The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our Pewter Report 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: If the Bucs win the Super Bowl is it a walk off for Bruce Arians back to retirement? And if so, is it Todd Bowles or Byron Leftwich that replaces him (or someone else)?

Answer: If the Bucs beat the Chiefs and win Super Bowl LV could there ever be a better storybook ending and time for Bruce Arians to to walk away? A coach who comes out of retirement, assembles a staff, spends the first season trying to change the culture of the organization then a world-wide pandemic hits. He signs a new quarterback but can’t have any offseason to get Tom Brady acclimated to his new teammates and the new scheme. There is no preseason. The team faces a mid-season slide, losing three of four games and in doubt of even making the playoffs. They the Bucs go on a late-season surge, winning its last four regular season games. The playoffs begin and the Bucs must go on the road and knock off three division winners and then goes to – and wins – the Super Bowl in the team’s home stadium. Hollywood would reject that movie script 10 out of 10 times. Too unbelievable and impossible to make audiences accept.

Yet, here we are.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: USA Today

While it might seem like the perfect time for Arians to walk away – if the Bucs win on February 7 – why not try and repeat? By all accounts Arians is healthier now than he was when he walked away in 2017, and with him delegating more, that likely has helped his overall health situation.

And don’t forget Arians is a Bear Bryant disciple having coached at Alabama with the legendary coach, and Bryant’s fate is probably in the back of Arians’ mind. Bryant retired from coaching the Crimson Tide following the 1982 season, and four weeks later died. At the same time we know Arians loves spending time with his family and also loves his peaceful days he gets to spend at his lake home in Georgia, so if the Buccaneers do in fact end up with their second Lombardi Trophy in two weeks, that thought might pop up in Arians’ mind, too.

If by chance Arians would step down I think defensive coordinator Todd Bowles would be given the first chance to take over. Bowles, despite a lackluster head coaching record with the Jets, is well respected in the halls of One Buc and we now know Bowles does have an interest in becoming a head coach again, following his interview with the Falcons earlier this month and reports of interest from Detroit and Philadelphia. Leftwich will eventually become a serious head coaching candidate most likely, but I would bet the Glazers would take a chance on Bowles over Leftwich, based on Bowles’ age and experience.

Question: How do the Bucs slow down Chiefs weapons Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce? They had their way early in the first match-up against Tampa Bay.

Answer: Who built the pyramids? Where did Stonehenge come from? How do you slow down the Kansas City Chiefs? Those might be three of the world’s biggest mysteries. None have really been answered completely, and I am not sure the Bucs have any answers at this point – especially for the last question.

Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill and Bucs CB Carlton Davis III

Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill and Bucs CB Carlton Davis III – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

When the two teams met earlier this season, speedy Pro Bowl wideout Tyreek Hill was a one-man wrecking crew, catching 13 passes for 269 yards and scoring three times. Clearly the answer to stopping Hill is not playing man coverage with little-to-no safety help. Hill is too fast and too shifty to try and just put a cornerback on them and think that is enough. Of course even if you manage to slow Hill down, as the Bucs did after a monster first quarter, the Chiefs have other play-makers that can hurt a defense as well, including Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce as you mentioned.

The best way to slow Hill, Kelce and others down starts with slowing down quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He is the straw that stirs the drink in Kansas City, and is a challenge by himself with his ability to run, escape pressure and improvise on the fly. Getting pressure on Mahomes – and not just pressure – but getting him on the turf with sacks is about he only way you can expect to slow the Chiefs offense down. Having second-year cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting come up with yet another postseason interception – he has three in the last three playoff games – would also help. Over the next two weeks we will dig much deeper into the match-ups and schemes we feel will give the Buccaneers the best chance for success.

Question: Is Vita Vea that vital for Shaq Barrett to be dominant again?

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: USA Today

Answer: Apparently he is a good luck charm for Shaquil Barrett, who had three sacks at Green Bay, at the very least. On Sunday Barrett looked like the 2019 version of himself where multi-sack games were fairly common. Vea’s presence in the middle can’t be understated after watching the Bucs beat the Packers on Sunday. His ability to get pressure up the middle caused Aaron Rodgers to flush to his left and right on a number of drop backs and there was Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul waiting for the sack.

Not all of the sacks came because of Vea however, as Barrett feasted on Green Bay’s backup right tackle and probably had his best game of the season in timing the snap and using his excellent get-off to create trouble for Rick Wagner. Barrett’s best game of the year came at the perfect time as the Buccaneers needed every one of those pressures and sacks to do just enough to slow down the Packers offense and limit them to just 26 points.

Question: Has Donovan Smith earned his $14 million for next year?

