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. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.

Question:I thought it was brilliant move that we went no-huddle most of game. We have many weapons on offense and they each need and deserve touches. My question is, do you think Bucs will continue to go huddle most of time?

Answer: I also liked the uptempo offense and it worked well when the Bucs used it. I think it is more conducive to use it in a dome than say at Raymond James in a September 1 p.m. game. It is a double-edged sword, obviously. On one hand it doesn’t allow the defense to substitute and also keeps them on their heels. The problem is, if you aren’t moving the football, and you are going three-and-out, then you are putting your defense in a really bad position.

I like how Monken used it on Sunday. Not every series, but when he felt he had a matchup advantage on the field or saw the Saints were a little gassed, he pushed the gas pedal. I do expect to see Monken continue to use it from time to time, but in a smart way.

Question: Does Fitz have a legitimate opportunity to taking Winston’s job? And if he does do you think the Bucs will move on next year from Winston?

Answer: If you would have asked me this question prior to Sunday I would have said, most likely not. But after seeing the offense hum in a way I have rarely seen in my over 40 years of watching Bucs football, it completely changes my thoughts moving forward.

Can Fitzpatrick keep up this pace and account for five touchdowns nd throw for over 400 yards week in and week out? That is highly unlikely. But if this team is 3-0 when Winston’s suspension ends, and Fitzpatrick continues this pace, how can you make a change? I think you would see a revolt in the locker room. And this team loves Winston, but this team wants to win and reach the postseason. You would like to think Winston would have put up similar numbers had he played on Sunday, however it would just be speculation at this point that it would have happened, but we know it did occur with Fitzpatrick under center.

I am not trying to put a damper on things, but I would like to see it happen again before I go all crazy that Fitzpatrick is the second coming of Dan Marino.

Question:Whats the chance RoJo gets a chance to play next week?

Answer: Unless someone gets hurt in practice this week, I would say there is little chance he plays. He isn’t going to get better in just three days of on the field work between now and Sunday. Shaun Wilson plays special teams and that is a valuable part of his game and why he is on this football team. And also why he was dressed on Sunday and Jones wasn’t. Scott Reynolds wrote on Sunday that if Jones has been a lower round pick he most likely doesn’t even make the team based on his preseason, and I agree with him.

Hopefully Jones will figure it out, and at some point this season one of the backs will most likely get banged up, opening the door for Jones to dress and get some touches. I mean it isn’t liked the Bucs reached for Jones. Many teams had a second round grade on him, and he wouldn’t have lasted a lot longer. But for whatever reason his development is taking longer than expected or hoped.

Question: Do you guys think Mike Smith’s scheme will be a problem against an Eagles team that excels in short to intermediate play calls (at least without Wentz)? Our problems defensively with the Saints stemmed from allowing the easy catch and throws and then missing tackles.

Answer: I have no idea really what the issues were on Sunday, but there were free receivers running all over the field. Yes, I know Drew Brees is one of the best, but it wasn’t like he even had to make that many difficult of throws. Injuries in the secondary played a part in the confusion, I hope that was part of the reason, but Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara caught a number of balls without a Bucs defender in sight. And had the Bucs had to give the ball back to the Saints at the end, I am not very confident that the defense would have been able to come up with a stop.

But Sunday is over, and now it is time for Mike Smith and his coaches to get the issues fixed, and fixed quickly. For all the good the area is feeling on Monday after the big win, it probably will all disappear next Sunday at 4 p.m. when the final whistle sounds if the Bucs have given up another 500 yards off offense.

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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]

31 COMMENTS

  1. Do the Bucs contact the league to get a clarification on penalties called during the game?

    There were 3 questionable calls that didn’t appear to be penalties that could have had a major impact on the outcome. I’m thinking the Donovan Smith illegal block before halftime, the offensive pass interference from Brate at the goal line, and the offensive pass interference on Hump the play before that? Thanks!

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    • I get what you are asking and understand it. But let us not act like these “bad calls” were only against us. We were also gifted some questionable calls. One in particular was the “player gave himself up”. Our players need to always put a hand on a downed player. No matter if they heard a whistle or not. Because that easily could have been a TD (and should have been) an there were two players with in two feet and probably four within six feet. UNEXCEPTABLE

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      • I didn’t say they were bad, just questionable. I’m not squabbling. I just hated watching Hump walk all the way back to the huddle after that 65 yard romp and upon replay I didn’t know what Donovan did wrong. I just wondered if the Bucs get clarifications to teaching.

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        • The Cam Brate play had two mistakes by the refs that probably ended up costing the Bucs 4 points.
          Cam caught the ball in bounds with two feet down. Also, the Saints defender was holding Cam for most of the route.

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    • There was also that uncalled off-sides on Dotson (and I think the clock was at zero too) on the 2nd or 3rd touchdown that wasn’t called. The Saint’s had a legit complaint on that one too.

