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 comments section.
Question: Assuming the Bucs part ways with Dirk Koetter, what are your thoughts on former Packers coach Mike McCarthy as the next head coach, if you don’t think he’d be a good fit, who do you like?
Answer: Well Mike McCarthy’s 125-77-2 record speaks for itself on many levels. That is pretty darn good winning percentage by coaching standards. Yet the Packers have just one Super Bowl trophy to speak of for all the regular season wins – and that was with an elite NFL quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. How much of the Packers’ success was due to McCarthy and how much of it is due to Rodgers? Did Rodgers help “make” McCarthy?
Of course the same point could be made about Sean Payton with the Saints as well. Despite having a first ballot Hall of Famer in Drew Brees, Peyton is actually behind McCarthy in winning percentage and has only one championship, too.
So the Bucs could do much worse than hiring McCarthy if they do in fact decide to let Dirk Koetter go. But that isn’t as much of a foregone conclusion as most thought it was a couple weeks back. Certainly a lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but the Bucs have already equaled last year’s win total and they still have four games to go. The Glazers want to see progress, and if this team can pick up a couple more wins and Jameis Winston continues to play well, I see Koetter sticking around and being back in 2019.
I don’t really have any other names at this point as possible replacements, but I have written about my fondness for John Harbaugh. However, the Ravens, behind rookie Lamar Jackson, won again on Sunday, and with each win it becomes less likely that Harbaugh will be let go as many thought he might just a few weeks ago.
Question: Will DeSean Jackson play another game this year? Will the emergence of Chris Godwin allow the Bucs to deactivate Jackson for the rest of the season?
Answer: It is really too soon to say. With DeSean Jackson nursing an injured thumb, the severity of the injury will go a long way in determining if Jackson is back, obviously. Jackson’s medical notes and reports were sent out last week for a second opinion and we haven’t really heard anything new on that front.
I can’t say that Chris Godwin’s play on Sunday will have any bearing on the Bucs making a decision on Jackson, but only because the team knew what they had in Godwin before Sunday’s five-catch, 101-yard, one-TD performance. There is no question that Jackson brings the deep speed element to the team that even a younger Godwin can’t replicate. Koetter and his staff love that about Jackson and how it allows them to do other things offensively just with his presence on the field.
Of course what good is a fast guy if he and the quarterback can’t get on the same page for whatever reason? And that’s been the big problem – the downfield chemistry between Jackson and quarterback Jameis Winston.
But Godwin’s performance against the Panthers gives the Bucs staff and their fans the ability to breathe much easier if Jackson is out for more games this season.
Question: I know it’s the longest of long shots, but humor me. Besides a Bucs win next week, what are we rooting for next week to help Tampa make the playoffs?
Answer: Tampa Bay is still alive in the playoff hunt, but it is still a huge hurdle to climb to get there because the best record the Bucs can achieve at this point is 9-7. But they are still alive.
Right now, the Seahawks (7-5), Vikings (6-5-1), Panthers (6-6), Redskins (6-5) and possibly the Eagles (5-6) have a better record as they battle for the two NFC wild card playoff spots. So you would want to root for whoever those teams are playing against, and of course, hope the Bucs can somehow extend this two-game winning streak to three games with a win against New Orleans on Sunday.
Question: If the Bucs continue wining, and Dirk Koetter keeps his job, do you foresee Mark Duffner returning as the defensive coordinator?
Answer: Absolutely. Now if the Bucs could just petition the league to play all 16 games at home next season, this team makes the playoffs – easy. I kid, of course, but the difference between at home scoring defense and on the road scoring defense is a 20-point swing. That’s right, 20 points better at home. That is really an amazing stat when you think about it.
However, for all of this to happen, the Bucs need to win, and prove they can also play solid defense on the road. They will have two tough tests to show they are better than the stats say. Tampa Bay will have to travel to Baltimore (7-5) and then Dallas (7-5) in back-to-back games this month and those two games will go a long way in determining everyone’s future for 2019.
And if they do manage to pick up a couple more wins and Dirk Koetter saves his job, he will have Mark Duffner to thank as a big reason why he come back. What he was able to accomplish with a makeshift secondary on Sunday against Carolina was as impressive as anything I have seen in my 40-plus years of watching this franchise.
Think about it, by the end of the game, the secondary was comprised of players that were fourth-preseason, hoping-to-make-a-roster-somewhere type of players. Duffner is getting through to these guys and proving he has the smarts to game plan well. Next week against the high-powered Saints offense will be a huge test.