Answer: It is kind of funny to think back to around mid-season and remember how many in the media – myself included – had already run Donovan Smith out of town for 2021. And there were some games where the criticism was warranted and certainly some games over the previous last few years that led us to believe Smith could be released this offseason and replaced with possibly Tristan Wirfs or by a free agent or a draft pick. But since the Saints crushed the Bucs, 38-3, on Sunday Night Football, Smith has played his best stretch of football of his career and barring anything crazy happening, is locked into the starter’s role for next season.

And it isn’t even out of the questions that the Buccaneers could look to extend Smith’s deal, which will be in it’s final year in 2021. Smith has proven to be a key piece to the success of the offense over the last seven games, all of which have been wins. I wrote about Smith being the most important player for Tampa Bay’s success not named Brady last spring, writing the team will go as far as Smith’s play dictates. And in the last seven games – all of them wins – Smith has played outstanding.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

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 mark@pewterreport.com
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BigSombrero
6 months ago

Great article. I’m glad Smith has looked good. I’m in the minority of fans who like him at LT. This line has never been better than this year. Wirfs and Cappa have been great, but so too have Smith and Marpet. Jensen has been worth his pay as well.

bucballer
Reply to  BigSombrero
6 months ago

Don’t forget Stinnie! He came in for Cappa against Saints and Packers and u did not hear his name called. For an OLINEMAN that is a good thing. As for Smith, I too, rode him hard and questioned his work ethic. He has manned up and balled out. Great job Mr. Smith!

RW
RW
Reply to  BigSombrero
6 months ago

Smith is overpaid for what he brings. if he was making $6-$7 million he is fine but not at $14.5 million.

liquidmuse3
Reply to  RW
6 months ago

No, LT is pretty damn important, and 14 million is reasonable for that.

Spitfire
6 months ago

First off, if we win it would be the perfect walk off but I honestly think that no matter what, everyone comes back next year and they go for one more because with another solid Draft, off-season pick ups and a pre season, we will 100% be even better next year and finally get to see that 2nd year in Arians system benefits. No matter what happens Feb 7th, we have every chance to get back there and possibly even dominate next year. So I think everyone comes back for another run. Second, we held the Chiefs to 10 points… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  Spitfire
6 months ago

Not only will we be good again next season, I think there might be a player or two, who r veterans, that just might like to come to Tampa for one year to play with Brady!

Naplesfan
Reply to  Spitfire
6 months ago

Way too many people are assuming Tom Brady hangs it up after next year – he’s already stated repeated that he wants to play until he is AT LEAST 45 years old, as long as his athleticism and health holds up. That’s a minimum of two more years. He’s also apparently talked unofficially of trying to get to 50!
Our defense is quite young. This could go on for quite a few more years.

Spitfire
Reply to  Naplesfan
6 months ago

Damn straight. Brady or not, we’ve got the foundation to continue forward in a meaningful way as long as the Drafts stay solid. Look how many guys we have here that we have Drafted or signed Undrafted and how few have actually just been brought in. It’s insane! That being said, I want Brady to stay as long as he feels he can go and keep this positivity train rollin!

Eddie
Reply to  Naplesfan
6 months ago

If McDaniel join the Buc in some capacity, ( Edelman too) I am guessing Brady will extend beyond next year.

drdneast
6 months ago

The best way to contain the Chiefs offense it to run a Cover 2 and keep Mahomes bottled up in the pocket. When he escapes, coverages break down and both the WR’s and Mahomes start free lancing with both using their speed to their advantage.

bucballer
Reply to  drdneast
6 months ago

Shaq and JPP will need to maintain their edges to stop Mahomes from getting outside. Funnel him to the inside so that ur playmakers, David and White can make the tackles. Oh yea… and please don’t put DB Davis on Hill! It did not work out well last time. Over 200 yards… in the first half!

Eddie
Reply to  bucballer
6 months ago

Yes, David, a 4.53 guy tried to chase/cover Hill, a 4.29 guy.

Eddie
Reply to  Eddie
6 months ago

Sorry, a 4.65 guy chasing a 4.29 guy…

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  drdneast
6 months ago

Turf toe can take a really long time to heal depending on its severity. Remember Justin Evans? Mahomes didn’t look incredibly mobile in the Bills game and I think that plays to our advantage. Also bucballer, that 200 was in the first quarter! It would have been a game if Bowles changed the coverage sooner.

Buc on the Move
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
6 months ago

Did you really just compare Mahomes to Justin Evans???

