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.

Question: In 1989 I bought a ticket to see Dwight Evans return to Fenway and Red Sox fans cheered the former player. I’m not sure NFL fans are so open-minded, which is kind of sad. Do you think Patriots fans cheer Tom Brady or boo him when he plays his former team this fall?

Answer: It is really hard to know for sure how the fans in New England react when Tom Brady is announced prior to the game. But I have feeling it will be a warm welcome back. If this were in Philadelphia, for example, I think we all know what that reception would be like. But Patriots fans are a classier bunch. And they also understand the significance of Brady’s time in New England and what it meant to their franchise. Six Super Bowls in 20 seasons is one heck of an accomplishment and I think Patriots fans will acknowledge that with class and a rousing ovation for Brady.

Patriots RB James White and QB Tom Brady

Patriots RB James White and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today

That doesn’t mean they won’t be cheering for their own team once kickoff gets the game underway. But not only is Brady one of the most respected players in the NFL, he is one of – if not the most – beloved athlete to ever play in New England in any sport. And that’s an area with a rich sports tradition. From Larry Bird and Bill Russell of the Celtics, to Ted Williams and David Ortiz of the Red Sox, to Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque of the Bruins, you can add Brady to that list of the best players in the history of New England sports. I’d guess Brady gets a tremendous response and a long, standing ovation.

Question: Is it a bad sign that players are choosing to work out with Tom Brady instead of the coaching staff? Will it create a rift amongst the team? Why would the players choose that?

Answer: No, I don’t really believe this is any type of issue. First of all, it is Tom Brady, who has proven all he needs to over his career. Now if Brady had told all of the players to just stay home, or began some sort of official boycott for players not to work at all, that would have created some waves inside the organization. But Brady instead has organized the starters to have workouts, first at the Yankees facility down the street, then most recently at One Buc Place. Brady’s beef with the NFL wasn’t about not working at all. It was about doing so on the field in a structured environment.

Bucs Bruce HC Bruce Arians

HC Bruce Arians – Photo by: USA Today

Secondly, Bruce Arians came out early saying he has no problem at all with the players doing their own thing, He did seem a little perplexed that the workouts were taking place outside of the team’s facility. Soon after voicing his displeasure the Brady-led workouts took place at the team’s state-of-the art facility. A much safer place and somewhere that would be better for the players to practice in case of injury.

Lastly, the OTAs are strictly voluntary. The absence of the veterans gave the players who needed it he most – the rookies and young players – an opportunity to get in a ton of valuable reps that were missed last season and were beneficial for the younger group.

Question: What are the biggest questions heading in to mini-camp?

Answer:  The Pewter Reporters sort of answered that in the most recent PR Roundtable article on Sunday where we all listed which player we thought had the most to prove with this week’s mandatory mini-camp. Getting certain players any opportunity to prove their value is probably one of the biggest benefits of the mini-camp. It also gives the coaching staff an indication of who has been working out, staying in shape and studying their playbooks.

Bucs WR Jaelon Darden and CB Chris Wilcox

Bucs WR Jaelon Darden and CB Chris Wilcox – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

In terms of question marks, there really aren’t many. At least not many that can be answered over three days in shorts. Those questions, like – who is the starter at running back, what do they have in rookie outside linebacker Joe Tryon and quarterback Kyle Trask and who earns the kick return job this season, for example – will be answered once the pads come on in late July.

This mini-camp will just be a refresher course, and a chance to get some football reps in as a team. Something that was missed last season due to COVID-19. Although we could argue after the Bucs won the Super Bowl, they didn’t really miss anything by not being on the field at this time last year.

Question: If you could add one former Buccaneer to the 2021 team, who would it be? The catch – it cannot be someone in the Bucs Ring of Honor. 

Answer: This is tougher that it might seem on the surface. First of all, this 2021 Bucs team is already pretty stacked and you’d be hard pressed to find a weakness. Certainly all of the Bucs Ring of Honors players would only make this roster stronger. But since you eliminated that option, I’ll play by your rules.

