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: Will the Bucs sign Philip Rivers and draft a rookie QB, ending the Jameis Winston era in Tampa?

Answer: When the Buccaneers start looking at options to replace Jameis Winston, the pickings are kind of slim. Andy Dalton? Eli Manning? Marcus Mariota? A rookie not named Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa? I don’t see any of those being a better option than Winston at this point. Philip Rivers is somewhat interesting, but guess who was second behind Winston in interceptions (20) this season? You guessed it, Rivers.

And Rivers has nine children and still lives in San Diego. Rivers actually commutes 80 miles one way to get to Los Angeles where the Chargers now play. I don’t foresee him packing up and moving his wife and children from the West Coast to Tampa if he isn’t even willing to move them to Los Angeles.

Washington QB Jacob Eason
Washington QB Jacob Eason – Photo by: Getty Images

As far as drafting a rookie, that isn’t out of the realm of possibility at all. In fact, regardless of what decision is made on Winston, I think the Buccaneers do bring in a rookie quarterback although I doubt it will be a first-round pick. The problem is, finding one outside of the first round hasn’t proven to be good odds for most teams. There are hundreds of mediocre quarterbacks drafted for every sixth-round steal like Tom Brady.

Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts or Washington’s Jacob Eason could be a Day 2 player the Bucs target who could sit a year, or if Winston is re-signed and earns a new contract, then Tampa Bay has a developing backup or even potential trade capital down the road. PewterReport.com will have plenty of draft coverage and previews coming up over the next four months, and of course, plenty of quarterback profiles.

Question: How much of Jameis Winston’s turnovers would you suspect come from a feeling of having to do it all or too much, especially with no consistent running game or kicking game?

Answer: I think there could be some truth to that, although I think Jameis Winston’s biggest issue is just poor decision-making. There is no question that he has the utmost confidence in his arm and his DNA is programmed to be a gunslinger. And this offense requires throws that most offenses don’t ask their quarterback to attempt. At least not the frequency that Bruce Arians’ scheme does.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and OC Byron Leftwich
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and OC Byron Leftwich – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich could design an offense where Winston wouldn’t throw but just a handful of interceptions in a season. They could design a safe, easy offense without any problem. But how successful would the Bucs be just dinking and dunking the ball and not taking advantage of the downfield skill sets of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin? That isn’t a realistic option given Tampa Bay’s weaponry.

Looking at Winston’s career prior to this season, the highest number of interceptions he’s thrown in a single season was 18, which averages to just over one per game. Even if he got back to that standard, this football team can win a lot of games. The Bucs would have won a lot of games this year had Winston not thrown 30 interceptions. And in Carson Palmer’s first season under Arians in Arizona he threw 22 picks, but never had more than 14 after that. So the hope is if Winston is re-signed, that some of the issue is partly the system and he will revert back to his 14-18 average of interceptions and the 30 picks this year was just an anomaly.

Question: Is there any hope this team will learn how to win before Bruce Arians gives up and re-retires or get fired?

Answer: I believe there is plenty of hope. I think when there dust settles and fans take a look at 2019 after their emotions have simmered down, they will see a football team with a lot of potential to be very good in 2020. Of course it all starts with the quarterback, but even if it is Jameis Winston that returns under center, there are plenty of positives to build on.

Bucs K Matt Gay
Bucs K Matt Gay – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs were two bad kicking games from winning nine games this year. Maybe even 10 wins if Matt Gay connects right before halftime at Seattle. So they could have potentially won 10 games – even with 30 interceptions, a historically bad defense to start the season and little support from the running game.

I think the glass is half full not half empty. Bruce Arians knows how to coach, and his staff does as well. Imagine that interception number cut in half next year. Imagine a defense that starts the season the way it ended it and imagine a schedule that doesn’t require a team to travel across the country twice – and the Atlantic Ocean once – and not being at home for seven straight weeks. There is plenty of hope in Tampa Bay.

Question: The franchise tag is the most reasonable option for Jameis Winston, right?

Answer: I think it is the only option. The organization can’t commit to Jameis Winston for more than one year at this point. There are just too many unknowns that this team doesn’t have answers to with Winston as of yet. Anything more than the franchise tag could hurt the team down the road if the Buccaneers guarantee a large contract and he doesn’t pan out and substantially cut down his turnovers.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston and head coach Bruce Arians
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Getty Images

Bruce Arians said following the game the evaluation will being soon, and that no decision has been made with regards to Winston’s return. And a team source told me before the game that a contract extension or the use of the franchise tag hasn’t even been discussed as of yet, and that the Ian Rapoport report that the team had decided to being Winston back was completely untrue. We still believe Winston returns in 2020, but no official decision has been made as of now.

