The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our @PewterReportTwitter 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: How do you think this whole “situation” will affect Jameis’ relationship with his teammates? Will teammates have a hard time getting back on board with him/buying in? Is there a fractured trust there?

Answer: I really don’t think that will be an issue at all. In fact, Kwon Alexander and DeSean Jackson both have already come out showing public support for Winston, and I think the rest of the team will be fine with Winston. Like fans and management, I am sure there is some disappointment in what transpired, but I am guessing his teammates will be more understanding. They see how hard he works and the behind-the-scenes Winston. These guys are pretty close, and I have spent some time this offseason with some of the players, on and off the record, and they genuinely like the guy a lot.

As I stated, are some disappointed? Sure, but they will be quick to forgive. And it wouldn’t surprise me if Winston hasn’t already reached out to a number of them to tell his side of the story.

Question: If Jameis comes back and plays well do the Glazers/Licht give him a one-year deal or risk paying him a long-term deal given the circumstances? Also if there was a regime change do you think Jameis would survive it if he plays well but our record only has 5-7 wins.

Answer: The team has already said they have picked up his fifth-year option so 2019 is already accounted for, at least if Winston doesn’t nosedive or have another incident that sheds negative light on the franchise. I am guessing, if he plays well, and things blow over some, that they would consider locking him up to a new long-term deal prior to 2019, but they really don’t have to as they could always place the franchise tag on him, if negotiations were to bog down. The ball is really in the Bucs’ court at this point. And again, based on his play, if he gets a long-term new contract there really is no risk to the team financially as there would almost certainly be language in the deal that would protect the team from any future transgressions. I think that is pretty standard with most of these mega-deals.

Question: If Fitzpatrick somehow pulls it off and goes 3-0 or even 4-0 if he plays week 4, who would start after the bye week, Fitz or Winston?

Answer: I was asked this same question on Sirius XM this weekend, and like I told the hosts, that is the type of dilemma that makes me glad I am not a head coach in the NFL. But how do you take a guy out when the team is undefeated under him, if your scenario were to play out? It is one thing if we are talking a left guard or a cornerback coming back, but the quarterback?

Koetter has always said in the past that when a starter comes back he goes back to where he was prior. But this might present a situation that he has never dealt with in the past. I am guessing if the Bucs were 3-0 and Fitzpatrick was playing a Pro Bowl level and one of the top ranked QBs, then you would almost have to let him keep driving the train, right? Now if the team were 3-0 based on say an incredible run game and a dominating defense, as opposed to Fitzpatrick playing light out, then the decision would be a pretty easy one to make.

Question: What side of the ball do you think will be strength of the team this year? Offense or Defense?

Answer: It would be nice if it were 50/50, but for the sake of your question the safe answer would be the offense. I think there are still too many unanswered questions on the defensive side. I do think it will be better than we saw last year, but I wonder how long all the new players can fit and start working in unison. Unfortunately, we the tough three-game stretch to open the season, the Bucs need the defense to come out fast and on the same page if they are going to avoid a 0-3 start.

The offense still has some question marks of their own, particularly on the line. It doesn’t matter who is under center, if the line struggles to protect the quarterback and can’t open holes for the running game then all the skill position players in the world don’t matter. While we all moan and stress about Winston vs. Fitzpatrick, the Bucs success in 2018 will depend on how well the lines play on both sides of the football.

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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]

13 COMMENTS

  1. I thought it would’ve sent a strong message had the Bucs given Winston a one game team suspension of thier own. He would only miss the Bears game, then be back after the bye week. Let him know he’s on a short leach. Your thoughts Mark.

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    • He’s already getting suspended, why punish him more? You literally admit yourself that going further is just posturing.

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  2. I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me I absolutely have no clue what our win /loss could possibly be this year. I lost a lot of confidence these last couple years as to talent, team, coaching, management.
    I just don’t know about where the Bucs are presently, but I will continue to support them like I have since 1976. Go Bucs!

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    • Honestly, I feel like this is one of the best teams we have had in years (on paper atleast) but I am more concerned about the coaching..I hope koetter proves me wrong but I still don’t have too much faith in the guy..questionable play calls, time management..then we hear TJ Ward come out saying the bucs didn’t really let him be himself on the field, I know Ward was a scrub for us last year, but I started thinking about koetter and Winston on hard knocks last year..I feel like koetter does not truly knoq how to maximize a players potential. Just my thoughts..

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    • I agree. After the hype last year and the abysmal performance that followed I also have no idea what to expect. The Winston debacle just makes any positive thoughts suspect. Unfortunately we don’t really have proven depth at quarterback. Fitzpatrick is a journeyman and 35 years old to boot. Behind him there is nobody with ant credible experience. Miracles do happen, but not apparently not with these Bucs. It’s the legacy of a decade and a half of bad personnel management choices.

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  3. Good to see a rational objective view of the situation versus the burn him at the stake crowd.
    Not excusing his alleged behavior but some of castigation’s towards Winston are beyond rational and are clearly biased against him. Rather obvious they are well indoctrinated by the false narrative promoted by the mainstream media and ESPN.

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    • I’ll second that.

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    • Thirded.

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    • I went to FSU for undergrad and grad school. Was in Tallahassee when FSU won in 2013. Jameis was one of the best college QB’s I’ve ever seen. I defended him ad nauseum against the Kinsman allegation because there were legitimate holes in that case (which is why she couldn’t win the code of conduct hearing). And despite it, it is possible to see a pattern of behavior and look back and say “yeah I can believe he’s responsible for it.”

      Sorry Runole but ESPN didn’t make me think anything.

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  4. Runoke. Obviously I was one of the first ones who rejected to Winston’s behavior. Time takes care of many things. I’m willing now to give him another chance as long as he plays good this season, and of course no more behavioral problems. Go Bucs!

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    • That’s what I like about you Horse. You might blow your stack about an event or a player, but you always calm down and take the time to think things through. Hopefully Jameis does and says the things that will make folks more willing to give him that chance. Of course winning a few games might help.

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  5. People want to talk about Winston and QB position all time, but it does come down to how both lines play more than anything else. I’ve said it starts up front period and guys want to argue this and that. Yes It’s a team sport. Yes You need a franchise qb in this offense driven league now, but success absolutely agree will depend if we can run ball and protect more consistent this year.

    As far as Jameis goes I said from get go his play this year will determine his fate. Simple as that. Assuming no more issues that is. If it’s mediocre or bad I think they will move on. Not worth the risk and he’s had enough time. They didn’t run the ball last year, protection was not consistent, and worst defense in league makes a QB press. This year hopefully those pieces are improved so hey can fairly and finally avaluate is it worth giving him a big deal. All these idiots saying he Sucks just move on now are morons. Just not time for that yet on any level unless your just a Mike.Seven type broken record so called “fan” blinded by hate and don’t care about the teams fate.

    Time will tell if Winston has changed and alcohol was mainly to blame or the guy is just a scumbag deviant and alcohol brings out his true self.

    As a fan I have to hope he will mature and change and plays great this year. I don’t like that because as a father, etc I think he’s been a real idiot and I’m about tired of it. If we have to cut him and start over it will set this team back again. It won’t be 10 year set back like some have said but it will likely be significant amount time. If he plays great this year and no more troubles and is married, why as a fan would I want that?

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  6. Meant why would I not want that…..lol

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