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PewterReport.com began a new offseason feature this year, giving readers an opportunity to get their questions answered about the Bucs by the PR staff. Today, Mark Cook answers five questions taken from Twitter submissions and our message boards using the hashtag #PRMailbag.

Question 1. Morgan asks, with two rain delays will the Bucs give up on asking the NFL for 4 pm starts in Sept/October? I know I enjoy the late starts in Sept/Oct and hate baking in the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Answer: Great question and one you would think the league is already contemplating. As you know from living locally, that storm could have last even longer than it did, and there is no way the networks want to lose primetime programming for a game that was essentially over.

Scott Reynolds addressed that specific issue in his day-after column, 2-Point Conversion and wrote, “In years past the Bucs have lobbied the NFL for 4:00 p.m. starts for their fan base to try to limit the stadium patrons’ exposure to the sun. After two straight rain delays lasting nearly an hour in last week’s game versus Los Angeles and an hour and half rain delay against Denver, expect the league to say “no” to any more future requests for late starting times early in the season.”

I agree, while it may be a little more uncomfortable for the fans, most would prefer to not deal with potential delays due to weather, and certainly it’s a less than ideal situation for the league and the organization to have to delay games that end pushing everything back, from the television end time to when the stadium gets cleaned.

I will say, this has been an usual year weather wise (above-average rainfall), and while weather delays have taken place in the past, the odds of two games, back-to-back, being delayed again in the future is pretty low.

Question 2. Steven Jones wants to know, can this team win another game or are we on the clock for another top 5 pick?

Answer: Odds say this team definitely wins another game. Hopefully quite a few more. While the game Sunday against the Broncos never really felt to me like the Bucs were in it, or capable of scoring enough points to win, the Bucs schedule, on paper at least does ease up somewhat. Starting the season with two straight road games, then facing the defending Super Bowl and currently undefeated Broncos, the league did the Bucs no favors when building the schedule ( notice I didn’t mention the Rams game, I have stripped that one from my mind).

But several factors will have to change if they Bucs have any aspirations of even finishing .500. First and foremost is to get healthier. A team who is in a building mode, just can’t have certain areas decimated by injuries the way the Bucs have had happen to the their defensive line.

Secondly, quarterback Jameis Winston will need to reign in his turnover issue. This season has been similar to last with the interceptions, but last year Winston was able to figure some things out, and limited turnovers over the second part of the season.

And lastly, the mental toughness of this team still needs improvement. The best teams in this league walk out onto the field each week believing that they will win. The bad teams hope they can win. And the only thing that changes that, most likely is stringing a couple together, while also beating teams that have been a struggle in the past to beat. The Panthers present that opportunity to get on a little bit of a roll and hopefully gain some confidence.

Question 3. 1VABucsFan asks, do the Bucs come off to PewterReport.com as unprepared almost every game? Blown assignments, wrong personnel on field and untimely TOs.

Answer: I can’t argue your point. Neither can the players or coaching staff. It doesn’t mean it is correct, but at some point perception becomes reality. And right now the Bucs continue to be their own worst enemy. Until that changes, the Bucs will continue to struggle to win games and actually change that perception. However, as Koetter has said a couple times already this year, “if we knew exactly what to do, or if it was as easy as to just flip a switch, we would.”

Question 4. Chris asks, is it time for Ryan smith to take over for Chris Conte? Week after week misses tackles and gets beat.

Answer: I can’t say for sure as we can’t say with certainy how far along Smith’s development is, however, if Conte has another game like Sunday, then Smith will be getting his opportunity sooner rather than later. Just on Monday night, during a radio show on 620 WDAE, Koetter mentioned that Smith is still a little bit behind in learning the defense, so I wouldn’t expect any major shakeups coming this week. Perhaps after the bye week which comes on October 16.

Question 5. ShugSmith wants to know, do you think Dirk is adjusting his play calling due to JW INTs? Don’t seem to have the same flow.

Answer: I actually asked Koetter today if enough has really been made of the loss of Doug Martin and Luke Stocker and the impact it has had on Winston and the offense. Koetter carefully chose his words, and was diplomatic, and said there is a fine line between it being a reason or it being viewed as an excuse. But I don’t mind saying it, or people think I am making an excuse, but in my opinion it has been huge. Cameron Brate is flat out, not a good blocker. Charles Sims is plain and simple, not a featured, 20-carry-a-game-type of running back.

