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: Does Shaq Barrett break the Bucs’ single season sack record? If so, who would you rather use the franchise tag on – him or Jameis Winston (assuming Winston doesn’t do quite enough for a long-term extension)?

Answer: There is still a long way to go this season, but Barrett is certainly on pace to do so. Warren Sapp holds there Bucs single season mark with 16.5 set in 2000. Sapp had 2.5 sacks through the first two games that year, while Barrett has four so far this season. The key to breaking Tampa Bay’s record will be multi-sack games here and there. In 2000, Sapp had five games where he registered more than one QB capture. But as good as he was, there were four games where Sapp was stonewalled and failed to notch a sack.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: Getty Images

If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t put my money on Barrett breaking Sapp’s record, however. And it isn’t that I don’t believe he is talented. It is just there isn’t another big time threat opposite Barrett to get to the quarterback showing up right now. Opposing teams aren’t stupid. When they put on the Carolina tape, they will see a left tackle getting abused and know they need to give him some help. Plus, the season has 14 games left and injury and attrition will play a part as well.

To get in that 15-plus sack range, a lot has to go right, including staying healthy, and Barrett has never been a full-time starter in the NFL. How will be hold up to the rigors of playing as many snaps per game that he has through the first two games, all season long?

Maybe if Jason Pierre-Paul gets back mid-season and that helps Barrett. With an additional edge rushing threat, it could free Barrett up for more one-on-one opportunities.

As far as who you give the franchise tag or big extension to – to Jameis Winston or Barrett – if both have outstanding seasons? I think the long-term deal would go to Winston. If the Bucs are convinced he is their guy for the long haul, then they get that wrapped up and out of the way. That doesn’t mean Tampa Bay can’t extend both of them, but it would be a little cheaper to tag Barrett.

Question: What would it take from Jameis Winston to get a new contract instead of being tagged?

Answer: A trip to the playoffs would most likely guarantee a new contract for Winston. Ultimately, it comes down to wins and losses for a quarterback to be viewed as successful. Stats are great, but if Winston can lead the Bucs from a 5-11 team to a 10-6 team and a playoff berth, I think Bruce Arians and Jason Licht will feel very comfortable moving forward with a long-term contract.

And if this team wins 10 games, then Winston will have performed well enough statically as well. Teams typically don’t win 10 games in the NFL by accident or with bad quarterback play.

Question: How would you grade the play calling of Byron Leftwhich through the first two games? What, in your opinion, can he do to improve upon his first two games as a full-time play caller?

Answer: Right now, I would probably give Byron Leftwich a “C” grade. That’s based more on results than anything – one win and one loss averages to a “C” in my opinion. I believe Leftwich is still getting his footing in the play-calling role. Yes, I know he had some experience last season with the Cardinals, but being the full-time play-caller from the first day of the offseason, with a brand new group of offensive players is different than taking over mid-season and running someone else’s offense.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston and OC Byron Leftwich – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The pressure of the situation isn’t easy, knowing Leftwich has been entrusted by Bruce Arians to lead an offense with a room full of potential Pro Bowlers is a lot different than taking over an extremely young, Cardinals team in turmoil last season. I do believe Leftwich finds his rhythm soon and he figures out what each guy does best. And he has an excellent mentor in Arians who can help guide him.

Question: A position we are in need of who would we trade for? I’m hearing rumors Tampa Bay might be looking into trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Answer: From what we have heard, the Bucs are not in the Minkah Fitzpatrick sweepstakes at all, and have no desire to jump in the mix. The Bucs seem content with what they have now in the secondary – even without Justin Evans – and the results from the first two games speak for themselves. And this young secondary group should only get better with more experience in the Todd Bowles’ scheme.

Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick - Photo by: Getty Images
Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick – Photo by: Getty Images

The Bucs front office is always looking to upgrade the roster, and are always looking for players that fit in their system and can make the team better. Tampa Bay doesn’t view the overrated Fitzpatrick as one or those players, and isn’t interested in making a trade. The Bucs passed over him in the 2018 draft and weren’t interested in him then. Not much has changed since.

There is a reason why the Dolphins don’t want Fitzpatrick anymore and are letting him pursue a trade. He’s not really a safety and he’s not really a cornerback in their system. Not to mention he’s not a sure tackler.

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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]

42 COMMENTS

  1. Lefty has called two good games IMVHO and I would grade him a B-. Bucs players need to clean up their sloppiness because the play calls in both games have been on point. For example the penalties ans whifs by the tackles and TE’s need to stop.

