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?
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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 – 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.
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 – 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
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.
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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