Losing those two players has crippled this offense, including the game plan each week. Now you could question why is there no true fullback on the roster, or why the team thought Sims could spell Martin effectively who had injury issues during his career? But to say that it hasn’t impacted the offense and what the team wants to do as far as an identify, would be false.

I think Koetter may simplify things a little for Winston against the Panthers and you will see a lot more Jacquizz Rodgers.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

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, the beach and family time.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 mark@pewterreport.com
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fredster
fredster(@fredster)
5 years ago

Yea when the qb is regressing and stinking it up you better make it simpler. Look at Prescott in Dallas. Very simple and not great defense at all. Still they are winning. Yes they have a better O line.
Why when Sims is struggling with turnovers and can’t gain any yards is he still getting majority over Rodgers? Rodgers had couple big runs against Denver right of the gut. The draw play was really nice.

Fred
Fred(@noles-rule)
Reply to  fredster
5 years ago

Guess you didn’t see the Monday night game. Winston will win for this team but he needs an O line and receivers that won’t drop the ball! He is only in his 2nd year. You want Glennon? How about Romo? He will get better, as the year progresses.

bucfury
bucfury(@bucfury)
5 years ago

Jameis won’t stop until he has worked it all out. He wants to be the greatest. He won’t stop so let him work it out. It may be annoying but he will auto correct on his own into something amazing. That’s how these personality types go. Unfortunately for others those types can be annoying at times. This is Kotter’s first year. He needs to be allowed to have at least 3 years building time line. This team needs a major culture overhaul (as Dungy successfully performed). If ownership gets emotional again and keeps making the same mistake over and over,… Read more »

76Buc
76Buc(@76buc)
Reply to  bucfury
5 years ago

I agree. The issue for me is the Glazier’s and their Donald Trump-you’re fired mentality. We now have, by reputation, a solid GM and staff, and a solid, professional coaching staff. LET THEM BUILD THIS THING!!! The problem with the team is not personnel, but depth. We need to build this team with solid back ups along the offensive and defensive lines. Also, we need a power back, a speed receiver, a safety, and a kicker. Depth, depth, and more depth. It’s depth stupid (borrowed from the Clinton’s). I do think Koetter has to reign in Winston, just as he… Read more »

seat26
seat26(@seat26)
5 years ago

Winston cannot win the games alone, But it is important that he does not lose them for us either. If I was coaching him I would just say take what comes to you. Don’t try to force it, and if we lose we will lose because of something else but handing over the ball game after game is killing us.

MWD
MWD(@mikewestdominguez)
5 years ago

The problem (everyone), is not Jameis Winston. It’s the offensive line, lack of discipline on the offensive line with penalties and he’s in a situation now where they are asking him to throw even more while running for his life because our big men can’t maintain a block. Our secondary absolutely sucks, primarily at safety……Conte= terrible, we can’t continue to give WR’s such a cushion every damn game either. It all works to feed one another, yes, we had more talent in the secondary during the Ronde Barber/Brian Kelly days but we also had an outstanding pass rush which contributed… Read more »

scubog
scubog(@scubog)
5 years ago

Having never missed a “home” game and sitting on the east side (the supposed sun side) I think I can speak with some authority on the subject of 4:00pm starts. I hate them!. I like getting to the game early and watching the warm-ups, complaining about the number of enemy fans who obviously live here, cheering for my team, then going home for a nice meal and catching the rest of the games. With the late starts my eating pattern is all screwed up. I like keeping my digestion system finely tuned by having meals on time. Supper is at… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy(@eastendboy)
5 years ago

My fellow Pr-ites, I know we’re all trying to figure out the problem…and the answer is yes…and no. Yes Chris Conte does not belong on the field anymore, yes Sims is strictly a 3rd down back, yes getting 11 guys hurt is debilitating, yes our Oline is (significantly) below average, yes our offensive scheme is a mismatch to the players we have (i.e., big slow WRs, an OLine that can’t pass protect, etc.), yes cutting our best TE was a mistake, yes practically every (challenging) decision our GM has had to make he’s got wrong from FA to the draft… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy(@eastendboy)
Reply to  EastEndBoy
5 years ago

I’ll expand a bit because that Michigan reference may have been too obtuse: For example, if our OLine is not exactly the best in pass protection, then don’t put them in a position to have to pass protect for 5+ seconds…especially against the other teams best players (e.g. Von miller) (you see, Harbaugh also knows not to allow the other team to do the same thing to you….try and keep their best players out of the play…again it’s percentages, not absolute). On defense, if LvD is one of our best players, why is he “covering space”? He should be involved… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy(@eastendboy)
Reply to  EastEndBoy
5 years ago