    What I like about the offense and defense this year is that from week to weak their approach changes. The reason why the Bucs do not have one identity on either side of the ball is that they are changing their approach based on the opponent they are facing.

    Don’t be surprised if the Bucs come out slinging the ball against the Giants early and then use the ground game late in the game.

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    • The Patriots are successful because their coach will make changes from quarter to quarter instead of waiting for halftime, or in some cases teams making no changes at all during a game. If we have coaches that will change things up after 2 or 3 possessions then we are lucky. So many coaches have a my scheme or nothing. They forget that the team they are hired to might not have the personnel to implement that scheme. Great coaches are defined by how they can make chicken soup with chicken [email protected]#$.

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      • Yup.

        right now the run blocking is better than the pass blocking so the Bucs are a “run first team” as stated by HC Arians.

        But if the Giants play a lot of soft zone don’t be surprised if the Bucs go an up tempo quick passing offense to exploit this.

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      • though it was chicken salad from chicken **it.

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    • Yep. And let’s not forget several key dropped passes.

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      • 76buc let’s not forget about the several key dropped INTs also. Winston has gotten lucky

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        • Yep.

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    • Changing the strategy based on your opponent? Who woulda thunk it? lol
      I for one am happy to finally see it

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  2. I would give him a C as well. Not just because of win and loss but Not enough play action. Week one seemed have lot difficult plays against good defense and was working very well.

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  3. Leftwich gets a D+ from me. Our defense is keeping us in games, and our offense is putting us at risk of losing. If it weren’t for Peyton Barber fighting and pushing piles, it would be lower. It’s entirely too predictable, not enough play action, no creativity…. it is relying on our receivers to get open down field and for Jameis to make perfect reads and throws, which he has not shown the ability to do. Trevor showed us how Arians likes receivers to run routes at different depths down the field, haven’t seen much of that. We need more quick slants, play action, and better check downs. The passing game is way too inconsistent. First down is a run EVERY TIME. Come on man, we can do WAY better.

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  4. BA needs to bench Perriman and let Watson or Miller gets some playing time. Let Leftwichhelp develop some of these younger receivers.

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    • I do see your point. I would be in favor of using them in rotation with Perriman. But be careful not to overreact 2 weeks into the season. We are paying him a decent amount of money, let’s see if he can fix the issues. If not, then bring in the other guys.

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      Rating: +9. From 9 votes.
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    • Agree – speed is nice but the book on Perriman is well read and – spoiler – the final chapter has him dropping the pass. Winston desperately needs his Humphries-outlet WR again…somebody how just gets open, sits down, and catches the damn ball!!!!!!

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      Rating: +11. From 11 votes.
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  5. Winston is in a critical year and now is the time to try out a new Offensive Coordinator? I could see it with an established veteran quarterback like what they are doing with Aaron Rogers but to take a fragile guy like Winston in a make or break year, with a new coaching staff and new system to learn, to add onto that a guy who is new to the OC job seems like a big gamble. You would think Bruce Arians would want to handle things directly with Winston and call the plays then let Leftwich be the QB coach this year. If it works out transition him to OC next year. Why this had to happen this year doesn’t make sense and Glazers didn’t think it made sense either. They wanted Arians calling the plays. This has better work out.

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    • No disrespect meant towards you, but I will trust the word and actions of a 2-time NFL Coach of the Year until such time as I have good reason not to trust him. That time has not come yet.

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  6. The Bucs honestly need too find another receive we are very bad after Godwin and Evans, and the Bucs should really go after minkah i think adding him would be a huge boost for us in the division especially with brees out until possible week 9.

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  7. Leftwich is fine. Could he improve? Yes. Remember, this is not in a vacuum. It isn’t as if he no longer talks to Bruce Arians and is on his own. I am sure after each game they talk about what went right, what went wrong. If things were awful (like the person saying D+) don’t you think Bruce Arians would be talking to him on the sidelines?

    The problems on offense the first week were the turnovers from Winston. The success the second week was the lack of turnovers from Winston. I would rather see him taking sacks (as he did the second week) rather than throwing multiple INTs – and he still came really close to having a turnover that game. The ball was dropped on the one INT (and it was not easy to catch, so it was not if he was really off the mark on that pass either).

    Shaq Barrett is playing very well right now. His best season was his first, where he had 5.5 sacks in Denver. he has never been a starter as stated here, and no one knows how well he will do over the season. It does not help he is the only serious threat right now on the line, so expect double teaming. I just hope that JPP can contribute this year so they actually have a threat on both sides of the line.