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  2. From what you say, it appears Rojo isn’t picking things up to well in practice? I was hoping that the Bucs might of held him out so the Eagles couldn’t get tape on him and that we might see a few key plays set up for him against the Eagles. I’m not too worried since Peyton seems to be doing a pretty good job with the chances he got. I’m sure he will get better with more carries as the season progresses. Great game, but next week will let us know where we stand. I wasn’t too impressed with the Eagles last Thursday against Atlanta and feel we can get this win. Go Bucs!

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  3. I mean I understand if RoJo is not picking things up. But he is not going to learn anything or get any better if he is not getting in game reps. Plus keeping him as a healthy scratch will probably just diminish his confidence.

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    • Agreed. I think part of the reason for holding him out is the special teams aspect though…he doesn’t really play special teams like Quizz or Wilson, so it made sense to carry more CB’s with the injuries we have there than a 4th RB. But I would like to see us give him more reps as the season progresses or else I wouldn’t expect him to develop.

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    • Rojo’s skillset didn’t mesh with the gameplan either. Koetter and Monken looked like they prepped for a shootout. A HB that can’t catch consistently or pass block on 3rd down doesn’t fit the bill.

      Bet you he’s active next week.

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  4. I would share the optimism for Smitty if I hadn’t seen the same scheme and results for years now. We play soft coverage – it’s what we do. Who knows why?????

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  5. If Fitz played like that all the time he wouldn’t be on his 100th team. Even he said I’ve had games where I’ve thrown for many T.D.’s, then followed that up where I’ve thrown many picks, so let’s hold off making him the second coming. Question for you Mark, why didn’t the Bucs try using Rojo as a kick returner in the preseason? He’s good in the open field, and has track star speed. The Bucs made a great move hiring Buckner to help turn the D line around. Maybe Hoke should’ve been replaced as secondary coach as well. Since he’s been here I’ve never seen our secondary look so lost, and confused no matter who’s playing back there. Look at the Pats. Doesn’t matter who comes, or goes in the back end, they keep keeping on. Smith should take a lot of the blame, but Hoke isn’t coaching those boys up back there.

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    • RoJo can’t catch very well.

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  6. I don’t really love Mike Smith or his scheme, but what does his scheme have to do with missed tackles? Seriously if they just make the tackles in this game and limit those short underneath throws to short gains, this game would been a blowout like 60-24. Execution was crap and tackling was not from too many rookies in the game or the 6 new starters. It’s bad fundamentals and any scheme won’t work work bad fundamentals. Period. Now go fix it Bucs!

    Don’t mean to be too negative that was best offense Ive ever seen from Bucs!!!’

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    • I suppose the answer would be something like, if your secondary is all playing 5-10 yards off their mark then the chance they’re going to end up having to run to the play and end up missing a tackle probably goes up. I don’t have the database to confirm that but it seems anecdotally from our efforts to be the case. I guess.

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      • You could also say that playing nearer the receiver and then missing that tackle the receiver goes for a long distance. Bad tackling hurts no matter where you line up on the field and that is not a scheme issue.

        But I believe that the biggest issue was just how little experience we had in the secondary yesterday. By the 4th quarter our most experience corner was Ryan Smith and everyone else had basically zero.

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      • I agree. It seems more difficult to make a tackle when the offensive player has 5 yards to maneuver. But yea, they gotta tackle better. The crazy think is how any of us (Mark Cook included on the podcast) thought the defense would suddenly be better than the dead last they were in multiple areas last year. The reality is Mike Smith is not all that good and I’d be happy to eat crow if it somehow changes.

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        • Saints defense is “dead last.” They got zero sacks. I said last week in my rundown of the NFC South’s team flaws that the Saints safeties were mediocre at best. They absolutely sucked yesterday and their pass rush was dreadful. We just beat a team that is one of the top five mentioned as a Super Bowl contender. That means something. Still, we have two tough games ahead in which we will be underdogs at home. The defense has got to improve, but that is going to be difficult given the inexperience of the secondary. Bright spot is Evan’s and overall run defense. I doubt that we held any teams in the league last year to under 50 yards rushing.

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  7. almost 0 % chance winston is not the starter after the bye week. if team is playing well and coaches feel it is better to roll with fitzpatrick going into the short week when jameis comes back wk 4 that’s one thing. but no way they decide fitzpatrick is the best qb on this roster when jameis gets back and is fully acclimated back into the mix. we know what fitzpatrick is. when you least expect it, this happens. but we know what the other side of this story is. only way possible jameis isn’t the starter is if fitz continues at a pace similar to what he did on sunday. if he does that hell be the best qb in the league and the winner of the mvp. chances of that happening are probably closer to 0 than they are to 1. saints defense was daring fitz and the bucs to make perfect throws to beat there corners 1 on 1 . and monken exposed it time after time. with the receiver talent this team has i doubt that’s the last time any defensive coordinator tries that against this bucs offense . regardless of who is starting at qb.

