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: Assuming there is a season, project some over/unders.
Brady: 37.5 TD passes
Gronk: 11.5 TD catches
Evans: 14.5 TD catches
Godwin: 11.5 TD catches
ROJO: 7.5 rushing TD
Shaq: 12.5 sacks
JPP: 9.5 Sacks
Murphy-Bunting: 3.5 INTs

Answer: This is one of the best and most fun questions I have had doing the Bucs Monday Mailbag over the the years. So let’s get to it.

Brady 37.5 TD passes
I will go with the under here. In his 20 years in the NFL, Tom Brady has only passed for more than 37 touchdown passes twice. And Jameis Winston in his one season in Bruce Arians’ offense, despite throwing for over 5,000 yards, had just 33 touchdown passes. I see Brady in the 28-34 TD pass range in 2020.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski and QB Tom Brady
Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Getty Images

Gronk: 11.5 TD catches
Again, I will go with the under on this one as well. In his career, Rob Gronkowski has only had two seasons with more than 11 touchdown passes. In an offense with this many weapons, and with him probably sharing duties with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, plus the red zone threat of Mike Evans, exceeding 11 TD receptions seems like a stretch.

Evans: 14.5 TD catches
For the reasons I mentioned above with Gronkowski I would bet the under on this one as well. Mike Evans will be a big presence is the passing game, and will get his share of touchdown catches, but 14.5 seems really high for a player on a team loaded with scorers. Evans set the team record with 12 TD catches as a rookie and matched it in 2016.

Godwin: 11.5 TD catches
I would bet the over on this one as I think Chris Godwin is poised to challenge for the being the best receiver in the entire league this season. He has been on an upward trend in his first three seasons with scoring (1,7,9 TDs) and I think this is the season where we see Godwin get into the end zone at least 12 times.

ROJO: 7.5 rushing TD
Again, like Godwin, Ronald Jones II has been improving every year and finished last year with six scores on the ground, and that was splitting time with Peyton Barber. Jones most likely is the featured back and should get even more carries inside the red zone so I see him with at least 10 scores on the ground in 2020.

Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Shaq: 12.5 sacks
Give me the over on this one. Not by much – maybe right at 12.5 or 13 sacks, but Shaquil Barrett wants that long-term deal and to prove he wasn’t a one-hit wonder in 2019 where he led the NFL in sacks with 19.5. Todd Bowles and his defensive staff have been in the lab all offseason scheming up ways to be even better at getting to the quarterback and Barrett is the main cog in those plans.

JPP: 9.5 Sacks
If healthy for 16 games, Jason Pierre-Paul should be a double-digit sacker for the Buccaneers, so this is an easy “over” bet for me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he matched Barrett’s total or even had one or two more.

Murphy-Bunting: 3.5 INTs
The secondary should be even better than 2019, along with the entire defense which means more opportunities to get interceptions and turnovers in general. Someone in the secondary will have more than 3.5 interceptions. In fact more than one, but I don’t know that I would go with Sean Murphy-Bunting as the player to do that, although he had a team-high three as a rookie last year.

Question: If the 2020 season gets cancelled due to the “illness,” will Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski retire?

Answer: I think there is zero chance that either Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski would retire. In fact, I think they would be even more motivated to play and perform in 2021 if they couldn’t play this year. And while no one wants to see football not being played in 2020, a year off from the wear-and-tear of the rigors of a season would probably do both players a world of good.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Getty Images

And in Gronkowski’s case it would actually be two years off. For a player who’s body has been battered, another year off would only help.

For now, let’s just hope we can see football played in 2020 and not have to even think about your scenario. I’m not overly confident it happens, but selfishly, it is what I am hoping is able to happen.

Question: With screen passes being a higher focal point this year than last year, could we see guys like Scotty Miller, Mike Evans, and even O.J. Howard used as such? Miller with his speed along with Evans and Howard with big bodies and deceptive speed?

Answer: I think that is certainly a possibility and something that Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich have looked at this offseason. Getting the ball of Tom Brady’s hand as soon as possible is the best way to protect a soon-to-be 43-year old whether it be screens, shallow crossing routes and other designed plays.

With the Bucs most likely to start rookie first-rounder Tristan Wirfs at right tackle there could be some early growing pains on the offensive line. Despite being a freak of an athlete for his age at 42, Brady would be hard pressed to survive the hits that Jameis Winston took over the last few years.

Question: The Bucs have made huge strides in almost every area, but our kicking game still has me worried. Tampa Bay probably would have been a playoff team last year without Matt Gay’s mistakes. Is he our kicker for the future or do the Bucs have a Plan B?

Bucs K Matt Gay
Bucs K Matt Gay – Photo by: Getty Images

Answer: I think the only “Plan B” is keeping fingers crossed that May Gay gets it figured out in 2020. At one point last season Gay was on his way to finishing as one of the most accurate kickers in team history and a Top 10 kicker in the league. Of course we all remember the season finale where he missed three kicks against Atlanta that cost the team a win, and the painful, last-second miss against the Giants is also hard to forget.

I don’t blame Gay for the Buccaneers missing the playoffs in 2019. But an argument could be made that is he makes the kick against the Giants and one against Falcons that a 9-7 finish in 2019 would mean a team with Jameis Winston under center in 2020 and Tom Brady playing elsewhere.

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]
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Pete Wood

I agree with the under on Brady, but that 33 TD stat for Winston deserves a huge asterisk. Yeah, he only had 33 TDS, but he had 30 ints. No way Brady turns the ball over that much.

