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, 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 email@example.com
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