The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our @PewterReportTwitter 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. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.

Question: Given success and mental toughness of teams such as the Steelers, Patriots and now the Jaguars that espouse lots of conditioning & contact during training camp, I’d be curious to hear Koetter’s updated view on the topic and what reason he has for light camp other than to minimize injury.

Answer: It will be interesting to see exactly how Koetter handles things this camp. Were the Bucs 5-11 last year because they had a softer camp than previous coaches? Obviously the answer is no, at least not entirely. There were plenty of other issues (injuries, lack of running game and pass rush) and having a more physical camp would not have changed any of those problems, in my opinion. However, I do believe that, at the very least, it can instill some mental toughness that down the road, say in a close fourth quarter game, that might be the difference in the outcome. And even if it changes just one game, maybe that one game is the difference between 9-7 and 10-6 and a playoff berth or not.

I’ve mentioned the Jaguars running sprints following the joint practices last year with Tampa Bay, and how quickly the Bucs wanted to get off the field following the sweltering heat last August. Heck, I couldn’t wait to get back in the air conditioning myself. But Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone wanted to make a statement to their players after spending the previous four seasons under “Mr. Nice Guy” Gus Bradley. The organization needed to change the mentality of the Jaguars and it obviously worked.

As far as a tougher camp, I most certainly would like to see more inside tough drills, more goal line and my past camp favorites, the 1-on1’s between the offensive line and defensive line. I don’t think we need to see tackling to the ground, but despite these guys knowing how to tackle, what is wrong with working on the the fundamentals a little more? To perfect your craft you have to practice your craft.

At the end of the day, it is Dirk Koetter’s team and his call. He has weighed out all the different options and worked out the “what-if’s”, and he will design camp around what he thinks is the best way for this team to succeed in 2018. We will see if it was the right approach in a few months.

Question: If Bucs went 0-3 without Winston and finished with a losing record, would it be Winston’s fault Koetter gets fired in your opinion?

Answer: I don’t know if you can pin that squarely on Winston, as not many, myself included, expected them to go 3-0 to open the season even with Winston under center. That is a tough three-game stretch and I am not sure if Tom Brady morphed with Joe Montana with a sprinkle of Johnny Unitas thrown in and quarterbacked this team, they would go 3-0. The NFL did this team no favors with the schedule this year.

And, even if the Bucs do start 0-3, that doesn’t mean that Koetter is on the chopping block. I think the last 13 games will determine his fate as head coach. Now, if they go 3-13, he most likely doesn’t survive, but if they get close to or exceed the .500 mark then he most likely is back again. There is this narrative that Koetter has to make the playoffs to keep his job, but that isn’t a fact. Any improvement over 5-11 will get the conversation started on him staying, and I think an 8-8 record almost guarantees Koetter at least one more year.

Question: With a badly divided fan base due to the actions of a single player who happens to be the face of the franchise, how the hell are we supposed to feel anything but flat in what should be an exciting time of anticipation?

Answer: It is okay to feel flat, uninspired and even apathetic. This team hasn’t done anything to change that view point over the last 10 or so seasons, and now throw in the Winston mess and it is beyond frustrating.

I get it.

But most fans were extremely excited for last season and that didn’t turn out too good. I know you, Garv. I know when this team comes out of the tunnel in the home opener against the Eagles you’ll be on your feet screaming like the crazy fan you are. The “flat” feeling you’ve had all offseason will disappear and you’ll forget all about it. It will be time for football, and the drug called the Buccaneers will get you higher than a Jimi Hendrix show at Curtis Hixon in 1969. “That is what I love about sports, man. The past is the past and hope springs eternal. Let’s play ball men. And I dig me some Purple Haze man!”(in my Jon Gruden voice).

Question: What’s the latest on Kendell Beckwith? Any chance he’s ready for training camp?

Answer: It is still up in the air and even a team source says it is still to soon to know for sure. His recovery is going well and the Bucs expect him to be ready to contribute this year, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him start camp on the PUP list. The good news is the linebacker depth is pretty good on this team and obviously the two main starters, Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander are back and ready to improve on solid seasons last year. Both of those guys should be considerably better with a better group plying in front of them this year.

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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]

21 COMMENTS

  1. Should Winston be the face of the team?? He has NOT shown to be worthy of a #1 pick so far . Winston has not been truthful to the team and the fans and not regarded well nationally. I’m hoping the bucs start looking at other options.

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    • We feel comfortable he was truthful to the team.

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      • how?? bucs head coach said he knew nothing about the last incident . Winston should have told the team he could not use uber and why . Then Winston says he was not alone with her -wrong again.. Winston is NOT a leader and should NOT be the face of the team . It’s ok to like the school but he cost the school big cash paying the female student also

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    • His numbers back up a #1 pick. He has turned it over too many times especially with fumbles but he is clearly a #1 pick the way he flashes dude

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  2. I’m not letting Winston sour the start of the season. I can’t wait. No one is giving us a chance at anything this year, and that is just the way I like it. Let’s see how these players respond to being the dogs, dogs. Curry, and Allen responded last year for Philly when Wentz was lost. These three games Winston will miss can be a blessing. Fire them cannons, a new season is right around the corner, if you’re not excited, you should be.

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    • Agreed , surferdudes- lower expectations from everyone is fine by me- Esp. after last year… Come game day, there won’t be a week when i won’t be watching, and thinking our Bucs can pull out a victory- no matter who B the QB

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  3. Mark, first swell of the tropical season. Just got out, 4ft fun.

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    • Been watching, looked good this morning. Be safe!

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  4. Mark, You said it all as to the way I feel. I’m ready for the season. Go Bucs!