    Winston could get another contract even if the Bucs don’t make the playoffs. If he shows he can make good decisions on a consistent basis and not throw the INTs, and be accurate on passes, he will get another contract. Of course if he does all that the odds the team makes the playoffs rise exponentially. This team for the first time in awhile with this coaching staff has the chance to do well – but the weakest link will be Winston if he keeps turning the ball over like he did Week 1 with a fumble and two INTs his fault (of four).

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    • If Shaq Barrett is double teamed, and we know Vea is constantly double teamed, that’s 4 blockers for 2 players if my math is correct. That leaves N Suh and Nassib one on one with the blitzing defender untouched unless you keep the other TE to block, which also limits the number of receivers the ILBs and secondary have to cover, so I’d be happy if they started double teaming Shaq.

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      • Good point Eric. If that happens we will find out how much left in the tank N Suh has. I did discount him (unfairly) because the last couple of years his output has dropped some. Wrong on my part, thanks.

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  8. Look patience is the key. If they handoff more than go downtown, then this team has a chance for the playoffs. Chances are if we are going downtown more than 30% of the time then we have a losing season. If we trade, draft, or get anyone through free agency then we should focus on the O line and the D line. Protecting whom ever your quarterback is should be priority #1, and pressure on the opposing quarterback priority #2. We have the skill position players to be successful. To me this season is a let’s see what we got to work with even though BA will never admit anything but making the playoffs. Next season should be the money year.

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    • Going “downtown”? Is that you Marv Albert?

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      • Just channeling my inner Mar Albert. Though it could be argued the Nicks and Bucs are similar in fruitility.

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  9. Hey they have only played 2 games and are 1-1. Can anyone just take it a game at a time. Three sacks in a quarter is great but he had a straight shot to an apparently wounded Newton. I’m not saying that wasn’t thrilling but dam you think after the first sack someone would have given that poor tackle a little help. When you have suffered through years of Buc’s football you learn to take it one game at a time. Now we need consistency, we need to see if Leftwhich has a good game against NYG and if Bowles can add another strong defensive effort. We don’t need to Trade for another DB, decide if Winston should get paid next year, or reconsider our WR lineup. And don’t be elated that Drew Breez is hurt or Cam is not 100%, Focus of Saquan and the Giants Sunday and hope we can get to 2-1. Thats how you learn how to WIN. Go Buc’s.

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    Rating: +9. From 11 votes.
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  10. Carlton Davis needs to improve. The guy is a penalty machine and the VH III made so many tackles against the Panthers because the receivers kept playing pitch and catch with Newton against him.
    On the plus side, at least he is in the same zip code this year in order to tackle them.

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    Rating: +3. From 13 votes.
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    • Davis is improving. He had the 3rd highest tackles vs. Carolina (7) and he had 2 passes defensed, which was the most of any DB. One of the pass break ups was on third down and he laid out to break up the pass. It was a really great play that stopped Carolina’s drive and momentum. Samuel and Moore had less than 100 yards and no touchdowns.

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    • I expect him to continue improving. If not, Jamel Dean is waiting in the wings to take his place.

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      • Dean and Davis IMO are the future starting CB’s.

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  11. Solid across the board on this, Mark. Only trade I see worthwhile is for the O-line, that’s barring injuries to other position.

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  12. Gosh you guys are impossibly tough. I would give Leftwich a B. Take a look at first year coaches offense and w/l record. After 2 weeks, the record is 3-12. Does that tell you anything. BA has one of the wins; the other 2 are the Packers who have a hall of fame quarterback. But the Packers have been winning with defense. Leftwich did what he needed to do, using more than 6 minutes of the 4th quarter to put Carolina in a position where they had limited time to score a touchdown and win. Yes, the offense has underperformed, but the way coaches are using the preseason, most have underperformed. Scoring is down after the first two weeks–unless you’re playing Miami. Our running game is much improved even without any A-grade backs. The Giants game is scary especially with the Buccaneers a huge favorite. Also, look at the Koetter offense in Atlanta. Matty has five interceptions in two weeks and, as usual, Falcons can’t run the ball, which is typical Koetter.

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    • I expect him to continue improving. If not, Jamel Dean is waiting in the wings to take his place.

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  13. No to Minkah. But give me a Stone Cold Steve Austin, “Oh Hell Yeah!” to trading for Jalen Ramsey.