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  Buc on the Move
6 months ago

They’re the same player aren’t they??? Stupid questions get stupid answers lol

Buc76
6 months ago

Arians will stay as long as Brady stays. If they win, they will try to repeat in LA next year. If they win that they will try to 3 peat. Also remember Brady has won 2 Superbowls beating a defending champ. Rams 2001 and Seahawks 2014. This game is winnable but we have to play lights out. Also how bad is the Jordan Whitehead shoulder injury?

MIArmysoldier
Reply to  Buc76
6 months ago

Totally agree. Arians goes when Brady goes- even if it’s not the storybook ending.

bucballer
6 months ago

What has happened to the play of DB Carlton Davis? At one time he was our shut down corner. As other other players have stepped up their game as the season has progressed, his play seems to have suffered a bit?

Theydidwhat
Reply to  bucballer
6 months ago

His technique is off sometimes, he gets turned around because he isn’t fluid in the route changes of direction. He was in good position on the first touchdown, he just didn’t get his head around to see where the ball was. SMB does this also sometimes, great position for another play/interception but they don’t see the ball coming. They need to be coached up some more.

Naplesfan
6 months ago

Bear Bryant died of a massive heart attack after suffering heart disease the last five years of his life. He died of a busted heart, not a “broken heart”. That’s not the situation that Bruce Arians is in as a cancer survivor who has beat it so far. But nevertheless, NFL coaching is an extremely stressful lifestyle, especially as a head coach where you’re only as good as your last win. It would be extremely understandable if he decided to hang it up after the last whistle on Super Bowl Sunday, no matter the outcome. Besides, he would instantly have… Read more »

surferdudes
6 months ago

The fact Byron didn’t get one interview, and Bowles did is a bit curious. Maybe Byron didn’t interview, because it’s already been determined he’s the next up for the job.

warren
Reply to  surferdudes
6 months ago

I doubt that surferdudes. Earlier in the season, many pundits (ESPN, NFL Network) were saying they thought Leftwich was over his skis in trying to meld Arians’ offense with Brady’s offense; but after the bye week, Brady made it his own.

So, it’s hard to argue that the current offense is solely a Leftwich offense. There’s no question this defense is clearly Bowles’ defense. So, it would seem, imo, that Bowles would have the edge over Leftwich if Arians leaves.

JJ
JJ
6 months ago

The key to a Bics victory imo, is VV(KC never faced him), JPP and Shaq. Mahomes hasn’t experienced the push he’s about to receive from VV. And because of that, I expect our defense to feast.

Last edited 6 months ago by JJ
Theydidwhat
6 months ago

Limiting the Chiefs will be important, as well as taking advantage of every opportunity and no turnovers.We all saw how little pressure had been coming from the middle without blitzing over many games. Great to get Vea back and energize the d line. They need to be a wrecking force in the SB. They are all here for another year either way, they’re having too much fun. Licht needs to continue to sign and draft good players to have continued long term success. The o line has been great, need one more big performance. Smith has grown as a man… Read more »

danielob
6 months ago

I can see james White coming over in free agency so that Brady will have a reliable RB who can catch, also Julian Eldermann is going to have his contract come up, even tho he is banged up he might be a bargain. Win or lose, BA will come back. I hope.

Freeman Strickland
6 months ago

Whenever Kelce is on the field, have Dean and the outside linebacker on that side lineup on him and double slap him on the snap with Dean usually running three yards deeper than Kelce in loose deep man coverage, and the linebacker going on to rush or drop into zone or even follow under Kelce.
For Hill, have a corner or inside linebacker jam him at the line and keep the free safety over the top wherever he goes.

BucHarbour
6 months ago

Well, we kept hearing about the Packers and how difficult it would be to stop them. Yet we did. Stopping Hill is a matter of simply mauling him at the line, while making sure you always have a safety behind the DB. You only need to delay him for a second to screw up their timing and give our guys an extra second to get Mahomes and for the safety to get a good angle on where Hill is going. If you let him get off the line uncontested, he’ll just get that speed to max and run by you… Read more »

RW
RW
6 months ago

Marpet and Wirfs are the studs of the Oline. Smith has been good but he is paid to be great. Jensen is good but is the highest paid center in the NFL. You might have to move on from 1 of those 2 guys due to salary cap challenges.

spartan
6 months ago

I agree the key to this is stopping Tyreek Hill, and I have noticed he doesn’t seem to like physical contact much and would rather go down than face a solid challenge. I think therefore we should let him catch a few balls at the start and give him a good clobber to make him a bit gunshy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating deliberately attempting to injure him or any dirty play, just a few good old fashioned legal tough tackles to make him think twice about going for that ball when there is a defender in… Read more »

Eddie
6 months ago

I am still not convinced Donovan Smith is the answer. He played better the last few games because he got extra helping blocking. So how much should you pay a left tackle that need help blocking majority of the time?