Former Bucs RB James Wilder - Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers

Former Bucs RB James Wilder – Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers

My choice would be running back James Wilder, who would be Brady’s best friend. Not only as a chain-mover on the ground, but as a pass receiver. Wilder is easily the best pass-catching running back in the history of the franchise.

He had 431 receptions for 3,492 yards and 10 touchdowns out of the backfield as a receiver for the Bucs over his nine seasons in Tampa Bay. To put that in perspective, Wilder’s 3,492 yards receiving is still ninth-best in franchise history. And his 430 career catches ranks second. Keep in mind he was a running back – not a wide receiver. Just outstanding production from that position when you think about it.

Wilder isn’t in the Bucs Ring of Honor – yet, but should be soon. He earned it as a runner and a receiver, and would fit in perfectly with this 2021 Bucs team if there was some sort of time machine that could make that happen.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

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 mark@pewterreport.com
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eaustinyoung
15 days ago

I hope they boo him. Brady seems to feed off of hatred instead of letting it get in his head. I believe that’s the final stage of transcending into a legendary athlete.
And one former player (non-RoH) I’d add is get a healthy Revis back. He would make those young DBs lethal in Bowles’ system. Revis was just used horribly in his 1 year in Tampa.

Last edited 15 days ago by eaustinyoung
fredster
15 days ago

I took the one question as more what are the biggest questions marks about positions and areas the team struggled last year over WHO is the biggest question mark. Or as you all put it “WHO has the most to prove.” kick and punt returner? Darden? Who plays special teams? Will the Bucs get better at special teams coverage and return wise? Will anybody like Tryon or Nelson step up this year to give JPP and Shaq a breather or God forbid fill in if they are hurt. Will Suh and the interior D line keep playing at high level?… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by fredster
revfish
15 days ago

Without arguing about you choosing James Wilder, three players that might deserve at least a mention are Wally Chambers, Randy Crowder, and Hugh Green. Hugh Green was one of the top linebackers in the league when he played even as our scheme back then didn’t allow him the numbers that Lawrence Taylor got. Wally Chambers and Randy Crowder helped to make the 1979 defense the force that it was. I was at the 1980 LA Rams game when Crowder suffered his career ending knee injury but the man was a beast. And Wally Chambers was an NFC Defensive Player of… Read more »

Iowabucfan
15 days ago

I would chose Paul Gruber even though he is in the ring of honor. His career was a lot like Joe Thomas’ career in Cleveland.

Last edited 15 days ago by Iowabucfan
Pete Wood
15 days ago

I have never understood the hatred for former players unless that person just didn’t try with the former team. I like Jameis Winston and hope he does well in New Orleans. He worked his ass off in Tampa, but things just didn’t work out. I’d never boo him. Now, someone like Darrel Revis is another story. He spent his time in Tampa focusing on his next team and made the Bucs squander a first round pick. Guys like that are con artists and deserve to be booed. I hope Brady gets a warm reception when he returns to New England.… Read more »

inspecto
Reply to  Pete Wood
13 days ago

 Darrel Revis is another story. He spent his time in Tampa focusing on his next team and made the Bucs squander a first round pick. Guys like that are con artists and deserve to be booed.”

DR was a huge asshat here>

The Freeman
15 days ago

hearing BA on the Rich Eisen show, give me Ronde’ Barber… our young secondary need a kick in the ass and a real leader.

FLBoy84
15 days ago

Quite a few talented, non-ring former players that could add skill; to this squad. Agree with James Wilder and Hugh Green, but Hardy Nickerson, Ricky Reynolds, Donnie Abraham, Brian Kelly, Simeon Rice, Warrick Dunn, Cecil Johnson, Cedric Brown, Mark Cotney, Batman Wood, Martin Mayhew, Harry Hamilton, Tanard Jackson, Aqib Talib, Dave Logan, Mike Washington, and Shelton Quarles in their prime would all add quality depth, and some would likely replace more than a few starters on this squad.

