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: Not to sound harsh, but why won’t the Bucs just cut Jason Pierre-Paul if Bruce Arians said it might be six months before he might even play? Start to look at a trade option or use that $7.5 million elsewhere? After all, it’s a business.
Answer: I get what you are saying and I don’t necessarily disagree. But I am not Jason Licht, Bruce Arians nor am I a member of the Glazer family. They are the ones who would make that decision. Arians did say on ESPN on Friday that it could be six months before Jason Pierre-Paul plays again, but is that six months from last Friday? Or is it six months from the the date of the accident that occurred early in May? That might be a huge factor.
Bucs OLB Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
If they are confident he can get back on the field by the middle of November, what a boost it would be for the defense to bring in a fresh quality pass rusher for what I am sure Arians is expecting to be a playoff push.
The Bucs will continue to be on the lookout for pass rush help, via roster cuts after training camp or even possibly a trade, although that doesn’t seem too likely. The Bucs starting right outside linebacker in September very well may not even be on their current roster. Arians has a history of bringing in veterans players (edge rushers Dwight Freeney and John Abraham) close to the start of football season that end up contributing. I would expect this team to continue looking, and have some guys on the radar that if they get released, then the Bucs would jump at signing.
Question: Byron Leftwich is taking over as offensive coordinator this year. His body of work as a coach so far is minimal. Shouldn’t fans be concerned too much responsibility is being handed to a coach who hasn’t demonstrated success?
Answer: Fans might be concerned, but Bruce Arians isn’t. And I am going to trust the guy with Super Bowl rings and a couple Coach of the Year awards.
Now, could Arians be wrong? Possibly, and it won’t take long to know. The good news is there are capable play-callers on this staff that could handle the job in case it turns out awful, including Arians himself.
However, while Leftwich is officially the offensive coordinator, I do believe it will be a collaborative effort between Leftwich, Arians, quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, who was a former NFL play-caller, and run game coordinator Harold Goodwin. And make no mistake, Arians will be in Leftwich’s ear on the headset offering his input on game days.
Question: Is Ndamukong Suh going to be lockered next Vita Vea, like Gerald McCoy was last year?
Answer: We have no idea as of yet, as the media doesn’t have locker room access until the preseason begins. As of now, player availability is when they come off the field following OTAs and mini-camp, and select players in the media studio from time to time. And it is quite possible this staff is still deciding how they want the players grouped in the locker room for training camp.
Bucs DT Vita Vea – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
I am not sure how hands-on Bruce Arians is with how the locker room groupings or the “seating chart,” but for the most part, positional players are grouped together. For instance Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin were locker neighbors over the last few years. Wide receivers Adam Humphries, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Justin Watson were together, and as you mentioned, Gerald McCoy, Vita Vea and Jason Pierre-Paul all were side by side under Koetter’s time in Tampa Bay.
Question: What do the strength coaches have planned to make this training camp better with special equipment, techniques etc.?
Answer: I don’t have a lot of specifics, or at least a lot I can share at this time, but let’s just say it will be drastically difference from the last regime. From nutrition plans, to even having some of the equipment removed and replaced with different machines inside the weight room. And just last week the Buccaneers announced a hiring that brings it all together.
In fact here is the press release from the team we received last week.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that the team has hired Greg Skaggs as its director of athlete performance.
In the newly-created role, Skaggs will oversee the team’s sports science program, working closely with Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Anthony Piroli and Head Athletic Trainer Bobby Slater to develop best practice policies for player training and recovery.
Skaggs will help develop a program to optimize player performance and safety while collaborating with the medical services team who will implement evidence-based recovery protocols and evaluate factors to help predict and prevent future injuries.
Skaggs comes to the Buccaneers from the University of Oregon, where he served as the Director of Athletic Medicine from 2007-2019. Prior to being hired full-time with the Ducks, Skaggs spent 10 years in private practice as a family practice and sports medicine practitioner in Oregon and worked with the University of Oregon Athletic Medicine Department part-time for three years.”
Due to the rash of injuries over the last couple of years, especially last season, general manager Jason Licht wanted to get better on all fronts and improving the training staff was one of them. He received the blessings of Bruce Arians, who was all for the increased staff and is a big believer in sports science.
Skaggs will oversee both the strength and conditioning staff, as well as the training staff and make sure those two units work in tandem to help prevent injuries and aid in the speedy recovery of injured players. Skaggs is one of the best in the business and Tampa Bay was fortunate enough to pry him away from Oregon.
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, the beach and family time.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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