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: What are the positions the Bucs are the deepest at and weakest at? Do you see any trades to address any position issues on the roster?

Answer: I think the deepest position on the team is at wide receiver, with tight end coming in a close second. There will be some talented football players cut after the last preseason game – some that would have made this team in previous years. I would put the Bucs top three receivers – with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Breshad Perriman – up there with about any other unit in the NFL. After that the questions begin, but through the first part of camp Justin Watson and Scotty Miller have emerged as candidates to not only make the team but also contribute some.

Bucs WR Mike Evans
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Bobo Wilson, DeMarkus Lodge, Anthony Johnson, Bryant Mitchell, Spencer Schnell, Coretrelle Simpson and a handful of other receivers will battle it out for a finals roster spot, and of course most are practice squad eligible. These preseason games are huge for that list. And while we all yawn at the fourth preseason game, it is huge for guys fighting for a roster spot.

What if Adam Humphries didn’t have the night he had in the final preseason game of the 2015 season at Miami, catching a critical touchdown? He might be an instructor at the local golf course in South Carolina rather than playing in Tennessee after a four-year career in Tampa Bay.

The least deep position is offensive tackle. Many are wondering why I didn’t say right guard, but it is a little easier to hide guard play than it is at tackle because they play between the center and the tackle. Often tackles are on an island and exposed for the world to see. Plus, they are going up against the best pass rushers in the NFL for the most part. While watching the practices so far this year, the biggest drop off on the offensive line has been when Demar Dotson and Donovan Smith haven’t practiced or are taking a break. The drop off is huge.

Question: Most the videos I have seen have been highlights of Ronald Jones and not many of Peyton Barber. Has Jones been outplaying Barber?

Answer: I wouldn’t say Ronald Jones has been outplaying Peyton Barber, but he has had the most highlight-worthy runs of the backs in camp. And factor in the disappointing season Jones had as a rookie in 2018, any type of good play tends to get more attention than maybe it would normally. If Jones can translate his practice play to actual games he could eat into some of Barber’s playing time, but there is a trust factor coaches require with their players, and Jones still has some ground to make up after this staff watched his tape from 2018.

Bucs RB Ronald Jones II
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Arians loves Barber’s bruising style, and while no one is expecting him to rip off 75-yard touchdown runs, he appears to be a good fit for what offensive coordinator Bryon Leftwich wants to do. Dare Ogunbowale is also having a great camp and is challenging Andre Ellington for the third-down back role. Once thought to be a weak link on this team, the running back position is looking like it could be more of a strength. nothing will help Jameis Winston more than having a legitimate running game.

Question: How does Devin White look compared to Kwon Alexander back in his first camp? You’ve said on the Pewter Nation Podcast that White is more talented. Alexander was a beast early in camp and became a surprise starter. Now, the camp reports about White don’t sound like he’s that dominant.

Answer: I would say Devin White’s rookie camp is pretty close to what we saw from Alexander’s. Both are high-motor, energetic guys who play fast. Alexander sometimes played too fast and left his gap and teammates exposed him at times. White seems to be more of a “diagnoser” of plays, but still plays with a lot of natural instinct and confidence. And if you get the vibe that White hasn’t been as dominant as you would like, that can be explained by the overall domination of the defense in general.

White really came on and showed some dominance during Saturday night’s practice where he made several tackles in a row and took over a few series. He also had a great Monday morning practice, especially in coverage.

Bucs LB Devin White
Bucs LB Devin White – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

I think if this defense was behind the offense and playing tentative, White would stick out more than maybe he has. But every play it is another different defender making a play. I think fans that haven’t been able to make it out to a practice will be very surprised at the differences in this year’s defense compared to what we saw under Mike Smith. It really is night and day.

Question: Will we ever have a consistent kicker?

Answer: Well, yes. Hopefully. Eventually. Maybe.

Up until the last couple of practices I would say the team struck gold with Matt Gay. But we have seen some extra point inconsistency recently. No question Gay is the front-runner, as he has a fifth-round draft pick invested in him and has a stronger leg than Cairo Santos. Gay has drilled multiple long field goals this camp and has the strongest leg than perhaps any recent kicker in Tampa Bay.

Gay nailed a 62-yarder on Saturday night that would have been good from 70, and hit a 60-yarder during Monday morning’s practice. But he also missed a gimme from extra point range to start the evening on Saturday night and that had to make the coaches shake their heads, and had two misses from beyond 45 yards on Monday before connecting on his 60-yarder.