Last edited 15 days ago by FLBoy84
scubog
Reply to  FLBoy84
14 days ago

Excellent choices FlBoy.

Gary
Reply to  FLBoy84
14 days ago

Love the list…I would add George Yarno just for some extra grit

Captain Sly
15 days ago

Straight Fantasy but James Wilder would be the “Biggest Cheat Code” ever! One of the greatest Bucs of all time. I literally had to double check to make sure he in fact was not in the ROH. Shameful one of my all time favorites. Cheers!

ScottC543
15 days ago

There will be cheers as Brady takes the field, but it will be very quiet as the crowd files out at games end.

Naplesfan
15 days ago

Well, we should expect at least some boos in New England, but I rather expect that there will be a lot more cheers than boos. For one thing, Brady didn’t join a team that is a long time rival to the Pats, including any other team in the AFC North, or the Steelers in particular… such as the reaction in Green Bay when Brett Favre joined the Vikes. Secondly, Tom Brady has never said a word derogatory to the Pats or to the Boston area, other than to say he’s glad to finally be done with the cold weather –… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  Naplesfan
15 days ago

Just contrast the way New Englanders have already reacted to TB-12’s move to Tampa to the way that the cheeseheads are already going after Aaron Rodgers, even though he hasn’t even left yet, and it seems unlikely he would end up with a spot at an NFC North team like the hated Bears or Vikes. They’re already washing their hands of Rodgers and using phrases like “good riddance” – none of which was heard in New England last year.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  Naplesfan
15 days ago

Yeah New Englanders have been nothing but supportive and cool towards me as a Bucs homer. Gotta give them props – I thought they’d be D bags.

toofamiliar17
15 days ago

I don’t hate the Wilder answer. That may have been the route I’d have gone prior to the signing of Gio. But with him onboard, I think our RB room is both deep and strong, even without one standout do-it-all stud. Even with the three we have now, I can see the appeal of Wilder, though. For me, it comes down to prime Gerald McCoy, Hardy Nickerson, or Simeon Rice. Having Rice would make us very clearly three-strong off the edge, which is just brutal for opposing offenses. I hope Tryon turns out to be a great player, but as… Read more »

guinnessbucsgod
Reply to  toofamiliar17
14 days ago

I’d take a Santana Dotson over McCoy. I’m not a McCoy hater but I don’t think he could have played 5 tech. David Logan would be a great pick for 5 tech and Marcus Jones with this coaching staff would be interesting.

scubog
Reply to  toofamiliar17
14 days ago

My choice would be Simeon Rice. Love J-Dub, but putting #97 in the mix as a pass rusher would be brutal to the opponent.

guinnessbucsgod
14 days ago

@Maark while I love your pick of James Wilder to add to the 2021 roster, he is one of our top 3 most electric runners. What about Simeon Rice or Santana Dotson as stand-up and hand in the dirt rushers? Donnie Abraham or Brian Kelly starting across from CD3?

Last edited 14 days ago by guinnessbucsgod
aredsoxfan1
14 days ago

There is no doubt Brady will be well received in Foxboro. I even expect some type of tribute to him at the game. It’s not as if Brady was pulling a Rodgers and just dying to get away from the Patriots. Most fans feel Belichick is to blame for pushing Brady out the door and/or they were just lucky to have Brady for 20 years and 6 SB.
As far as former Bucs go I would add Revis Island to this team and guarantee the repeat.

scubog
Reply to  aredsoxfan1
14 days ago

That’s my thought as well soxfan. I too believe the spoiled Flying Elvis fans blame Belichick for Brady’s departure. I suspect he’ll receive some applause and cheers when the stadium announcer says, “Quarterbacking the Buccaneers is #12, Tom Brady”. After that short introduction, they will treat him as badly as any other opponent. After the game, folks might head to the visitor’s tunnel for an opportunity to thank him as he leaves the field for likely the final time.