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: If the Bucs move on from Jameis Winston does that mean Jason Licht is gone? Does Bruce Arians stay without Licht? I feel like they are all tied together with job security.
Answer: I think that was the plan last January for sure. Licht helps bring in Arians, Arians turns Winston into a consistent Top 10 quarterback, and the 2019 Bucs show improvement and gear up for a serious playoff run in 2020. So far that hasn’t been the case. We can look at a million different reasons why, we can debate who to lay the blame on and why it didn’t – or hasn’t yet – worked.
The real question and debate should be how does it get fixed, and is any part of it salvageable? The problem is, the time to find these answers is rapidly ending. The Bucs have six games left in 2019 and a lot more question marks than time to answer them all.
If I had to guess, and this is purely speculation, as there most likely hasn’t been any decisions made, but if I had to guess, I would say the whole gang gets one more season to turn it around. Meaning Licht stays, Winston gets a one-year deal and Arians makes some changes in the offseason, possibly including taking back the play calling or at the very least, becomes much more involved.
The Glazers don’t want to blow it all up and start over, but what is looking more and more like a 5-11 season for the third straight year, that is exactly what could happen if they give this group one more season to turn it around and that doesn’t happen in 2020.
Question: Why don’t the Bucs have a backup who can play? We’re always told that Ryan Griffin can’t step in for Winston because he’s never played in a NFL game. Why is he even on the team? When Brees and Cam Newton went down, their backups started immediately.
Answer: They thought they had that backup in Blaine Gabbert who had played for Arians in the past. Gabbert’s career hasn’t been anywhere near what many expected when he was drafted 10th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, but Arians had a trust in him when he was signed as a free agent last March. Unfortunately the turf at Raymond James had other plans when Gabbert came down awkwardly on it last August in the preseason game against the Browns snd injured his shoulder.
As far as not having a Teddy Bridgewater type player as do the Saints, Sean Payton and the Saints are all in on a deep run towards the Super Bowl and Bridgewater was the perfect guy to backup the older more fragile Brees. And it worked out perfectly for them when Brees went down and the Saints won all five games in his absence.
And let’s be honest, no one, not even the Panthers, believed Kyle Allen would step in for Newton and have the success he has. They got lucky for a handful of games, but with two losses in a row and defenses catching up with Allen, he isn’t the long-term solution. There was only one Bridgewater available to sign and at over $7 million, that is a lot to pay to a player the Bucs would have hoped never saw the field.
Question: How much roster turnover do you expect next year? Seems like it’s the same mistakes every week. I feel like a big overhaul is happening and it started with VH3. Obviously they won’t cut OJ Howard but do you think they move on? Something ain’t right there.
Answer: Every season teams have a decent amount of roster changes and this year won’t be different for the Bucs who have a lot of free agents. In fact it could be more than usual as the Buccaneers will be trying to determine which of their free agents will be priorities to keep and which ones they can move on from. And after a full season Bruce Arians and his staff will know who they want to keep, who needs to go and where the holes on the roster are.
You can’t fully evaluate a roster strictly by watching the previous year’s film. As a staff you want to see first hand how the players react to your coaching style, their practice and study habits and how it translates to the field. Arians and his staff did they best they could based on game tape, but clearly in the case of players like Vernon Hargreaves, what they saw on film wasn’t what they got once they were on the field.
As far as Howard, it is still too early to say. No one really is questioning his athleticism or pure talent, but it just hasn’t translated to the field. And I am not sure if that is on Howard, Winston, Leftwich or Arians. I will say if Arians was the coach in 2017, I am not sure Howard is drafted by the Bucs. He seems to be a much better fit in the style of offense Dirk Koetter ran than what Arians does. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Howard’s name thrown around all offseason, up until the draft, as part of a trade scenario.
Question: What’s the obsession with Dare Ogunbowale over Rojo? I mean I can understand Barber getting his reps over Rojo to help Rojo, but 44 offers nothing to this offense and the feel good story is over.
Answer: It strictly comes down to pass protection. Ogunbowale rarely sees the field unless it is third down, a passing down, and that is because he is the best at not only recognizing the pressure and where it is coming from but also sticking his head in there and helping to protect Winston. The staff clearly trusts Ogunbowale the most and that is why you tend to see him in on third down, or in the hurry up when defenses know the Bucs will be dropping back to throw.