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SufferingSince76

The Bucs kicking woes are other-worldly. Why do they have so many problems with their kickers? I know Grammatica and Bryant were decent, but that’s only 2 in 43 years!!

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TB2018

don’t forget connor barth and michael husted. they were decent too.

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TB2018

and donald igewbuike (sp?)

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SufferingSince76

My bad. Totally forgot about those guys. Ok. That’s 5. Still not stellar. According to Pro Football Reference, TB has had 30 kickers in 43 years and that doesn’t count guys like David Green (Punter) and George Yarno (Guard) who also kicked.

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scubog

That was hysterical when George Yarno was made the kicker I wonder if Dave Green is still in the area. Great guy.

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AuclairlyCanadian

We sure got our karma letting Bryant go, eh?!

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BigSombrero

The “Under” is a great bet for every single category. Tom Brady will be checking it down and not “risking it” to get the biscuit. He will rely on the defense to shut teams down and hope he can lead the offense to a final drive to nail a game winning field goal. He’s done that for years with Viniateri and Gostkowski.

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BigSombrero

Maybe Gay will be better with increased pressure and expectations from Tom Brady?

After re-watching multiple games from last season this weekend, the special teams punt return strategy was pretty bad. The Bucs consistently caught the ball inside the 10 yard line and forced Winston to go the length of the field. Hopefully the coaches pull their heads out of their asses and tell returners to get away when it’s kicked inside the 10.

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Dave

The under is the right call for most of the pass catchers. But it’s definitely not because he supposedly always checks the ball down. The check down isn’t a designed play. It’s what you do when your receivers can’t get open. Seeing as he has Evans, Godwin, Gronk, OJ, and Brate, he’ll be checking down less than he ever has. Because I don’t see any scenario where none of those guys can get open. Not to mention, check downs have absolutely nothing to do with TD receptions or TD passes. Brady since 2015, has averaged 32 TD passes per year.… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Dave
BigSombrero

Go back and watch the Patriots games from last year. I watched the Bengals win and Chiefs loss. Brady overthrew/underthrew multiple wide open receivers. His deep passes were late. His sacks were plentiful. Your rose colored glasses will lead you to massive disappointment.

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geno711

Tom Brady threw a 33 yard dime to Philip Dorsett in that Cincinnati game that was just beautiful.   That was a crazy good throw.    Did not go back and watch the rest of the game but I think that one throw on the NFL network was one of the top throws in the league last year.   I know Edelman was wide open for the TD in the KC and in theory on the flea flicker that Brady under threw him.    But it was an easy TD and it was accomplished as a TD so I think that he purposely under… Read more »

Dave

I live in MA. I’ve seen all the games. I just choose not to pick apart the 3 or 4 below average throws per game, because I’m not biased. Instead, I choose to remember the other 35 throws in the game that were either completely on the money, or elite.

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BigSombrero

Youre fucking nuts buddy. His throws weren’t good. 35 on the money throws???? LOL. You are a moron. His leadership is amazing, but that’s where the fairy tale ends bub.

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Last edited 10 days ago by BigSombrero
AuclairlyCanadian

Someone’s a gloomy Gus

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Dave

Yeah 37.5 is crazy high. I think with Brady it’s gonna be more about efficiency than volume stats. More balance, long drives, high 3rd down %, high TOP, etc..in fact I’d hammer the under on all of those. Only one I’d take the over on is Rojo, over 7.5 rushing TD’s. For Brady I think he’ll settle in 4500 yds 34 TD’s 10 INT’s. Evans: 80 rec 1275 yds 10 TD’s. Godwin: 105 rec 1375 yds 8 TD’s. And Gronk: 60 rec for 850 10 TD’s in 13 games Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+10 Rating: +1. From 1 vote.… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Dave
Spitfire

I agree about Brady and Gronk. Having 2020 off would be absolutely terrible for Fans, but it would give the team a year to learn the new playbook and get on the same page and Brady and Gronk both workin together to get back into their groove and 2021 would probably be even better than 2020 will be. But let’s hope 2020 is happening.

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Dave

I know from a health standpoint, a year off would do Brady a lot of good. Gronk im not sure it makes a difference or not. But having no season, and having Brady throw his first Bucs pass in a game at age 44, scares me more than if his first pass came this year. I think him playing this year and next is more beneficial. I think, the insane amount of work he’s been putting in so far, should negate the setback of him moving to a new team, with covid Impacting a lot of players off seasons. So… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Dave
seat26

Brady will throw fewer Interceptions, but he will also throw fewer TD’s, and a lot less yards. And he will be sore after getting sacked as much as Tampa QBs get sacked. Gronk has to show he still has it after being out of football for a year. I would be happy if he gets close to 5 TDs. Shaq will get a whole lot of sacks, probably not as much as last year. ROJO snags 10 TDs and a couple in the air. Bunting and Dean will produce plenty of interceptions. Our secondary will be the strongest unit on… Read more »

Dave

This whole getting sacked as much as TB QB’s get sacked is so incredibly misguided. It’s not how much Bucs QB’s get sacked, it’s how much Jameis gets sacked. That’s JW, not Brady. The notion that Brady is all of a sudden going to forget how to play football and start getting sacked left and right, is insane. He’s not JW. The ball will be out on time, all the time. The 6 best pocket passers of the last 35 years(Brady, Montana, Manning, Brees, Favre, and Marino) all have the same track record of getting the ball out quick. It’s… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Dave
fredster

All the over under stuff sounds about right assuming al are healthy of course. I’m not much of a betting man though.
Gay has me concerned too. Hope he works out but after all the years of struggling it’s hard to be optimistic with Bucs kickers and say I think he will be ok.

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