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The Pewter Report staff answers your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account each week in the Bucs Monday Mailbag  Submit your question to the Bucs Monday Mailbag each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Here are the questions we chose to answer for this week’s edition.

QUESTION: Will the Bucs regret letting Jameis Winston go?

ANSWER: I assume you’re referencing Jameis Winston’s five-touchdown debut as the New Orleans starter in the Saints’ 38-3 win over the Packers? The short answer is that time will tell if letting Winston go will cause the Bucs to regret their decision. If Winston is the quarterback in New Orleans for a decade or more and wins Super Bowls and beats the Bucs regularly from now on, then yes, there could be some regret – in the future.

Bucs QB Tom Brady's

Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today

But the longer, more complicated answer is that there is certainly no one in their right mind questioning the Bucs’ decision to let Winston go after the 2019 season and sign Tom Brady as his replacement. While 44-year old Brady will only play a few more years in Tampa Bay due to his age, he won a Super Bowl in his first season in Tampa Bay. And was the MVP of Super Bowl LV, too. And Brady out-dueled Patrick Mahomes in the process. And because of Brady all 22 starters are back with the Bucs this season to try to defend their championship and win it all again.

A quick look around the NFC South shows the Bucs leading with two Super Bowl titles in two tries. The Saints have one in their lone try. The Falcons and Panthers are each 0-2 in their quest for a world championship. The fact that Tampa Bay won a Super Bowl trophy last season is complete validation for parting ways with Winston.

We’ll see how Winston fares the rest of the season before anointing him the NFL MVP. Maybe Sean Payton has finally gotten the INTs out of Winston’s system. I personally like Winston and hope he lives up to his potential in the NFL. But the reality is that Winston came to the Bucs in 2015 knowing that he had to eliminate turnovers and stop forcing the ball into coverage.

He had five years – five years! – to stop throwing interceptions. That’s on him for trying to do too much and not taking care of the ball despite that being preached to him for five years under three different coaching staffs.

What happened to Winston in his fifth-year option season in Tampa Bay? He threw a career-high 30 interceptions and became the first NFL player to throw for 30 TDs and 30 INTs in the same season. Bruce Arians, the guy named “the Quarterback Whisperer,” didn’t think he could salvage Winston and sought an upgrade in Brady. I wholeheartedly trust Arians’ opinion on QBs. That was undoubtedly the right call last year.

Super Bowls are incredibly hard to win, and who knows what the future holds? The future is always uncertain. What is certain is that Brady helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl last year in Tampa Bay and Winston failed to help the Bucs even get to the playoffs.

QUESTION: Will we see more of Giovani Bernard moving forward?

ANSWER: According to head coach Bruce Arians, Giovani Bernard is the team’s third-down back and the two-minute back. Yet Leonard Fournette received four third down reps on Thursday night against Dallas. That was as many as Bernard received on third downs that were not in two-minute situations, according to Pro Football Focus’ Nathan Jahnke.

When asked how the running backs performed in the passing game, which is where Bernard has thrived in his career in Cincinnati, Arians had this to say: “Very average, and we dropped a screen pass for an interception. We don’t like to throw to backs if we don’t have to. They’re check-down people. We don’t bring backs in here to throw them 100 passes. We’ve got enough guys outside to throw 100 passes to.”

Bernard received 17 reps and caught two passes for 12 yards. He was targeted three times in the passing game. Meanwhile, Fournette played 42 snaps and he is clearly the preferred back on first and second downs. But it was interesting to see him play the same amount of snaps as Bernard on third downs in non-two-minute situations. We’ll continue to monitor the snap counts on third down for both Bernard and Fournette moving forward.

QUESTION: Will the Bucs pick up another cornerback with Sean Murphy-Bunting’s injury?

ANSWER: It really depends on how long Sean Murphy-Bunting will be out with his dislocated elbow. If it’s a couple of weeks and the Bucs want to keep him on the roster. Then the team won’t be adding another cornerback. However, if Tampa Bay places Murphy-Bunting on the short-term injured reserve list, then the team will have a vacant roster spot that could be filled by another cornerback. But it may not be a new cornerback.

Bucs CB Dee Delaney

Bucs CB Dee Delaney – Photo by: USA Today

The Bucs already have five cornerbacks on the roster. Murphy-Bunting, Carlton Davis III, Jamel Dean, Ross Cockrell and Dee Delaney, the preseason sensation. Cockrell will step in for Murphy-Bunting in the slot, while Dean will start outside for SMB in base defense opposite Davis. Cockrell gave up a touchdown to Amari Cooper on Thursday night when filling in for Murphy-Bunting, so he’ll have to play better moving forward.

Keep in mind that Tampa Bay has cornerback Herb Miller on the practice squad. This is Miller’s second season in Todd Bowles’ defense. So if the team were to add another cornerback to the 53-man roster it would be Miller. Not a cornerback off the street like Richard Sherman. Last year in limited playing time on defense, Miller recorded his first career interception against Detroit in Tampa Bay’s 47-7 victory. His familiarity with the scheme makes him valuable.

