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.
Question: When should the coaching staff say, “We know what Jameis Winston is and it doesn’t look like we will change his turnover habit, so we should soon see Ryan Griffin get some snaps?”
Answer: I am not sure if this is a legitimate question or not. This one makes more sense had it come last week after a four-interception game. While quarterback Jameis Winston did have two bad interceptions in the first quarter on Sunday, he ended up leading Tampa Bay’s offense to four touchdown drives, threw for over 300 yards for the sixth straight game, which was a team record, and scrambled for a couple key first downs to extend drives. Was his performance perfect? No. Was it good enough to win? Look at the scoreboard – Tampa Bay prevailed 35-22 in Atlanta. Obviously the answer is, yes.
I get the Bucs fans’ frustration. Winston tosses a bad interception on his first pass, then on the next drive he throws a laser to Chris Godwin that goes 71-yards for a score. Later in the first quarter, he throws an off-balance, ill-advised jump pass to Dare Ogunbowale and it’s another pick. Then Winston settles down and winds up completing 18-of-28 passes for 313 yards and three scores. I actually tweeted during the game, that this type of performance is the carrot that Winston dangles that is frustrating to everyone. He’s got 22 touchdowns, which is among the league’s leaders, and he has an NFL-high 20 interceptions.
Sunday’s win over the Falcons showed what Winston and this team can accomplish with a solid performance from the offensive line and the defense. This same Falcons team got to New Orleans’ Drew Brees six times two weeks ago, and sacked Carolina’s Kyle Allen five times last week. On Sunday against Tampa Bay, Atlanta had zero sacks and just one quarterback hit.
We often talk about the Jekyll and Hyde performances from Winston, but what about the Bucs offensive line? It’s the same with the secondary. Who were these five guys swatting away 16 balls and creating turnovers?
Winston is going to throw interceptions. That’s in his gunslinger D.N.A. and unfortunately won’t change much. But guess who else throws interceptions? Other top QBs. Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz had two on Sunday in a loss. Even Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who rarely throws them, had one on Sunday. And while it’s known that Winston will throw interceptions, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin don’t throw the ball to themselves. And as much as I like Ryan Griffin personally, do you think he completes that 71-yard TD pass to Godwin? Does he even attempt it?
If the Bucs aren’t sold on Winston completely then they should go draft one in the first round, but I would keep Winston for at least one more year. Tampa Bay has a team full of offensive weapons in its prime and I am not starting over with a completely unknown commodity – at least not without having a player like Winston on the roster in case the next supposed “franchise” quarterback is overwhelmed as a rookie and plays even worse.
Question: With the season coming to an end, and a top 10 pick likely, what position do you imagine the Bucs will target in the early rounds?
Answer: It depends on who the Bucs manage to keep in free agency, which is up first in March, and what players the team might add. While I was encouraged with the play of the much maligned secondary and the offensive line, the previous 10 games are still fresh in my mind.
At the very least Tampa Bay needs to find Demar Dotson’s replacement. But I would add more offensive linemen and let them battle it out and start the best five, regardless if they are rookies, veterans or new free agents.
And maybe this teams goes quarterback early. That doesn’t mean the Bucs don’t hit Winston with the franchise tag for one more season as the younger QB develops, and if by chance Winston figures it out, then Tampa Bay has some trade capital for 2021 or 2022 with the younger quarterback – and an insurance policy in case Winston doesn’t pan out in 2020.
I also think the Bucs address the pass rush as well. Who knows how many of the potential free agents on the roster are back next March. And even if they can re-sign outside linebackers Carl Nassib, Jason Pierre-Paul and/or Shaq Barrett, Tampa Bay can never have enough defensive line and pass rushing depth.
Question: Of the Bucs’ main free agents, who do you see them re-signing: Ndamukong Suh, Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul or Carl Nassib? How likely do you see them re-signing all four? All four had great games against Falcons, and are all finally healthy at the same time!
Answer: In a perfect, salary cap-free world, Tampa Bay would sign all four defenders back – no question. This team has been very pleased with those four players, and on Sunday we saw them all taking turns impacting the game in the Bucs’ 35-22 win in Atlanta.
I have no definitive knowledge of what the front office is thinking right now with five games left, but we have heard that Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul will be targeted to return, and if the money is right, so would Nassib and Suh. The Bucs drafted Anthony Nelson last April with the hopes of him being a younger Nassib, but the rookie has struggled to stay healthy. Had he been able to play in all 10 games this season, and put up comparable numbers to Nassib, then they might be more comfortable moving on from its defensive captain.
Just guessing, I would say the Bucs’ priority order to keep would be: Barrett, Pierre-Paul, Nassib and then Suh.
Question: Long time Pewter Report follower and poster, macabee just passed away. He could go toe-to-toe with you guys and was smarter than any of us. He predicted Bruce Arians coming before PR even had him on the radar. Do you have any words on him and what fans mean to the site?
Answer: Macabee, whose real name was MacArthur Boykins, was one of my favorite PewterReport.com readers and posters. He kept me on my toes, messaged me if we had any errors and even hit me up if he saw some breaking news to make sure we were on it. He was also one of the more level-headed posters we had. Rarely did he let emotion rule his thoughts and while he was a huge Bucs fans, it was quite apparent he knew that it was just a game, and there were bigger things in life to get upset about. Scott Reynolds took the time to acknowledge Boykins in last Friday’s SR’s Fab 5.
He was as intelligent as any one I knew when it came to Bucs football, and like myself, he remembered the early days of this franchise, the 0-26 start, the Doug Williams and Bo Jackson debacles, and then the rise to respectability under Tony Dungy that was culminated with a Super Bowl win under Jon Gruden. I am so happy he was able to see that.
And without Bucs fans like Boykins – and you! – coming to PewterReport.com multiple times a day, we wouldn’t be here. It’s that simple. We appreciate ALL of our readers and posters. Some might drive us a little more crazier than others, but everyone is greatly appreciated. PewterReport.com has set web traffic records the last three years – including 2019 already – despite the football team not cooperating very often with wins. But that just shows the type of loyalty and dedication that Bucs fans have.