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.
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.
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.
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.