QUESTION: How does the Pewter Report staff cover the team without being fans at some level, including when they were losing? For example, were you a fan last year? What about 2014? Would seem to be a tough balance. And do you all have other pro teams you follow just for fun?

ANSWER: Fun question to answer. Are we fans of the Buccaneers? Well, Tampa area native Mark Cook naturally grew up a Bucs fan and couldn’t hide his affection for the team while working for Pewter Report for more than a decade. That’s part of what made Cook’s coverage for us special.

I grew up a Washington fan as a kid living in Virginia, and later became a Chiefs fan while growing up in Kansas City. Yet I don’t follow either team now, nor would I consider myself a fan of either team. I started following the Bucs while I was in college at K-State when I first subscribed to Buccaneer Magazine (the predecessor of Pewter Report) in 1993. When I began covering Tampa Bay two years later I had to adopt a professional, objective approach to reporting on the Bucs. As a result, it’s tough for me to consider myself a fan. I’m a reporter.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht ESPY white house

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: USA Today

At the same time, I know that I write for you – the die-hard Bucs fans. I want your team to do well and win so you can relish in the victories. I want the players, coaches and front office members that I cover to do well and win because I see how much hard work they put in year-round to do so. After covering 13 years of losing seasons in Tampa Bay I’m glad that the narrative has changed for the better. These Bucs are fun to cover.

I’m a football fan and I like watching really good football. I was definitely not a fan of Bucs football in 2014 (and several other years) for that reason. There was some seriously bad football in Tampa Bay for the better part of a decade. There’s a reason why I was the first to call for Lovie Smith’s firing in 2015. Bucs fans deserve better and I’m glad they’re getting it now.

To finish answering your question, I really love college football. I prefer it over the NFL because I don’t like the direction the league is going with its rule changes and the way the game is now officiated. I know Jon Ledyard, who hails from Pennsylvania, is a fan of the Steelers in addition to enjoying covering the Bucs for Pewter Report. Matt Matera is from New York and grew up a Jets fan. Needless to say he’s happy to be covering a winner in Tampa Bay. JC Allen is new to Tampa Bay from Boston, so naturally he grew up a Patriots fan. Safe to say he’s happy to covering Tom Brady with the Bucs now.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at:
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4 months ago

Correct, Winston had to lose his job at Tampa in order to get it into his thick head that he has to take care of the ball better. Spending a year with Drew Brees certainly helped too. But we’ll see, Winston had some very good games for the Bucs too, but he always reverted to mean. What he does for a full 17-game season may look very different than he did yesterday. He was also helped a great deal by the lights out performance of the Saints defense. Winston usually got in trouble on turnovers when he was playing with… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Naplesfan
4 months ago

As long as your not a Saints, Falcons or Panthers I’m good lol.

4 months ago

Winston had no chance here. The team was pathetic. Defense and run game are a young QB’s best friend and we had neither. O line was well below average too and he ran for his life too much. Bucs offense is also a tough one to run for any QB even Brady struggled last season for first half season. Even with better o line and D. We also had garbage coaches, and No kicker the whole time he was here. So I always said don’t know how you can evaluate a QB with that. glad it worked out and got… Read more »

4 months ago

Doesn’t matter how Jameis does – no one should be mad about the move. Brady has shifted the entire culture here. Might be the best FA acquisition in NFL history.

4 months ago

Jameis went 14/20, 148 yards, with 5TDs. An unusual stat line for sure. When was the last time you saw 5 TD passes with only 148 yards passing? He did play well and made some nice throws, but the real story was how poorly the Packers played. I also have to credit Sean Payton for keep the gameplan simple from the QB position and not asking Jameis to do too much in his debut. The Saints offensive line mauled the hapless Packers and Jameis had no pressure on him the entire game. Any competent NFL QB would have had a… Read more »

Reply to  MojoU
4 months ago

Watching the game, he also didn’t look like a dominant QB. Had some good throws, some bad throws, plenty of time and plenty of open WRs. Let’s see how he does later in the year.
Also the stat line really should read 4TD and 1INT, as it was called back because of a ridiculous roughing the passer penalty. That INT was thrown into double coverage again btw and in the end zone. Looked pretty familiar to me.

4 months ago

Scott, great answers on Winston. Thorough and accurate.

4 months ago

Good Article Mark. I supported Winston for four years and then I got off his train. My take on Winston is congrats on the 5 TD’s. I stopped trusting him because he couldn’t be consistent except he was consistent not being consistent. Payten will find this out too. I am hoping we have Brady’s replacement on the team now with Trask, if he can get in the game later in the season as the Back Up. He will need this for for learning experiences.

Reply to  Horse
4 months ago

oops, Scott not Mark. I’m sorry Scott, my bag.

