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The Pewter Report Bucs Monday Mailbag is where Mark Cook answers your questions from our Pewter Report Twitter account. You can submit your question to the Mailbag each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Here are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the Pewter Report’s Bucs Monday Mailbag.
This Week’s Questions
Question: I know the preferred option is to sit Kyle Trask for at least a year under Tom Brady’s tutelage but might he be able to grasp the offense and really compete for a chance to be the No. 2 this year and we get some trade bait with Ryan Griffin?
Answer: It is possible that Bucs’ rookie Kyle Trask does end up grasping the offense fairly early, as by all accounts he is very intelligent. But I don’t think there is any way Bruce Arians and his staff want to go into the season with a rookie as the No. 2. Arians saw playoff seasons come unraveled with quarterback injuries late in the year while in Arizona. And even though the Bucs aren’t likely to win a Super Bowl if Brady were to be injured, they do feel like they can still be a playoff team with Blaine Gabbert.
The Bucs coaching staff sees something in Gabbert that maybe fans or those in the media don’t. And even the other 31 NFL teams weren’t crazy about adding Gabbert to their team. That was pretty obvious with the fact Gabbert was available in free agency as long as he was before re-signing with Tampa Bay. Did the Bears, who signed Andy Dalton, even show any interest in Gabbert? There was other backup quarterback movement as well before Gabbert ended up signing back in Tampa Bay.
And as far as Ryan Griffin, there would likely not be any trade value there. While Griffin has survived in the NFL for several seasons, he has been a free agent a few times, including this season and as far as we know, has never garnered any interest other that by the Buccaneers. Teams aren’t likely to give up a player or draft capital when they could have signed him for the league minimum without having to give up anything in return.
Question: Why is everyone panicking about us not selecting a RB in the draft? We’re good at that position. Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard. Looks like a decent stable of RBs to me. Am I missing something here?
Answer: I agree there is no reason to panic in 2021. We saw Leonard Fournette come up big in the playoffs and he looked like a completely different back once he took over the starting role following Ronald Jones’ injury and COVID issues late in the season. And Jones himself, looked really good in the Super Bowl. While Fournette led all rushers with 89 yards averaging 5.6 yards per carry, Jones was also effective adding 61 yards on 12 carries (5.1 avg.) against the Chiefs. That 5.1 average in the Super Bowl equaled his season average as well where he put up 978 yards on 192 carries.
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: USA Today
The Buccaneers aren’t hurting for running back talent at all and the addition of Giovani Bernard gives the team – and Tom Brady – that reliable threat as a receiver out of the backfield that the team hoped LeSean McCoy was going to provide in 2020.
If there is any concern, it is about 2022, as all three of the Bucs’ main backs are slated to become free agents after this season. That would leave Ke’Shawn Vaughn as the only back under contract next year. With that said, the Bucs have a year to decide if they pay either Jones or Fournette, draft another back or find one in free agency after this season. There is no reason to panic in my mind. And if the Bucs win the Super Bowl again in 2021 there will be no shortage of backs who would want come play for the Buccaneers in hopes of a Super Bowl ring of their own.
Question: Who could be someone to watch coming out of rookie mini-camp that was not a draft pick? Either UDFA or tryout player who was signed.
Answer: Bruce Arians mentioned three in particular on Saturday when he spoke to the media following the two-day mini-camp.
“Yeah, a couple of the guys. [Amara] Darboh was here before, but he’s leaner,” Arians said. “[Antonio] Hamilton looks [like] he’s obviously been in the league. [Curtis] Riley has been in the league. [Javon] Hagan looks really good. He’s lost about 10 or 12 pounds and looks really, really good.”
Head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
When the head coach singles you out after two days, it is a safe bet they made a solid impression and have a leg up at this point on potentially making the roster. But the Bucs brought back all 22 starters from 2020. While a couple of these players might make the roster, the odds of them contributing significantly in 2021 is relatively small.
Standing out in a rookie mini-camp comprised of just 26 players is nice for now, but let’s watch these guys as the rest of the roster joins them for OTAs and mini-camp and then training camp and the regular season.
Question: If you had to give the odds, what are the Bucs’ chances of repeating as Super Bowl champs?
Answer: Repeating isn’t easy. As I have written and mentioned on the Pewter Report podcast, while no QB was more dominant over a 20-year stretch, Brady managed to win back-to-back Super Bowls just once. And prior to that you have to go back to the late 1990s when Denver won two in a row. The league isn’t set up for dynasties any longer with free agency, the salary cap and other thing that they do to promote parity. That is what made New England’s run of dominance so impressive.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: USA Today
While I would pick Tampa Bay right now to repeat, I am certainly not taking out a second mortgage on my house and withdrawing my savings and heading to Las Vegas to put it all on Tampa Bay. One or two injuries at crucial positions will absolutely derail the Bucs chances on repeating. Then you add in a possible bad bounce, a terrible call from a referee (see Saints and Rams in 2018) or even a “we’ve got this” attitude with the players, and there goes your repeat championship.
I think a fair number to put on repeating would be around 25 percent. That isn’t to say they can’t, or won’t, but a lot of things have to go right over the course of a now 17-game regular season schedule for that to happen.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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