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.
DeSean Jackson Supports Jameis Winston https://t.co/bEjiB3LpPV
— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) June 29, 2018
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.