4 months ago

Let us not anoint Winston as the 2021 MVP quite yet! I watched the game yesterday and to be fair to Jameis he had a decent game. However the stat sheet tells only part of the story. He had just 148 yards total passing (with less than 100 yards passing entering the 4th quarter). Despite the gaudy QB rating and 5-0 TD to interception ratio, those stats are quite generous to Winston, including a typical red zone pick negated by a ludicrous phantom roughing the passer call. He also managed to overthrow a wide open receiver for one of his… Read more »

4 months ago

It will be interesting to see how Winston does when he has to start throwing the ball downfield and the opposing D is expecting it. Yesterday he was a caretaker and played well and he didn’t make any glaring mistakes. ( other than the pic he threw and was bailed out by the refs)

4 months ago

Regret letting Winston go? You’ve got to be kidding. You might’ve noticed we won a Superbowl last year with Tawm Foueckin’ Brady. If Winston takes N.O. to Superbowls, we can have that conversation, but not on the basis of one good game.

4 months ago

Having Tom Brady was the Bucs best move although if anyone can help Winston become consistent it will be the Saints head coach .

4 months ago

Winston’s performance is getting completely blown out of proportion. He faced no pressure, saints defense shut the Packers down all day, and kamara was his usual self. Winston should’ve had 2 ints on the day but as many have said, one was negated due to an atrocious roughing the passer call. Don’t worry, Winston will come crashing back down to earth in Winston style. Let’s keep this in mind. When asked about Winston telling the players they were going to “eat a W”, lavonte David said that it made him and his teammates uncomfortable. Winston is no doubt talented and… Read more »

4 months ago

We wouldn’t have won the World Championship with Winston last season. Players came here because of Brady and he changed the culture. Just like we wouldn’t have won the World Championship in 2002 with Dungy instead of Gruden. Gruden gave us an offense plus allowed Monte Kiffin to be more aggressive on defense and blitz more. He also challenged our defense to get more defensive scores off of turnovers.

4 months ago

I wouldn’t give the release of Jameis a second thought. Jameis had five years to prove he was the future for the Bucs. It was clear that he was not going to take us where we wanted to go. And let’s not forget the salary demand. He stated that he thought the talks should start north of $25 mil per! No way was he worth that! He’s making 5.5 mil this year! Had that been his salary expectation with the Bucs perhaps things would have worked out differently. Wish him well, but certainly don’t miss him. I’ll keep the current… Read more »

4 months ago

Not using Bernard more is a mistake and will be one. Brady need backs like that, especially with shaky left tackle. Arian will have to change like last year. Team started winning when he stopped being stubborn and play what the team is good at.

4 months ago

One game doesn’t make a season as the Saints found out last year after they beat us by the same score. Also the one other thing that kept Winston from being a good QB was his immaturity. Sometimes you need a hard kick in the ass to wake you up from that and maybe that is what happened when the Bucs kicked him out the door. Prior to his leaving his immaturity and hubris made him think he was worth $25 to $30 mill a season. Based on what? Scott, you and i are going to have to agree to… Read more »

Freeman Strickland
Freeman Strickland(@freeman1)
4 months ago

Winston is a tree, but the Saints team is the forest that is not being talked about here.
For a team that was not supposed to be in contention to repeat as NFC South champs, they looked very good against the NFC North champs.
If the Saints can continue to play that well while scheming for Winston’s strengths and weaknesses, they will be very tough in what was said to be a rebuilding year.

4 months ago

The long and short of the Winston question is there is no way we could ever regret letting him go. Winston had every opportunity to prove himself more of a plus than a negative and he couldn’t. If that was all on his vision then so be it. The reality he if he would have stayed he would have most likely never received the kick in the a** he needed to improve. Getting dumped for the Goat and having to sign for pennies compared to what he was asking for was a wake-up call for him and will be the… Read more »

4 months ago

Seems to me like this is just a confirmation of the fact that Payton & co have a better scheme, and are just that much better coaches, play callers than Arians, Leftwich. I don’t think JW is learning anything new in his 6th year. That said, I’m glad we got Brady – would have not won anything without him and his entourage.

Reply to  Emilio
4 months ago

Really, after one game and 20 passes you’re going to conclude that Winston has been transformed. I suppoeted Winston. I wanted him to be successful in Tampa. But he was much too full of himself. Perhaps he had to be humbled but he had promising games like that ehre as well. Remember his 5 touchdown game against Philadelphia and his Player of the Week against the Rams. The Packers offered little opposition. They appear to be a troubled franchise with a disgruntled quarterback. Payton is a terrific coach, but so is Arians who has a better lifetime record and playoff… Read more »

4 months ago

Winston made 21 mil in his last season with Bucs. He’s making 5.5 this year with the Saints. And when the 2019 season was over, Jameis thought salary negotiations should start at close to 28-30 mil per range. That’s just not going to happen. That was the primary reason he was let go! Well, that and he just wasn’t going to take us where it was that the Bucs wanted to go! Let’s see what Saints do when he wants 25-30 mil per?!

4 months ago

I was thrilled when the Bucs drafted Winston over Mariota. Mostly because of Jameis’ outgoing personality as compared to Marcus’ reserved demeanor which was more of what our youthful, downtrodden team needed. Yes, Jameis had some magnificent performances and plays that would excite me and the fan-base. But sadly, the next week or the next play he could absolutely destroy the euphoria with interceptions and inopportune fumbles. I spent a lot of money to take the family to London only to have Winston repeatedly turn the ball over to the mediocre Panthers. At that point, like my friend Horse, “I… Read more »