Hitting kicks in perfect conditions on artificial turf in the indoor facility will be different that Heinz Field, Raymond James Stadium and other natural grass fields that combine the weather elements to make things more difficult. But so far, it appears as if it’s Gay’s job to lose.

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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]

18 COMMENTS

  1. This Kicker competition is interesting and I don’t know how to call it. The problem with Santos is that you have to get the ball down near the 30yd line in order to make an attempt. I believe with Gay and that Leg he’s got you the ball down to the 40yd line it might be 3 points instead of a “Punt”. Tough Call!!

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  2. They have got to help Gay adjusted to the straighter kick because if it is at all a close call between him and Santos I’d rather have the guy that can make it from 65. He’s just gotta straighten his kick out to make the 40s as well.

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    • @spitfire: Are you saying you’d rather have the straight kick than the gay kick? LOL!

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  3. Here we go again with kickers. If I see either miss extra points in pre season games…let’s just say we have already seen that movie and it sucked!

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  4. I tend to agree with you Spitfire, But here is where its tough Santos is almost Automatic from the 30 yd line and What we don’t know is what Gays’ Sweet Spot will be at NFL level. Is it the 35 yd line,40, or 45 yard line? If Gay shows us that he can consistently from the 40 yd line, then hands down he Wins the Job, But like with any rookie can he handle the Pressure at the next level. Remember Kyle Brindza? Rocket for a leg and looked good in practice, But when the Bright Lights came On. This very well could determine Jason Lichts Fate! Tough Call

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  5. I never seen more futility in a kicking game than what we’ve seen here in the last few years, This rookie is going to melt down just the like the rest of them have. College kickers do not face the pressure of 33 yard extra points and going straight to the pros being drafted high which a 5th rounder is, will ruin this guy just like it did Aguyao and Brindza. This organization does not learn from its mistakes.

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  6. With our top 3-5 offense we don’t need a 60 yd field goal kicker. We need a guy that makes 99.5% of his extra points and 85%-90% of his 40 yd kicks.

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  7. 100%. Is much rather have the guy more guaranteed to hit the 40-45 yarder. I’m just hoping Gay will straighten his kick out like College kickers have to learn to do and make those kicks because if he can we could have the best kicker in the league. If he can’t then at least Santos is above average. If Gay needs more time it would be cool to see them sign if to the practice squad and let him get used to the Pro Hash Marks and give him more time. But hopefully he does it in Camp and we’ll be good to go.

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  8. does anyone have Martin “Automatica” Gramatica’s number? And a time machine.

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    • I think Gramatica’s number was 7.

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  9. Santos has the edge because he is showing he can hit the low 50 yarders with some rest. Gay still has a shot if he is more consistent 40 yards and below.

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  10. If the defense is greatly improved…and so far that is the impression…long field goals are not as important as in previous years, and punting to the “coffin corner” is.

    But a monster leg is helpful on close games when time is expiring. There is a big time difference in getting to the 30 instead of the 40, and still have time for a FG.

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  11. I am going to say it right now. Matt Gay is going to be the best player drafted on the Bucs squad. I will probably faint, but he looks good. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? With all the bad luck with kickers of late that we actually find a stud and he outshines all the other rookies?

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  12. Fortunately we have a place kicker coach who needs to be working with Gay to be perfect under 40 and how to adapt to stadium kicks in adverse weather, or just keep two QBs and both placekickers.

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  13. At least there are two kickers on the roster who look promising. Here in Bucville we fret over the rookie surprisingly missing one when in the past we might have been shocked if one actually went through the uprights.

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  14. 😂😂!! Dude you are on this morning!!😂… I think he wants Gay to go Straight! 😅😂Too Funny!

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  15. @scubog Oh man, you’re gonna get us marched on Haha. I would rather Gay have a non curved kick, no Guy or girl wants a curved kick Haha

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  16. Hoping to see an improved running game Friday. Nobody gives Barber any respect, but with even the slightest bit of O line help he’s easily a 1,000 yard runner. If RoJo can prove out the reports we’ve been reading and adding a better showing from the O line, this could be a really solid backfield.

    I know, trying not to drink the Cool Aide, but the first game is Friday, gettin’ pumped!

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