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.

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]

18 COMMENTS

  1. If you can’t beat out Quizz who many thought wouldn’t make the team, or beat out an undrafted running back, it’s not a good look for Jones. I get it, they like Wilson as a kick returner, but I don’t get why Rojo was never even given a chance to compete as a returner. I get they love Quizz’s pass pro, but they can’t like the fact that he’s zero threat with the ball in his hands. Can’t they have Barber do the blocking on passing downs? We’re not exactly scaring teams with our run game which was one of the worst in the league last year. If your 2nd round pick isn’t suiting up on a weak unit, that’s a bad sign.

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    • Bucs RB’s have been asked to provide protection. At that, they’re leading the league. The offense has been on fire and the Bucs have only given up 2 sacks. Just don’t play the Bucs RB’s in fantasy football. Quizz is doing fine and RoJo will get his chance to shine eventually.

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    • To our coaching staff, for better of for worse, depth is always key. If Barber were to get hurt during a game, they care more about pass protection of the next man up than ability to run the ball. So as long as Quizz is better in that part of the game, he’ll be on the game day rosters. I don’t agree with it. We see a ton of teams using RB’s who damn near never pass protect and scheme some plays for them. But it is what it is. Until RoJo can be a force blocking in the backfield, he’s going to be riding pine.

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    • Another thing to remember, if your always using certain backs on pass plays and others on run plays, defenses figure this out very quickly. It’s the same with Tight ends, you need to have guys who do both to keep the defense on their heels.

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  2. Winston should be the starter week 5. Koetter can avoid any locker room issues by sharing the “plan” with the players/staff as soon as possible (if he hasn’t already)and simply state so publicly tomorrow morning regardless of tonite’s outcome. Fitz has been magic for sure, but this is Winston’s team. Fitz should have 2 more starts and then – according to plan, yield to Winston game 5. He will have then done his job and done so “magically.” Go Bucs!

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    • You do not make a change for the sake of change alone. They are having GREAT success with Fitz and it would not make sense to alter that unnaturally. The other piece is that it is a short week so there will be no time for Winston to get timing down.
      And another huge angle is what advantage would there be by letting the other Team (Chicago) know who the starter is? By making them prep for both, you create pressure for them. Winston put himself and this Team in ths position. Don’t forget that. You don’t just hand him the keys because you think this is “his Team”.
      Winston will have plenty of time to get back in and have success. I believe he WILL have success but you don’t make this change while we are winning and winning so handily!

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    • You don’t mess with success! The first rule for failing; Change what gives you success.

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  3. Gulfstrings– drugs are bad for you. There is no way that Winston is starting any time soon…

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  4. Although this is only the 3rd game of the season, to me this game is the biggest of the year. Let’s hope they’re able to handle the recent success and destroy a talented but vulnerable team tonight. Go BUCS!

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  5. We can do it just like KC did last week. Our OL has to be able to stop Pittsburg’s prolific sackers though to keep Fitzmajik rolling. Defend our home turf.

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  6. Koetter won’t, and doesn’t have to name a starter at Q.B. till game time. He will, and rightfully so keep the Bears, and the Falcons guessing, having to prepare for both Q.B.’s. While the fans, and media obsess over who the starting Q.B. will be come next week, I doubt the players, and front office are.

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  7. Before the season started, there was no question that the Bucs would be 0-3 or 1-2 and that Winston would be starting week 4 since he’s the future and the franchise QB.

    Good news! The Bucs are 2-0 and could be 2-1 or 3-0 when Winston gets back and he’s STILL the franchise QB.

    Short week to prepare for Chicago? Nope, not for Winston! He’s been studying them for a month.

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  8. Good answers Mark. My question is shouldn’t we give Rojo a chance after the bye week? Sooner or later we have to see what he has at this point in time.

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    • Some people are gamers and not necessarily great practice players. I would like to see what RoJo does when the adrenaline is flowing at 150% with the camera’s rolling.

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  9. I’m not buying that he’s sitting because Wilson is so good at kick returns (1 attempt for 29 yards) and Rodgers is so good at pass pro (maybe, but defenses can just tee-off when he’s in the game). That all sounds fishy to me as reasons for benching RoJo.

    I’m not saying there isn’t a good reason – maybe the coaches simply can’t trust him given their (poor) experience with him at practice. But if the reason really is that Wilson and Rodgers are just so much better, I’d like to see evidence of that tonight – please.

    We need to take the car out for a spin or two….IMO.

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  10. If history is any indication, Winston will do something stupid (probably involving a woman) that will get him shipped out of town anyway.

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  11. All of these extensive tests that you speak of…. what did those tests do for Gaines Adams or Brian Price??

    Anyways….i am so excited for tonight’s game and I must say the past two weeks have been the most enjoyable weeks I have had in football in a long time!!! Go Bucs!

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  12. As bad as this running game is, there is no excuse for your #2 pick to not have touched the ball through 3 games this year. I don’t care how you slice it this is an epic fail by Koetter or someone. If we had a running game or somewhat of one, then I could reason with it but it’s non existent. It’s not doing RoJo any good being inactive every game.

    As far as Vea goes, I can’t believe this really and to think we passed on Derwin James the way Conte has looked for years. WOW

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