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  5. I think the first two really go hand in hand for me. I honestly can’t see how don’t see the correlation between having a more intense, physical training camp and less wins Mark? This is a physical game and has been for like 100 years now. You gotta be hard on these guy. Let them sweat to earn their paycheck. There are other people who work a helluva lot harder for less than them. I’m a former Sailor and you better believe I want my football team in top physical total preparation ready for freaking war dude. Straight up, last years Bucs team probably would have a game against one of the Marine Corps football teams, but they would have hurt, cause those dudes went hard and they didn’t care about what rank you were then if you know what I’m saying. You better believe I want Dirk Koetter out if he pulls some weak crap in training camp this year. Cause that is a clear indication to me that this whole organization is soft and they’re not in it to win it. And that’s BS dude, nobody should be fans of a team like that. That being said I’m still gonna watch how it plays out.

    Beckwith is a flat out berserker he’ll be fine whenever he comes back and play at a high level.

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  6. If the Bucs finish with a losing record, ultimately it’s the Coach and GMs fault They have known about the looming situation with Jameis Winston, as we have, there were available QB’s in the open market to bring in if they didn’t feel comfortable enough with Fitzpatrick and they have been given enough time to rectify the wrong of this team.

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  7. I like football. I spent three years at MacDill from 1971-73. I chose to be a Bucs fan because of the great people from Tampa and how they treated me during my service time. I don’t see Winston or Koetter becoming better at what they do. Winston makes poor decisions on and off the field. Koetter is too vain to allow another to call the plays and thus you get the same results year after year. I think it will be very interesting to see how the team plays without Winston. Don’t be surprised to see some great football. We have some outstanding players.

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    • I was stationed at MacDill from 1969-1976. Perhaps we knew each other. Sure were a lot more airmen and planes there than now.

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      • Jiggyjoe,Scubog, In October 1970 after returning from Viet Nam I had to be treated at the MacDill Hospital as I was exposed to the Black Plague just before I left Quang Tri; it was cautionary purposes only thank goodness. I then went to the STRIKE COMMAND (what it was called then) to get a teletype copy of my orders promoting me from 1st Lieutenant to Captain. Any of you guys ever been at The Strike Command building. Geez, small world.

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        • The company where I have worked the past 35 years built it.

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  8. As far as the physicality of training camp, I can personally attest to the benefits of the “Train as you Fight” mentality. As an Army Vet and now as an athlete, I feel the risk of injury is trumped by the mental toughness one develops through tough training. In regard to tackling, I think we all were disappointed at the missed tackles last year which I feel are directly related to the lack of contact during training.

    To the other points, with or without Winston I am excited to see what this team can do this year. I am looking forward most to seeing our revamped defense in action. I just hope to see Smitty put the talent on this roster to use properly. If he does, I think we’ll see a nice jump in production. On offense, the improved run game should provide a new dynamic we lacked last year and open things up even more for the passing game as well. Fitz can manage the first 3 games well enough for the defense and improved offense to keep us in the game and possibly win 2-3 of them.

    After last year, I am cautiously optimistic for the future of this franchise. The Jameis situation will blow over as I think it is overblown to begin with. If there was ANY proof of these alleged actions, the NFL would be foolish to suspend him only 3 games. Until proven otherwise, I chalk this suspension up to the league doing what they can to “do something” and avoid criticism. Winston played some of his best ball last year after riding the bench and watching Fitz. I look forward to the same this year.

    Fire the Cannons and everything else will fall into place!

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  9. I can only speak for myself and my own observations regarding the growing apathy for our favorite football team.

    Even after going through the beginning in the late 70’s, the early-mid 90’s and the years of mediocrity sprinkled in; for reasons unknown to me, I am personally far less excited heading into a new season than in years past. Oh, I still plan to go to as many practices as I can, but I wonder if it’s just out of habit.

    I know it’s the time of year when football is in sort of a limbo unless someone gets arrested or is planning a hold out. Of course, our big contribution to football news is the Winston suspension. At lease it’s not about the team moving like it is in Oakland and San Diego.

    The sports networks seem to talk about every other team than the Bucs. The prognosticators reviewing other team’s schedules note the game(s) against the mighty Bucs as a win. For us, maybe the Browns game reluctantly gets a check mark.

    Around town it is virtual silence. In my hometown of Pittsburgh, it’s Steelers 24/7/365. Sure would be nice it that type of fandom was here, but sadly for the past 15 years as the song says, “The thrill is gone.”

    Maybe there will be some positive signs this preseason. Maybe the first three games will turn out better than any could imagine. I’m always hopeful.

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  10. I am not optimistic about the Bucs in 2018. For many reasons.

    As to the 3-game start, the fallacy of having a supposed “strong schedule” is that nobody actually knows how strong the schedule was until after all the games are played. Last year’s performance is never a stong inducator of next year’s performance. We all know that.

    Fitz had a better record last season than Winston did, so if he stays healthy and plays as good as he did last season – two very big ifs – he may do as well or better than Winston will this season.

    But who knows – that is why they play the games.

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    • I agree with you the strength of schedule is always iffy. Sometimes teams the year prior were rated as good and then they fall flat.

      Im tired of hearing the fitz had a better record then winston last year. I guess you cant say its not true fitz won 2 out of 3 and what jameis won 3 out of 10? Either way Fitz in 11 games would have put up 3350 yards 19 tds and 11 ints like Winston did. Its fitz. I love his beard but…its fitz.

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      • would not have**

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  11. Horse and Scubog, I joined the Air Force in 1969, and have been to McDill often. I have to agree it is important to have as tough a camp and Preseason as possible with the contract with the player’s union allows. We have as tough a start as we have ever faced and hopefully Koetter with his neck on the line will end his pansy practices with no contact.

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