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    • Hell no to any trade involving our secondary. It is fine. We need those picks to improve our trenches. Let our young secondary develop

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    • Second that “Stone Cold Austin” on Jalen Ramsey! But for Fitz, i’m with triple H, “suck it”, and lastly I think Bucs need to hold tight. Need OL, and don’t see any stud OL players becoming available on market/trade, and if Winston plays ball, we could get Oklahoma’s C/OG-Creed Humphrey in 10-15 range in 2020 1st rd, (if dont trade pick?!), or best OT with 2020 1st pick, but think C Hump, would help entire line get better! Maybe with good 2020 draft and a few more ballers, keep healthy, we just might turn corner on winning record and look for playoffs next year. Our OT situation is much much more solid now with three backups BA picked up for team, J Hawkins, J Wells and Brad Seaton. Doesn’t seem to be getting any special acknowledgement?! Wish could have seen play in preseason games on Bucs. Agree still need more help in future pics, but gotta give credit to BA so far. At least still interested in 2019 season, and thats great news. Go Bucs.

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  14. To me it looked like Lefty’s offense finally started clicking in the 2nd half of the Carolina game. Let’s not forget that that game shouldn’t have been as close as it ultimately was, we left TDs on the field (Mike and Perriman dropping dimes) and 1 missed field goal. We didn’t just play well enough to win, we played well enough to get a blow out but missed opportunities bit us. I’m expecting the best offensive showing from us this Sunday against a Giants team with a bad defense and only Saquon Barkley as their only real weapon.

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  15. BA saw something in Leftwich. Being a Backup and starter at time showed him something that made him believe he would be a great coach in the league. Even if BA says he is letting Leftwich make his own calls, As Buc Stops Here said, it is not as if they aren’t going over it all together and BA isn’t teaching him. He is letting him establish himself to be able to thrive on his own after he is gone. He is setting him up to succeed moving forward in his career. He even said they plan out the first 30 plays or so before the game even starts. If the Offense keeps struggling then it is an issue but everybody on that side of the ball is still getting used to the new system. We know the good that the Offense is capable of and once it clicks (as long as it clicks) it will take off. If the Defense keeps playing like they have and even getting better and the Offense can finally turn it on then Sunday’s will be a lot of fun.

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    Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
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  16. Well, not sure if Leftwich is learning on the job or what (last thing we need is to constantly be the proving-grounds for Coordinators)….BUT, I will say that our best drive of the season so far was our last one….it ended with a terrible call to try a touch-pass to Evans (not sure if that was Leftwich or Winston’s call), but up to that point it was a really nice drive!

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  17. If we trade for anyone, it should be for Trent Williams. Our offensive tackles are just that…offensive!
    More penalties and missed in the last two weeks than I have fingers and toes!

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    • Excuse me, I meant to say missed assignments.

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      • Isn’t Trent Williams 31 or 32? Also, I thought Smith and Dot played much better in week 2 than they did week 1. Didn’t you?

        Carolina has one of the 10 best offensive lines going into this season according to PFF. The Bucs O Line played better and they were on the road with noise.

        https://247sports.com/nfl/carolina-panthers/Article/Panthers-offensive-line-ranking-2019-Pro-Football-Focus-Top-10-133536139/

        Bucs had more rushing yards than the Panthers.
        Bucs gave up the same number of sacks as Panthers.
        Carolina D has a front 7 that consists of SIX first round picks: Keuchly, Short, Poe, McCoy, Burns, and Shaq Thompson. Winston sacked 3 times.
        Bucs lost MLB White in the first quarter.
        Cam’s QBR for the game : 70.6
        Winston’s QBR for the game : 103.4

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        • Williams is 31, yet very mobile and athletic. At 320, he has TE speed(4.8). He would be a tremendous upgrade. More so than Logan Mankins, as he is an LT and not a guard.

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  18. I have to disagree with the wins and losses affecting Winston’s extension. You are going to honestly say if we win our division due to our defense and run game but Winston has his worst statistic year he still gets an extension. I think not. I think Winston needs to develop into a game changer to get a new contract not just a game manager. There is a reason why the chiefs drafted mahomes after Alex Smith’s good season. It’s because he is just a game manager. With our offensive talent we need a game changing QB to exploit it. You f Winston doesn’t become a top 10 QB then we shouldn’t resign him period.

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  19. Bucs haven’t used the franchise tag much in their history. Kicker Connor Barth was the last player franchised and that was in 2012. The Bucs can afford both Barrett, Winston and anyone else who performs well. Will those guys earn new deals? I hope so.

    Go Bucs!

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