Quarterback Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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, starting with Gruden, firing him over an emotional deflation due to Kiffin’s departure, then we’ll just end up being… well the Cleveland Browns… (Wow remember the Dungy and Gruden days? That was fun!)
On the other hand, the GM on down needs to put their foot down and let it be known that there is no “winning now”, stop that nonsense, and stop building up the fans hopes. Tone everyone down and train the owners, that there is “multi year slow step by step rebuilding now”. I think maybe, or at least I do, fans would rather see this organization become more and more solid, more professional so we can have a winning team for years and years to come. Can’t build a champion by rushing ahead and skipping steps. And I’m tired of this city having to be be embarrassed, we all are. Get a plan, a system and stick to it! If you can’t figure one out go copy New England. They know how to make our Buc (former) Buc players play well!
– a 38 year Bucs fan…
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 did last year.
At least 3 years and maybe longer if we are showing steady improvement each year.
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.
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 to sacks, hurries and bad throws by opposing QB’s which led to more INT’s defensively. Where is our pass rush now? For those who bad mouth Winston, my gut feeling is that Winston would try to play even if he had a broken throwing arm, but now that we are 1-3, here comes the “no guts” injury bug, McCoy stubs his toe and he’ll be out 3-4 weeks and he’s not the only one. The culture needs to change here, we need more Hardy Nickerson/Derrick Brooks leaders who are vocal. I say this because while i am trying not to throw things at my television while watching these Bucs, I don’t see any type of emotion on the field. @seat26, I agree with you about Winston not winning games alone, maybe he feels we have to try to put up 42 points a game because our defense will give up 43?
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 6:00pm. After the Rams game we didn’t eat until after 9:00pm. This week it was after 8:00pm.
The only folks who benefit by the late starts are the fans on the west side (the supposed shade side) and the concessions.
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 (for the avoidance of doubt selecting Winston with the 1st pick, Evans with the 10th and VHIII with the 11th were not challenging decisions…I will give him Alexander), yes our DC seems to have no idea how to call a defense (Blitz is an option Mr Smith), yes Winston has stepped backwards in his accuracy and decision making (on pace for 852 INTs this year), and yes scheduling 4pm games was being oblivious to 2,000 years of weather patterns….did I miss any?
But, no…none of that should matter. Our players our good enough – we could do better yes, but they are good enough relative to what other teams are trotting out. Yes, the Broncos have Von Miller, but they also trotted out Siemian and Lynch…we should have been able to eat their lunch. Our coaches are good enough – yes they could be better, but they certainly understand all of the possible 200 play combinations on offense and defense that every single team in the league chooses from…there is no magic plays that only the Patriots call – it’s a question of which plays they select and when…they should be able to get that right, as someone once said “it’s not rocket surgery”. For example, calling Sims to run straight up the middle on 3rd and 1…not a good choice.
So yes all of the reasons we have expressed are the problem, and no none of them should be preventing us from winning (or at the least being competitive in) every single game. I said earlier this week that what Jim Harbaugh has done with the same band of misfits that Brady Hoke couldn’t get to a 500 record with….plus a few freshmen) and turned them into a contender for the National Championship, is what we need…I don’t mean that we need to fire Koetter and hire Harbaugh, but whatever he’s doing at Michigan is the same thing we need done in Tampa – put the best players we have in the best positions to be involved in the play of the game (that’s play calling + player positioning)… and a little sprinkle of “who’s got it better than us?!” NOOOOOOOOOOOOBODY!!!!!!!! Go BUCS!
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 on nearly every play…blitz him, put him man-on-man against TEs, get him involved…20 tackles in 4 games is not nearly enough. Instead we sit back on 3rd and long and put the stress on our safeties to cover deep patterns…bad idea…not our best players.
So again, I think everything could be better, but the ingredients are there (players, coaches)….we just need to realize that we have the ingredients for a cake and stop trying to make pizza every Sunday!
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 it’s not that hard to show it.
I agree about all except the rocket surgery. I’ve never seen that performed.
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 but you do the best you can and take what a superb defense gives you and dont lose the game for us. Winston lost this game for us. Pure and simple. Is it the best O line in the league? No, but hat doesn’t give the excuse for Winston to force balls and btw is accuracy is garbage too. I still think he will be a great qb and we have our man but take blinders off and accept other than than Falcons game he has sucked big time this year and has regressed.
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.
Whenever I hear a coach say he knew it would take  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 to learn…sounds fishy to me….
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 in your players and your coaches and do YOUR job not everyons eles.
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 it together. If they can beat a struggling Panter team perhaps the season isn’t over. I dont like our chances though. Too many injuries and young Winston is just struggling. Will see hope I’m wrong.
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.
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 mode and must continue to try to upgrade the quality of our backups , draft top potential talent and bring to maturity the young talent we already have. All this while trying to win every game we can.
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 ASJ falling off the wagon, and an extremely challenging early schedule … the latter we knew about for months, so being 1-3 should not be a surprise to anyone. We actually have one quality win over the dirty birds, and the offense has looked good about half the time. Unfortunately the defense has never looked good, but it’s a brand new DC and a brand new defense, a bunch of new players and we should always expect to take about a half season for the new D to gel and start producing, just as last season it took our new offense about half a season to gel.
There’s no easy fixes, and there’s plenty of time for the Bucs to get better if they have it in them this season to do so. Hold your fire until the end.
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