top drafts picks this year, DT Vita Vea and RB Ronald Jones, have been busts.
Answer: I think it still depends on how things play out over the last three games. If this team folds like they did under Lovie Smith, Greg Schiano and Raheem Morris, then yes, I believe the Glazers make a change. If this team finds a way to somehow win two of the next three then Koetter and Licht probably get one more season. I am not saying that would be the right thing or wrong thing. I just believe that is what happens.
As far as busts, you can certainly make an argument they haven’t performed as expected, but I wouldn’t classify them as busts just yet. Vita Vea has shown flashes of what he can be and looks to me like the better of the two picks so far. Could safety Derwin James have had more of an impactful during the first 13 games of the season than Vea? I think he clearly would have. But with just 10 under his belt, it’s hard to say that Vea is a bust.
I am a little more concerned with Ronald Jones however. Honestly, running back is one of the easiest to transition from the college ranks to the NFL. There is a learning curve, but Jones has shown very few of the traits he flashed when watching his tape at USC. I hope I am wrong, and hope the light clicks on soon. But that isn’t a bet I am ready to make at this point. The fact is, 13 games into the season, it looks like a really bad selection.
Question: How can a coach in his third year allow his players to be so undisciplined? Seems like the Bucs continuously shoot themselves in the foot with costly penalties and missed assignments.
Answer: That is something that you have to wonder if the Glazers are trying to figure out as well. And could be the biggest reason Dirk Koetter ends up unemployed on December 31, which is the day after the season ends.
Koetter is a no-nonsense guy and expects everyone to do their job and do it the right way. Maybe he puts too much faith in the players to hold themselves accountable – as well as too much faith in the coaching staff. The problem is, that hasn’t happened and may lead to his downfall.
But if he does somehow manages to get another year, I would guess the accountability will have to ramp up big time. It has to. This team does not know what it takes to win, and the Glazers will have to determine if they feel Koetter is the guy to get it fixed.
Question: Who will be the next head coach ? Please don’t write any more crap saying Dirk Koetter MIGHT be back. He won’t be. Nor should he.
Answer: Well he COULD be back. Seriously. As I mentioned above, and as we mentioned on our latest podcast, a 7-9 record might be enough to get one more year for Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht.
As far as who would replace him, it is way too early to tell. I think there will be a number of coaching changes after the season around the league and that will increase the pool of candidates. Years ago, owners liked to look at the college coaches to bring into the NFL (see John McKay, Ray Perkins, Greg Schiano), but now the top coaches in the college ranks make more than many NFL coaches do. The only thing to lure them away would be their own egos.
The recent trend is top assistant NFL guys, and you see the success they are having in some cases (Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay and Chicago’s Matt Nagy). If the Glazers do decide to part ways with Koetter I think they interview some of the assistants who have proven to be successful coordinators in the league. But maybe they see an Andy Reid-type coach who wore out their welcome with the team they have been with. If John Harbaugh were to get fired in Baltimore he would be one to watch.
Question: What are the Bucs’ main draft needs at this point, assuming Jameis Winston is here to stay? Donavan Smith extension, but how much? Time to dump Demar Dotson? How’s
@TampaBayTre doing after being ridiculed on Twitter all day about Cairo Santos? Thanks, guys!
Answer: There are a lot of needs on this team. I think offensive tackle is one of them. Maybe two of them. I still think there is a good chance Donovan Smith returns, especially if the current staff and front office stays. If not, then that will be up to the new regime.
Smith will likely make $12 million or more per year. He’s not worth it, but this is a bad draft for left tackles. If the Bucs let Smith go in free agency, he would be the top guy and would fetch a contract around $12 million per year because of it. It’s almost like the team has to re-sign him because of the lack of available options elsewhere, and that’s a terrible spot to be in.
Middle linebacker is another area the team could look at. Maybe Kwon Alexander is back, but would he be healthy enough to start the season after tearing his ACL midway through this season? Kendell Beckwith could take over, but he himself missed all this year and there is still a question on how his surgically repaired ankle will hold up.
Then, of course, safety and cornerback are two needs. Brent Grimes is playing his last three games, and there are still a number of unproven guys on this roster in the secondary. While they may have flashed some promise, no one really knows how much they will develop moving forward.
I don’t think it is necessarily time to dump Demar Dotson, but some competition next year at right tackle wouldn’t hurt.
As for Trevor Sikkema jinxing Cairo Santos on the podcast? Well, it wasn’t just you guys on Twitter beating him up for jinxing Santos. Scott Reynolds and I both shot him a glare in the press box after Santos clanked his first field goal attempt off the right upright. The good news is, we didn’t fire him. Mainly because Reynolds and I have no idea how to run the equipment for the podcast, so he stays out of necessity.