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]

43 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think Rivers is likely, but there will be other guys out there that could step in. Solidify the D by bringing back the core [Shaq, JPP, Shu] and add a few pieces to the D, beef up the O line and just get decent on special teams and we’re in the hunt in 2020.

    Thing is I’m not impressed with BA’s offense with Leftwich calling the plays, the guy has hurt us throughout the season. Our offense is all down field all the time, and yesterday was the first time we even hinted at using our running game. You don’t have to go all dink and dunk, but no question the risk it for the biscuit is what BA wanted and it’s what he got. With his choices for OC and QB, BA has only to look at himself to figure out how he earned his first losing record as a HC.

    I’m not giving #3 a pass, Jamies still has to decide where, when and how to throw the ball. In my view he lost us the last two games and the turnaround I’ve been hoping for hasn’t happened. Next up: whatever we need to do to win – period.

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    • And just who are theses other guys in your opinion?

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      • Look I am not saying that you personally think any of these guys are better than Winston – all that needs to happen is that the Buc’s brain trust has to think one is close, better, or just a better value for the team, or maybe just a new try instead of trying the same thing over again – like hitting your head on the wall thinking Jameis will figure out the turnover issue.

        Here is a list of guys that might be available:

        Free Agents
        Rivers
        Bridgewater
        Brady (not really)
        Tannehill
        Brees (not really)
        Prescott(not really)
        Mariotta
        Keenum
        C Daniel
        C McCoy

        Possible/probable cap casualties:
        Flacco (his numbers in Baltimore are similar to Johnny Unitas -lol)
        Newton
        Dalton
        A Smith
        Fitzpatrick/Rosen

        Maybe the Bucs value one of these guys more than you do personally. There are a lot of guys there.

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        • IF that’s the possible list of free agents, I think I just vomited in my mouth. 2 guys nearly as old as me, 1 hopefully-gets-out-of-New Orleans, and a bunch of meh.

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        • Rivers is second in the league in interceptions with 20.

          Bridgewater
          Tannehill
          Mariotta
          Keenum
          C Daniel
          C McCoy
          A Dalton
          D Carr

          Wouldn’t take any of the QBs above over Winston, maybe Bridgewater.

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          Rating: -2. From 10 votes.
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      • Most obvious is Bridgewater. I’d take a look at Dalton. I’d also make a run at Derrek Carr with the Raiders – just don’t think he’s Gruden’s guy.

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        Rating: +6. From 14 votes.
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        • I agree with you 100 per..?! Wait.. Dalton?? As in Andy Freakin’ DALTON??? The guy who was able to do all that.. Umm.. What do you call it?! Nothing! Yeah he did a whole LOT of NOTHING in Cincy for around or over a decade with AJ Green to throw the ball to! Ok… I agree with you 66.67%!

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          Rating: -2. From 6 votes.
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          • I hear ya on Dalton, but I really like him out of college and he had a handful of decent season early in his career. Never thought Marvin Lewis was much of a head coach and chalked up Dalton’s fall to Lewis and his drop off. And BA has experience salvaging Cinci QB’s!

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            Rating: +1. From 5 votes.
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          • Why bring in Andy Dalton? His clone is already on the roster. Blaine Gabbert! Problem solved!

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  2. Draft a QB, roll with Gabbert, and Griffen till he’s ready. We tend to think Arains doesn’t want a rookie because his time at coaching might be short. Where we’re wrong is I’m sure BA would like to see Leftwich succeed him as HC, so giving him someone to develop is more then possible. I remember when we played Houston BA said he was going to draft Watson had he not been picked one spot ahead of AZ. So Arains knows QB’s win games, and having one in the bullpen is a good thing. Arains knows the game has changed, having a QB that can keep defenses on their heals with there running ability is a good thing. Guys like Watson, Jackson, Murray, are the future of the league. Big strong pocket passers, with slow releases, and limited running ability are becoming things of the past. Something to keep in mind come draft time, and deciding whether to pay Mr. pick six big money.

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    • Gabbert has been terrible everywhere he’s played.

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      Rating: +15. From 15 votes.
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    • Those Kinds of guys are always the future of the league, until they all get hurt and are gone. When we play AZ I was impressed with the touch Murray had on his deep passes and his ability to take off at times, but his little 5’10” frame will not hold up long. Watson looks promising but isn’t he another Cam Newton? Jackson is lighting things up and seems like a more well rounded Vick kind of but how long will he hold up? Time will tell I guess…

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      • They all look good until some one faster catches them

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    • Good thing you aren’t the GM 😂

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  3. This team for all practical purposes was eliminated from the playoffs the second week in October,15 – 16 INT’s killed the playoff chances for this team in the end 30 is just a pure joke
    Anybody wanting to keep Winston is doing so without caring about winning this quarterback is a loser that’s what he does he loses and he did lose and he will lose again next year just hope it’s for another team.

