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.
However, with Mark Cook enjoying some well-deserved vacation time, this week’s mailbag questions have been answered by our Bucs Beat Reporter Trevor Sikkema.
Question: Safe to say that the franchise is at a tipping point that can have ramifications for many years?
Answer: I think this was somewhat true before Winston’s suspension was reported, but now even more so.
Anytime you select a quarterback No. 1 overall, you’re truly about to change your franchise. The identity, the leadership and the overall outlook will go as the new quarterback will go. That was the case when Winston was drafted in 2015. The Buccaneers were hoping they were drafting what would be the most successful and most tenured quarterback in the franchise’s history — which isn’t saying too much, but was still needed.
Since that moment, the Buccaneers have stood by their No. 1 overall selection as if he were, in fact, that — the face of the franchise. The Bucs have built their identity as a team with coaches and schemes around Winston as their guy, and such has their wins and losses come.
With that said, as the question referenced, the Bucs are (unfortunately) at a tipping point that is weighing heavier than they would have hoped going into year four of their No. 1 overall pick. Instead of just debating how much money you’re going to pay Winston in his second contract, depending on the facts that come out surrounding his recent suspension report, now you have to wonder if he’s worth the money at all. On the field I think they wouldn’t hesitate to make him what would likely be the highest paid player in the NFL, but off the field we have unknowns. With that uncertainty then comes whether or not this coaching staff is the right fit at all both with and without Winston, too.
There is a lot that is now in the equation, and with uncertainty looming, this franchise is without a doubt at a point that could drastically change their direction for years to come depending on the news we might learn in the coming days/weeks.
Question: What are your expectations for the season after the 3 games and do you think the Glazers will make changes in the offseason?
Answer: To answer the second part of the question first, I think there was a chance that the Glazers were going to make a change even before this Winston suspension news came down. Head coach Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith cannot have another year like they did in 2017. The players played hard for them down the stretch, and that is a good thing, but hard play has to turn into results (wins) or it simply won’t matter. Koetter was recently tagged by one betting outlet as the coach with the fifth-highest odds to be fired first in 2018, and though I wouldn’t bet on that since the Glazers don’t fire coaches mid-season, the note of his seat being hot is real. This team has put too much money and talent into the roster to not compete for a playoff spot — and even earn one. Does Winston’s potential suspension give Koetter a free pass this season? I say no. There still has to be plenty of progress elsewhere for him to keep his job.
And, to the first part of the question, those first three games were going to be rough even with Winston, but beyond that the schedule gets OK. Yes, you have a rising Chicago team and have to go to Atlanta, but the Bucs had Chicago’s number last year and the Falcons game is right after the Week 5 Bye Week, so that helps. After that they face the Browns, Bengals, Redskins and Giants within a five-week span, and though they’ll be played tough, all of those games are winnable. In a league where many games are coin flips each week, get lucky and string a couple together and your season could be salvaged.
I ultimately think how the Bucs end up — and maybe Koetter’s fate — has to do with those stretch of games more than the first three Winston may miss.
Question: Why do I do this to myself?
Answer: A question as old as time that I cannot answer but constantly ask myself, too, my friend.
Question: To your knowledge, was Jamies honest with the Bucs about who was in the car and if he was ever in the car alone? What is the organization feeling towards Jamies?
Answer: Truth be told, I have no idea. That was the motive for a series of tweets I had the night it was revealed that Banks was the third passenger in the car on the night of the incident. If Winston lied to the Buccaneers, either straight up or by omitting the details, the trust is broken, and for a man that you overlooked so much to draft, that might be really hard to swallow. But, I do not know if he was truthful to them behind the scenes and beyond the statement he issued initially when the news broke that he was being investigated last November. Perhaps he has braced the Buccaneers for all of this to come out — you hope he has, if it’s all true, which has yet to be confirmed.
As far as I know Jameis Winston is still their guy. Though the Buccaneers could very well have a case to no longer want to be associated with him, if certain details like him being guilty in the case or him lying about it turn out to be true, until an official statement from the league or revelations of more details of the investigation come out I do not think that is what the franchise believes, at this point.
If what we know now is all that leaks from the investigation, then it could still be a back-and-forth of what may have actually happened, and if that’s the case I don’t expect Winston to go anywhere. If more comes out and any of what the Bucs fear looks more and more true, who knows.
Question: Do you think the Buccaneers will be interested in any of the players in the supplemental draft?
Answer: I actually don’t, and not just because of the Winston stuff the team is already dealing with, but because we know general manager Jason Licht loves his draft picks, and bidding on a player means one less pick in next year’s draft.
However, it is a defensive back-based supplemental draft, so if there were any position he’d bite on, it might be this one.
Sam Beal, CB, Western Michigan
Beal committed to Western Michigan in 2014 as a two-star prospects. He didn’t play much as a freshman in 2015 with just 15 tackles with one pass breakup . However, the following year he appeared in all 14 games and recorded 55 tackles and eight pass breakups. In his final year he had two interceptions, 10 pass breakups and 22 tackles in 10 games.
Brandon Bryant, S, Mississippi State
Bryant was a three-star recruit who committed to MSU in 2013. After redshirting his first year in 2014, his redshirt freshman season was his best as he recorded 63 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three picks, one touchdown and three pass breakups. But, in his final season, Bryant struggled to make the same impact with just 32 tackles, and a single interception in 11 games. He plays physical and fast with good size at 6-foot, 215 pounds, but discipline and awareness need coaching.
Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech
Alexander’s Virginia Tech career started off fast and strong as he recorded 55 tackles, four interceptions and broke up six passes as a true freshman. He followed that up with a 43-tackle, two-interception, seven-pass break up campaign in 2016 as a sophomore. After a down junior year where he had only 27 tackles, one pick and one forced fumble, Alexander decided not to declare for the 2017 NFL draft, but changed his mind a month ago, and that’s why he’s on this list. At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Alexander is a long style corner the Bucs don’t have many of outside of rookie Carlton Davis.