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  8. Very good article Mark; spot on.
    I agree, way too early to give up on Jones; sometimes it takes a little longer for the lightbulb to come on as to offense play schemes.

    Question Mark:
    Should we press more against Folds?

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  9. First off, I just want to say what a great win!! How refreshing was it to see our offense come out of the gates swinging instead of taking a quarter to warm up and get rolling? I think Monken should get a lot of credit for that. From the very first drive you could tell how our play calling was more aggressive then it has ever been the past two years. I think that aggressive and ‘risky’ play calling is infectious and inspires the players to step up their game to answer the call. As a player wouldn’t a play action deep shot on the first drive be more fun then some bubble screens and runs up the middle?
    My main point on that though, is that Mike Smith’s play calling seems to be the opposite. It seemed like he allowed our players to play more aggressive but at the same time they were playing more aggressive in his scheme. And his scheme is SOFT from a strategy and play calling point of view, it’s all soft. He preaches to not give up the big play and not make mistakes. Well, that’s the opposite of being aggressive and that play calling I believe is infectious with the players as well. Instead of the offense thinking I’ve got to make this play on this deep ball because I’m responding to this risk the coach is taking, the defense is thinking I can’t give up the big play here because that’s what coach is preaching instead of go out there and make a play and get the ball back to our offense. I for one would love for the bucs to bring in a D coordinator whose mentality is to play aggressive, make plays on the ball and create turnovers. No more cover 4 and cover two. Play cover 1 or 3 every play and apply pressure. All of our turnovers yesterday weren’t from the scheme it was our guys chasing the ball carrier down and making a play on the ball, that was our guys being instinctive not our coaches scheming and creating mistakes.
    But all in all, you’ve gotta be happy with the win. Go Bucs!! 1-0

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  10. Let’s not forget that the Eagles defense is going to be a lot better than the Saints defense we just played.

    I believe we can win, but I’m not expecting almost 50 points again.

    Go Bucs!

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    • True – but then again Nick Foles is no Drew Brees either.

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      • Foles has the NFL record for TD passes in a single game. He threw for 7 touchdowns against Oakland in 2013. He passed for 3 touchdowns and ran for another against the Bucs a few weeks after that. I thnk he’s 2-0 lifetime vs the Bucs. This time he is without Desean Jackson though. Every opponent can beat you in the NFL. Focus and one week at a time…

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  11. Anyone know if Wentz might play?

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    • I believe I remember the Eagles saying late in preseason that they won’t be rushing Wentz back into action. I’m expecting him to not see the field until game 4 or 5, unless the wheels look to be coming off

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    • No one knows for sure but they have said he’s not likely to return before October. Plus against our weak defense Foles will look like a super star. The question is how will our offense look vs their defense.

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  12. Good article Mark. Regarding RoJo, not sure how he cracks the line up at this point. He needs to supplant Rodgers as a runner and needs to pick up blitzes as well. Not going to learn that in street clothes. I’d like to see him get touches behind the first team O line, just don’t see how that happens. As for Smith’s defensive scheme, soft coverages leave routes open underneath and negate any pass rush. No way rookies or vets effectively cover that. He’s a lot smart and wealthier than I am, but I’m not seeing the production.
    Remind us what he changed in 2016 that resulted in our turnaround on defense?

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  13. Remember the second half of AZ game last year Fitz did the same thing
    all the Winston fans said it was fluke and that AZ had given up. Excuse
    not with holding Fitz has done it again not to mention the Jets and Miami win.
    Winston blows a talk and very little wins Like 2 wins last year,
    If Fitz looks good again it 2nd string for Winston and look to trade for a D lineman that can play
    Put Winston back in and he loses again Bucs will not be able to get a 7th round pick for him in
    a trade. .

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  14. Why is it no one tells the fact that Mike Smith lost a head coaching job in Atlanta, because of lack of defense. What ever made us think he would be able to come up with a defense in Tampa. If we want to succeed the have to admit Smith is out of place and then find a better DC. Mike Evans is a good football player but he is not a QB and Mike Smith might be a good person and coach but not a DC. The sooner we face that fact the quicker our problem will get solved. I know if I owned the team I would be calling John Fox he is known for his defense.

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  15. I thought the game was great. That being said why are SO many N.O. receivers running around uncovered. I might get blasted here but Tandy IMO was like a coach on the field helping others be In the right place.

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  16. I don’t want to be a negative Nancy, but before we start printing playoff tickets, can I remind everyone about what happened two years ago.
    The Bucs went into Atlanta as a heavy underdog and whipped the birds pretty soundly being a solid game from Winston.
    Of course great feelings and hype surrounded the team afterwards and a week later they flew into Arizona and promptly got their butts kicked.
    So before everyone starts clamoring for a 5 year fully guaranteed 100 million contract for the Fits, let’s wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks.
    Yesterday was great and Scott Reynolds may have been the only writer and pundit in America to predict a Bucs win.

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