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    Rating: -4. From 36 votes.
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  4. So my questions is if neither Jameis Winston and his agent nor Shaq Barrett and his agent come to an agreement with the Buc’s before March 5th (or whatever the date) on a long term contract which of those two players do the Bucs put the Franchise tag on.

    I suggest a voting method:
    Give me a thumbs up if you want the franchise tag on Jameis Winston.
    Give me a thumbs down if you want the franchise tag on Shaq Barrett.

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    Rating: -24. From 50 votes.
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    • Bucs rarely use the tag. It will be interesting to see if they use a franchise or transition tag on him. Transition tag gives Bucs right of first refusal and a lower contract than the franchise tag. Either tag may result in Winston sitting out like Leveon Bell did a year ago.

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      • Jameis will not sit out he doesn’t have a name like bell does

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  5. I would feel a lot better about reaching a viable solution at QB if we had a viable GM to create that solution.

    With the 14th pick, a trade up is certainly viable (we recently saw the Bills trade up from 12 to take Allen, for example)…but our GM is allergic to trading up in round 1.

    We could try to help Winston by drafting a viable OLIne, but our GM refuses to draft OLIne in round 1, refusing to admit his D Smith mistakes.

    Most likely we’ll franchise Winston, skip the QB in the draft (until maybe some mid round project), ignore OLine in the draft (until some mid rounder), and try the same whole thing again under the auspices of “we just need a second year under BA and all ills will be fixed”.

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    Rating: -6. From 14 votes.
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  6. No matter what, we get better next year. We improved in a lot of areas and I’m very proud of this team for the strides they made, they could have won every game this year. There are a lot of drawing boards to put up and evaluate. There are a number of FA players to bring back but also money to bring them back with. There is a Draft to complete with a lot less holes to fill than last year and a year of these schemes having been learned. If this coaching staff stays together, BA learned from his couple game time cobweb mistakes, Leftwich adjusts his playbook a little and Bowles stays, this team could be truly lethal next year. Decide on Winston one way or another and next year is gonna be a true competitive year. Calling it now (barring anything crazy).

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    Rating: +7. From 11 votes.
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  7. Winston doesn’t deserve the franchise tag!! That’s too much money. I think 2 year deal, $20 mill per. He’d be lucky to find that in free agency.

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    Rating: +11. From 17 votes.
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    • In this league, some one will offer more than $20 million per year. That’s why I’m loosening up my arm…

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  8. Mark I believe you are in total denial because he played at Florida State!
    Even I, as a loyal Seminole, has seen this scene before in Tallahassee.

    Also, what not makes you think Arians and Weftwich had a planned scheme to help Winston? I would think 33 TD’s and over 5,100 passing yards tells me they did!

    No need to defend my position anymore. Enough said. Go Bucs!

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    Rating: +2. From 4 votes.
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  9. Downfield skill sets? Evans is a box out player, Godwin runs like a RB, and Jones can’t get free except on screens. The only downfield threat is Perriman, who was failing in that role before the big 2 went out. Arians is just stuck in his offense and Lefty is too inexperienced to adjust it.

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    Rating: -5. From 11 votes.
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    • Plus, Winston has no touch for downfield throws anyway, and all his picks are short routes.

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      Rating: -3. From 7 votes.
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  10. I think BA will still go with Winston. I feel as though the “No risk it no biscuit” was literally what BA forced Winston to do.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if B.A. told Winston to MINIMALLY throw the ball away, and force the ball as best he could, just so he could see exactly what Winston’stendencies were when under duress, and what he is fully capable of.

    All that film will now tell BA what Winston truly sucks at, and configure the offense to Winstons strengths.

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    Rating: -2. From 10 votes.
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  11. The Bucs need to figure out how to acquire Derek Carr. Draft both sides of the ball and maybe find a kicker that won’t cost us 2 plus games a season. Oh a replace that God awful GM we’ve had for the last 6 seasons withOUT a single playoff birth. The white Marvin Lewis is ruining our team!

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    Rating: -1. From 9 votes.
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  12. Draft both lines of scrimmage* the trenches need addressing so we don’t have to pay so much for marginal OL play and have some reinforcements for the vets who even if resigned won’t be long term fixes. Oh yea and again another Gm Bc yet again he’s assembled a losing team with yet another round of coaches.

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    Rating: +5. From 5 votes.
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    • Tag Winston, focus on OL and RB – see what results. Lose some of the overpaid OLman Based on the schedule I see 10 wins with that.

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  13. What a hangover today, eh? A few made Matt Gay FGs and we are probably all cheersing to next season. Talking about Shaq Barrett and the defense. What a plot twist and OUCH it hurts.