One more and then I’ll go have a coffee… If we get beat each week because our best players were not able to finish the plays they were involved in….I can live with that. If we (keep) getting beat because 4 guys from the scrap heap cannot generate a pass rush on their own, and because a 3rd down back cannot run the ball, and because our Harvard TE is doing the best he can, and because our Safeties keep giving up 3rd and long plays….I’m going to start calling for someone to get fired… I think we’re better and… Read more »

76Buc
76Buc(@76buc)
Reply to  EastEndBoy
5 years ago

I agree about all except the rocket surgery. I’ve never seen that performed.

fredster
fredster(@fredster)
5 years ago

The problem was not the offensive line Michael. This week the biggest problem was Jameis Winston. Last week our defense was the biggest issue. That’s a fact deal with it. That is the best pass rush and defense in the NFL and you think any other O line can do much better? Some of you people crack me up. The defense played lights out first half. Winston handed them 14 points on a platter. Now I’m a big Winston fan but he is in a softamore slump and is leading NFL in turnovers. It doesn’t help we don’t have Martin… Read more »

fredster
fredster(@fredster)
5 years ago

I heard our safety coach on 620 yesterday praising Conte and Smiths defense saying he can see the huge strides and knew it would take 4 games for them to learn it. What a joke! Who here sees progress in guys getting wide open or Contes play in general? Same crap Lovie used to give us. I hate people that sugar coat and don’t give it to you straight.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy(@eastendboy)
Reply to  fredster
5 years ago

Whenever I hear a coach say he knew it would take [4] games for (fill in whatever you want), I wonder how they can possibly be so precise….is 4 games some sort of magic number….and why don’t the pre-season games count in that 4 games….is it really that they needed 8 games, but that half them could be preseason games because that’s part of the magic development….is whatever Smith asking a 10 year veteran to “learn” about playing the position he has played for his whole career really that complex that it takes 4 (or was it 8 again?) games… Read more »

ROH
ROH(@dayonebuc)
5 years ago

Dirk Kotter needs to start showing that he trusts his employees. He is now the head coach, not the OC. He needs to show his players that he belives in them rather than cerumvent what they are trying to do on the field.He needs to let T M the OC call the plays and coach the players. He should be looking at the bigger picture. Odvisualy he cant watch the play clock , keep track of the time outs and call the plays while trying to be the HC. That is why they are 2 differant jobs. Show so faith… Read more »

fredster
fredster(@fredster)
5 years ago

Agree how can you say its 4 games or 6 or 8? Every team is different and different players. Conte isn’t garbag he’s very average but he would be a better back up. Gets injured a lot too. We need safety upgrade for sure nex draft. Coach says he sees improvement? To me Conte gotten worse not better. He’s missing tackles and out of position but he’s not the only one. Conte had great game against Falcons. We had good pass rush that game too. Secondaries just look bad when you can’t get to qb. I just hope they get… Read more »

vtrantb
vtrantb(@vtrantb)
5 years ago

I remember before the season started, I told a lot of people that Sims was not a featured back. He simply dances around too much instead of hitting the holes like Martin (and there were holes in the last few games but it closes quickly). At best, Sims is a third down back and occasionally could spell Martin for a series or two. Yet, many fans didn’t want to pay Martin because they thought Sims could be the guy.

SenileSenior
SenileSenior(@xpfcwintergreen)
5 years ago

Re: Answer (5), last sentence _ I agree. I think that Rogers was not ready to start last week after being here only a short time. Sims showed us why he fits as a “third down back” and is used to sppell Martin some of the time. Stocker is the best blocking TE we have (which answers the question why he is still here for some of his critics). _ Maybe next year the Bucs will have the luxury of taking a second look at acquiring a true fullback vs some other approach. _ We are still in a rebuild… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan(@naplesfan)
5 years ago

Note that opinions expressed in this thread are all over the map as to the causes and fixes .. some I agree with and some I don’t Regarding the game start time, TB needs to follow Miami’s lead and build a sun roof over the stadium … it would not only give protection from the murderous early season sunshine, but also provide a degree of protection against rain and lightning. It’s not cheap, but hey, this is Florida and this is how you do it. We’ve had a confluence of bad stuff happen, from injuries on the D line to… Read more »

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