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. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section. And make sure scroll all the way down to watch the best highlights from the Bucs appearances on Monday Night Football.
Question: Will Ronald Jones get a chance to play and hopefully shine against the Steelers with our run game being sub-par to this point?
Answer: I wouldn’t bet on it. Who do you sit? The Bucs most likely won’t have four running backs active on any Sunday (or Monday night tonight), so with Peyton Barber clearly the starter, and Jacquizz Rodgers the backup and third down pass protector, then it is between Shaun Wilson and Ronald Jones. But the Bucs really like Wilson as a kick returner and special teams player. So Jones, as of now, is the odd man out unless he can make an impact on special teams, which I don’t see happening.
The team really likes Jones and believes he will eventually live up to being a second-round pick, but feel very comfortable with the three backs they have had active the first two weeks. Look for that to continue at least in the near future. The only way Jones may be active is if there is an injury to Barber, Rodgers or Wilson.
Question: If the Fitzmagic doesn’t wear off enough to go to Jameis Winston at some point this year, is he still worth the fifth-year option? Could you see a scenario where Winston does come in at some point, struggles and gets replaced? Or once they go to Winston they stay with him?
Answer: The team has picked up Jameis Winston’s fifth-year option, so barring an injury, or trade, Winston will be with the team next season. And I really can’t see any scenario where the team would even consider trading him. He’s a former first-round pick and the Bucs have time, money and resources already invested in him.
As far as this year goes, I believe it is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s job to lose. And I think it would take a major meltdown (or injury) on Monday night for him to not start next Sunday against the Bears in Chicago. Besides, Winston won’t return to the team until Tuesday, so would starting him on a short preparation week make sense? No.
This team is going to ride the hot hand for as long as it stays hot – maybe if cools off a bit and is just only warm. The players in the locker room believe in Fitzpatrick, and as long as the offense is productive, I don’t see the benefit of replacing Fitzpatrick with Winston.
I do believe if Winston does get his job back this season at some point, then it will be his the remainder of the season. Winston is still the Bucs’ long-term answer, or so the team believes, and they want him to get as many snaps as he can to continue his development.
Question: Are there any concerns to the longevity/availability of Vita Vea in the long run, given he (A) got injured during at the Combine and could not complete (hamstring), and (B) got injured during the first padded session of camp and subsequently missed seven weeks?
Answer: None that we have heard. And the Bucs put these players through a multitude of medical exams prior to drafting them, especially guys they are drafting in the first round. That is the “can’t-miss” round and if there was any genuine concern about Vita Vea’s health he would not have been selected when there was plenty of talented players still on the boards.
The team is playing it super conservative with Vea and have had that luxury with the depth they brought in on the defensive line. Of course that depth will be tested on Monday night with the news that Vea and Beau Allen are out.
Question: Can the Bucs really start 3-0? Most were predicting 0-3 and here we are with a chance to be undefeated.
Answer: Absolutely. Tampa Bay can be 3-0 within 24 hours from now. It won’t be easy as Pittsburgh has underachieved so far this year and appear to be somewhat dysfunctional at 0-1-1. And that scares me a little. An injured dog is most dangerous, and when you combine a team with its back against the wall and a veteran coaching staff and quarterback, the Steelers will lay it all on the line on Monday night.
But the atmosphere should be tremendous and the Bucs are playing as well offensively as any team in the NFL, so with them playing at home I give them the edge. As I stated it won’t be easy but if they can avoid turnovers tonight and get a couple of their own, they win and move to 3-0.