    BA quote from 20 mins ago…

    “Coach Bruce Arians, when asked if this team could win with another quarterback: “With another quarterback? Oh yeah. If we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too.’’

    via Rick Stroud Twitter

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    • Except he had a losing season with this one. & if was a fifth he must be drunk. lol

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  14. Either way they go in the draft & with Winston will be rough. Tuff decisions will have to be made & lived with. No easy popular choices. we have a lot average players, some good solid players, & not enough great players.Too much play killing players in all three phases.This team still has discipline issues with fundamentals of the game. Not enough play makers in all 3 phases if any on special tea. Basically if Jason is retained for anything more than a figure head this team will be doomed another 10 + years. Jason has earned his pink slip if he gets one.

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  15. SIGN BRIDGEWATER!

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    • Bridgewater can’t throw a ball more then 20 yards, and he played behind one of the best olines in football this year.. Get the hell out of here with that.

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      • I’m I have no interest in hell. Just expressing my opinion. I was emotional at the time.

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  16. Lamar Jackson didn’t get hurt running for over a 1000 yards, and leading the league in TD throws, without the 30 interceptions! No I don’t want a pure running QB, I want a guy like Jackson, or better example Wilson. QB’s who are good at both. Jackson lasted till the end of the first round because he was viewed as a run only QB. How wrong other GM’s, and fans alike were. Yeah Jackson might get hurt running one day, but it also might happen throwing from the pocket. All I know is he has his team in the playoffs after only playing two seasons with a first round bye, and home field advantage. Our QB has had five friggin years, no playoffs, no division titles, one winning season. We can, and should look to do better.

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    • They have an OFFENSIVE LINE. The Best in the league by far…. but him in TB and good luck

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  17. Discussing Winston in open company is a little like discussing Trump. Nobody loves him but a lot of people hate him. Those who don’t hate him just say “that’s Trump being Trump.” Trouble is we don’t get a vote. I’m more concerned about those who just want to blow up the team. We ended with the third best offense in terms of yards and among the top 5 in points scored. Every team in the playoffs had fewer yards than us. We ended with the fifteenth best defense and among the top 5 over the final six weeks of the season. THIS IS A MUCH BETTER TEAM THAN THE ONE WHO FINISHED LAST SEASON. We made gigantic gains in the red zone offense, which is very important. The nucleus is here to win now. Winston has to show that he can play under pressure. One year contract likely a franchise tag. It simply is not true that he did not improve. He reduced his fumbles and threw a much better long ball. He trailed only Mahomes and Prescott in pass completions over 40 yards.
    Only 7 of 32 NFL teams improved their record by 2 or more wins:
    Ravens
    Packers
    49ers
    Raiders
    Bills
    Jets
    Buccaneers

    BA had as good a first year as Dungy.

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    Rating: +5. From 7 votes.
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  18. Winston is good. He keeps us in games. Our kicker cost us 2 games minimum (giants 5 pts and atlanta 9 pts). Its kicking a ball for heaven sakes, alot easier to find than a QB with 5k yrds and 33 TDs.

    But INTs are an issue and needs to be addressed as we all know.

    I agree – Tag him for next, get rid of the Overpaid OLman and draft OL and RB.

    I’d consider trading Evans (v good, but not tough enough) for a #1 & #3 to free up cap space to fix OL and DL. But only for the right trade.

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    Rating: -3. From 5 votes.
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  19. After 5 years in the NFL it is clear that Winston can win games for the BUCS but never a division title or championship. He is and always has been a turnover machine. Time to move on.

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    • Always good to hear from you Bill.

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  20. In my view, unless Licht, Arians and staff do an over-the-top sell job to retain Jameis Winston, the Glazer’s vote is going to be to reluctantly move-on. Not to save money, since the salary cap will get spent somewhere. To retain the players we want and acquire a few more select free agents with a QB who is not so polarizing. They realize the anti-Winston crowd will be thrilled and that even the pro-Winston folks will certainly understand the logic of the decision.

    Perhaps Blaine Gabbert can be that “bridge” quarterback while the draftee develops. I sure don’t like any of the free agent QB’s that might be available except maybe Bridgewater.

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  21. There has to be a reason Jameis threw more picks with BA than previously and the answer is BA’s system contributes to more interceptions for any QB in the first year in BA’s system. However, in the second year in BA’s system the QB throws a significantly less number of interceptions. BA has already made Jameis able to throw deep accurately even when throwing to a short receiver, and BA has also made Jameis a lot more dangerous in the red zone, which is why Jameis could throw for 30 TDS this year. So I don’t think that it will be that hard with Jameis in his second year under BA to cut his interceptions in half and get us to the playoffs next year. It is worth the gamble to franchise tag him this year. Once that happens the fans will come back and cheer for Jameis. BA is smart enough to say no risk it no biscuit in keeping Jameis! Jameis can get a big biscuit for some team; we need it to be our team.

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