The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our @PewterReport 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: Why does it feel like Ronald Jones II is not the number 1 back? If he runs the ball on the goal line, I have no doubt we score. Leonard Fournette misses the hole a bit too much and doesn’t hit it as hard and fast as Jones. Why is RoJo being held back so much?
Answer: That is one of life’s mysteries – like who built Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? In other words, we may never know.
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
As I mentioned in the most recent Most Disappointing article on Sunday night, there isn’t anything we can point to and say that Leonard Fournette does better than Ronald Jones II. Possibly a small case could be made he is a better pass protector, but that is negligible in my opinion. Fournette doesn’t just miss the hole at times, he is indecisive, and when around the goal line, dancing behind the line of scrimmage gets running backs dropped for a loss in most cases.
Jones averaged 7.3 yards per carry on Sunday afternoon against the Chiefs, but only had nine attempts. Nine. That is almost criminal. The Bucs only attempted to run 17 times on Sunday and only 18 times the week before.
If teams want to keep a quick-strike offense off the field as much as possible, they must control the clock. And they do that by keeping the clock moving while churning out yards on the ground, not going three-and-out. The Bucs’ first four drives of the game went for, 2:00, 1:18, 1:27 and 1:32 in terms of time of possession.
As a result, the Bucs trailed 17-0 in the first quarter and that limited Tampa Bay’s use of the running game from the second quarter on. The Bucs lost the time of possession by 13:33 against the Chiefs.
Question: Is there any chance after the bye week that Bruce Arians considers taking over play calling from Byron Leftwich?
Answer: Considering and doing are two different things. Bruce Arians might consider it, but I think there is very little chance that it happens. He wouldn’t want to embarrass Byron Leftwich for one, but ultimately embarrass himself by saying he made a mistake for the last year and a half by having Leftwich call plays.
Bucs OC Byron Leftwich – Photo by: USA Today
At the end of the day, this is Arians’ offense that Leftwich is calling and running. Arians might call the plays at different times and in a different sequence, but the philosophy doesn’t change and they aren’t re-designing the playbook. It is what it is for this year. Perhaps they look at making changes in the offseason, but they won’t do anything drastic sitting at 7-5 with four winnable game upcoming.
Question: They say there are no moral victories, but I don’t know. After a nauseating first quarter, the Bucs adjusted and outscored the defending Super Bowl champions, 24-10, and damn near won the game. The Bucs should feel good about this loss, right?
Answer: We could say the same thing after the Rams game I suppose, but at the end of the day, the one on Sunday counts the same as the 38-3 drubbing by the Saints a few weeks ago. And if teams start thinking anything different, as a team at least, they are in trouble. Losses should fuel the entire organization to come back and be ready to work harder, stay later and do whatever it takes to get back on the winning track.
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
When casual fans glance at the final score from Sunday as opposed to watching the game they might think it was much closer than it actually was. While the 27-24 final score was only a three-point differential at no point did I ever feel like the Bucs were in control or had a shot at winning, as they often trailed by 17 or 10 points throughout much of the game. It almost felt like the Chiefs pulled back on the reins a little bit in the second half.
Yes, we can feel good about the fight the team showed, and as CBS commentator Tony Romo said, he feels the Bucs offense grew a little in this game and should continue to get better.
But honestly it isn’t the offense that bothers me as much as the defense that seemed to not have many answers for the Chiefs offense. For almost the last four weeks we have heard Bruce Arians say he likes how the defense adjusted in the second half. My concern is why they weren’t more prepared for what their opponents were going to do right out of the gate. It’s Week 12, there are very few new wrinkles teams are showing at this point in the season.
Question: Is it time to start a discussion on replacing the coaching staff? It is the same tired vanilla game plan every week that opponents have figured out. Did you listen to Tony Romo saying that we are not playing to Tom Brady’s strengths?
Answer: If the Bucs fail to make the playoffs, then perhaps some changes might be made but there likely won’t be any major overhaul. Tom Brady is here at least one more year and this team isn’t going to throw a brand new staff at him in what could be his final season.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
I heard what Tony Romo said and didn’t disagree with anything he said. Even if Bruce Arians has what he thinks is a nice race track, if he buys a Formula One race car he can’t run it on a drag strip. I mean technically he could, but is he getting the best use out of the car by doing that?
Tampa Bay’s staff should absolutely be adapting their race track to fit Brady’s strengths, and I don’t think they have done that nearly enough this season so far.
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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