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 the number of players with expiring contracts being two dozen or so – is 2019 the make or break season for the Bucs? If they do well, they may be losing a lot of guys to free agency. If they don’t, they’ll be looking for a lot of new pieces in 2020 – a rebuild.

Answer: I think this is a little bit of a transition year for the team. A new coach, a new scheme, and what many are hoping for – a new mentality inside the building. Of course Bruce Arians, Jason Licht and the Glazers want to see an immediate turnaround take place in 2019, but it won’t be an easy task. And I think they are realistic.

This 11-season playoff drought didn’t happen overnight and won’t be a simple task to correct. A lot of luck will need to happen for this to change in 2019. That isn’t to say it won’t happen, or it can’t happen, as Arians has a track record of success and doing it quickly.

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

You make a good point about the number of free agents this team has, and in his latest FAB 5, Scott Reynolds went through that list while also looking at the salary cap heading into next season.

Ultimately a lot of questions need to be answered in 2019, probably none bigger than Jameis Winston’s future with the team. You don’t win championships with a mediocre quarterback in today’s NFL, so can Winston move into that elite territory under Arians? If so, the rest will work itself out from a personnel standpoint with free agents and such. As Arians has pointed out, you can’t win without a very good quarterback and the jury is still out on where Winston ranks.

Question: Could you see a possible signing of LeSean McCoy if the Bills part ways with him in August? Buffalo could cut him to make cap space with the running backs it added in the offseason.

Answer: Of course anything is possible, but as a player heading into his 11th NFL season, you have to wonder how much gas is left in his tank. The 2018 season was McCoy’s worst year in the NFL where he didn’t even hit 600 yards rushing and only averaged 3.2 yards per carry.

Arians and his staff truly believe in Peyton Barber and even the potential of Ronald Jones II to a degree. I think it would take a major injury to one of the two for the Bucs to make any significant running back moves, but we know Licht and his staff are always looking to upgrade the team. I wouldn’t say never, but at McCoy’s age and with his declining production, I think its unlikely to see him in a Bucs uniform in 2019 even if released by the Bills.

Question: When training camp cuts start, what position group do you think the Bucs address first – guard or edge rusher?

Answer: That question will be answered based on how well the players on the roster currently perform in training camp. If Alex Cappa and Earl Watford struggle at right guard in the preseason, then I think guard would be the position addressed first. Or if there was a rash of injuries at the position the Bucs would be forced to scour the waiver wire for help.

Bucs RG Alex Cappa
Bucs RG Alex Cappa – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But we also know you can never have enough good pass rushers on a team and there are a lot of unknowns with the current group of defensive ends who will be playing in a new scheme and with new roles and responsibilities. The good news is, in Todd Bowles’ scheme success isn’t predicated strictly on how well the outside linebackers can rush the passer. Obviously the team wants pressure from the edge, but Bowles likes to bring it from all over the field – from inside linebackers, to safeties, to players coming off the edge with corners and the nickel corner position. I could easily see this team rack up 40-plus sacks and not one individual player with more than six or seven.

Question: Mark, how noticeable was speed on the field in mini-camp this year versus last?

Answer: It started off slowly to be honest, at least from our vantage point, but I will say by the time the mandatory mini-camp wrapped up earlier this month it was much better. And that kind of makes sense with a lot of guys trying to get acclimated to a new scheme, coaching staff and particularly on the defensive side, a lot of new teammates. This team has some speed and it really started to show once the players grasped the offensive and defensive schemes.

The offense is notably faster with new wide receivers Breshad Perriman and Scotty Miller stretching the defense vertically. The fast new defenders include rookie cornerbacks Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean, and new safety Kentrell Brice has some wheels, too. New outside linebacker David Kenney, who was signed after a tryout at the rookie mini-camp, also has an unreal get-off as a pass rusher and gets to the quarterback very quickly. New head coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles wanted more speed on the field this offseason, and it looks like they accomplished that mission.

You could see the confidence grow each practice we were allowed to watch, and as the confidence grew, guys were starting to fly around the football field. There is still a ton of work to do, and it could be mid-season before it all kicks in and really comes together. But the foundation is being set and we saw improvement each week.

Previous articleBucs’ Dotson Makes SI’s Over 30 Team
Next articlePFF Predicts Huge Year From Winston, Major Strides From Vea, Howard
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]

11 COMMENTS

  1. Didn’t mention Devin Whites speed on defense…..lol. That’s a given o guess but he has be one fastest LB in NFl I would think?

    +14
    0
    Rating: +14. From 14 votes.
    Please wait...
  2. Its shocking we havent addressed to Offensive Line this year. Not only is the starting unit suspect, we have zero depth. I wouldnt be surprised if we brough a guard AND a tackle in that other teams cut.

    +12
    -1
    Rating: +11. From 13 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Coaching should make a major difference with our offensive line.

      The Buc’s probably are ok (not great) with the depth on O-line that includes Watford, Liedtke, and Evan-Smith with Benenoch being the 9th guy.

      I personally would not give up on Benenoch with him still only being 24 years old. That is very young for offensive lineman.

      I noted this for three good teams:

      New England Offensive Line 2018:
      Tackles 7th and 5th round draft choices
      Guards 3rd and 4th round
      Center undrafted

      Pittsburgh had 3 undrafted offensive lineman starting last year.

      Seattle has invested a lot of high draft choices for the offensive line but their line play has been mostly bad but they still win.

      I think what we did on defense is much more important than a lack of moves for our offensive line.
      Go Buc’s – on the right track.

      +19
      0
      Rating: +19. From 19 votes.
      Please wait...
  3. Arians seems to think the Bucs will be ok at RB. He said we don’t have a David Johnson or a Todd Gurley, but we have the backs to do what we need to do. He told Ira Kaufman that ““I mean, I don’t overpay for that position. David Johnson came in as a rookie, lit it on fire. You just got to find the right guys to fit what you want to do”.

    I think he means it. The Bucs didn’t draft a RB and only signed a journeyman 30 year old Andre Ellington for veteran’s minimum in free agency. He’s putting a lot of confidence in RB Peyton Barber and that the coaches can rehabilitate RB Ronald Jones to perform up to his 2nd round draft grade.

    Here is the Bucs RB room –

    RUNNING BACKS – 6

    30 Anderson, Bruce RB 5-11 210 21 R North Dakota State
    25 Barber, Peyton RB 5-11 225 25 4 Auburn
    32 Ellington, Andre RB 5-9 200 30 6 Clemson
    27 Jones, Ronald RB 5-11 205 21 2 Southern California
    44 Ogunbowale, Dare RB 5-10 205 24 1 Wisconsin
    38 Wilson, Shaun RB 5-9 185 23 2 Duke

    Like Mark said, never say never, but I too would be surprised barring injury, they bring in another RB. I want to see training camp when the pads go on to really see what we got. UDFA RB Bruce Anderson/SDSU has good tape. Maybe we find a diamond in the rough! Go Bucs!

    +10
    -1
    Rating: +9. From 11 votes.
    Please wait...
  4. I think there’s a good chance BA May add a veteran RB who was let go to make room for some younger guys. Really is amazing that for the last couple of years the Bucs never add a decent veteran RB to the stable of RBs. I’m just saying…

    +1
    -4
    Rating: -3. From 5 votes.
    Please wait...
  5. geno711,Iknow a lot ofpeople think George Warfold is a terrible OL coach, butIcan’t help but remember he had a coachingjob with theJAguars as soon as he was fired here.Thatdoesn’t strike me as a sign that he is a bad coach.

    That doesn’t mean our current coaches can’t improve our existenting talent.
    The whole problem with out offenseive line started whenLogan MAkins retired and Jason Licht failing to draft or sign in FA a vialble LT to replace him. He has done everything else but that.

    Las year he capsilatedinsantiyt by signing andoverpaing fora FA center whichwe didn’t need because we already had a veryserviceableunderrated and underpaid Joe Hawley, moved Marpet to RG (histhirdposition change in three years) and tried to force a RT to play RG.

    Giveme a break!

    Three position changes to replace one player. Insantity.
    Just sign a LG who you can plug in and play for gods sakeand quit trying to reinvent the wheel.
    Butthat has beenLicht’sachillisheel sincehebecameGM. He is always trying to show the leaguehow muchsmarter he is.
    That weakness also reared it’s ugly head in 2016 when he drafted Noah Spence as a down lineman when everyone else knew at best he would fit better into a 3-4 scheme. Just ask the current coaching staff. They have said so themselves.
    You can also add in the Arroyo pick in the second round of that year as well.

    +3
    -8
    Rating: -5. From 11 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Sometimes these coaches get a bad rap so I can accept your point. I really was worried about Warhop when the Bucs first hired him as their OL coach. He had just come from a Cleveland team that really did not have good offensive line play. Then before that he was on a San Francisco team that had bad offensive line play.

      I really was concerned after looking him up when he 1st got to the Buc’s(but it was just a guess). Now obviously he knows a lot more than me about the game of football, but I never felt he did anything in his history with the Buc’s to get me to be a believer in him.

      Now maybe he will do something in Jacksonville that makes it seem like he is strong. His head coach is an Offensive Line coach so he has that going for him. However, I still randomly guess that he will not be particular good there either.

      I do really like this current staff.

      +3
      0
      Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
      Please wait...
  6. To those worried about the RB position, I would be more worried about the O-Line first. If the line makes enough improvement this off season to net an additional 25-30 yards per game, I’d say that’s success. The run game needs to be just dangerous enough that the opposing front 7 bite on play-action, which they were not doing after the first few games last season.

    Another way to put it is, if the opposing defense commits to stopping Winston and the passing game, and dare us to rush the football, we just need enough improvement in the offensive line to make them regret it.

    +8
    0
    Rating: +8. From 8 votes.
    Please wait...
  7. Let me start by saying: Winston need to get better. He needs to protect the ball better and improve on his accuracy, but Mark I’m going to attempt to bust a myth that I keep hearing from a lot of people including you; “You don’t win in today’s NFL with a mediocre quarterback”…… Well I don’t know how feel about Nick Foles but he’s the very definition of a “mediocre” quarterback and he not only won a Super Bowl but was the MVP in 2017. Then he turned around in 2018 and lead the Eagles back to the playoffs. So let’s compare Foles career averages to Winston’s career.

    Nick Foles: average yards per year = 1600
    average TD’s per year = 10
    average Int’s per year = 5
    Jamies Winston: avg yrds per = 3700
    average TD’s = 22
    average Int’s = 14
    Not to completely defend Winston with some of his past transgressions but I think any GM with a brain would take Winston with the hopes of winning a Super Bowl. Sorry but the proof is in the pudding as they say.

    +9
    -1
    Rating: +8. From 10 votes.
    Please wait...
  8. Does capa honestly believe letting his hair grow so long he’s going to get stronger just like Samson?
    Dude, You’re in Tampa Florida; it’s hot as hell, get a haircut!

    +3
    -5
    Rating: -2. From 8 votes.
    Please wait...
  9. Improve the defense that couldn’t stop anyone and rarely forced a punt and the offensive line, not playing from behind, will improve greatly.

    +4
    0
    Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
    Please wait...