PewterReport.com is beginning a new offseason feature, giving readers an opportunity to get their questions answered by the PR staff. Today, Mark Cook answers five questions taken from Twitter submissions using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Each week one of the questions used will earn the person who asked it a PewterReport.com T-shirt.
Question 1. @Makingmerkins @PewterReport chances Johnthan Banks starts next year?
As reported by PewterReport.com’s Scott Reynolds last week, GM Jason Licht said Banks would be given fresh start with new defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Really all of the players under contract will most likely be given an opportunity to showcase their abilities in the new scheme with a new staff. One interesting tidbit is new secondary coach Brett Maxie was Alterraun Verner’s coach in Tennessee when Verner made the Pro Bowl. Perhaps we see Verner and Banks lined up as starters when the season kicks off next September.
Question 2. @thunderchunkyPA @PewterReport We all know DE is a need for the team, what positions could the bucs upgrade in free agency before the draft?
I think they will definitely try and address the pass rush for sure. And they will look over the available cornerbacks and safeties as well. Its hard to tell exactly who will be available as teams have an open window to negotiate with their own players just prior to the official start of free agency on March 15. And most teams will find a way to keep impact players. So Tampa Bay will look to find some under the radar type guys who maybe need a fresh start elsewhere, or perhaps don’t fit well with their team’s current scheme. I really believe the Bucs will shy away from the really big names, as they tend to command salaries that don’t necessarily justify their production (Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins, Eric Wright and so on). With that said, if a bigger name guy someone makes it in the open market, the Bucs would explore it, but after the debacle of free agency a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t expect them to get into bidding wars. And I believe I recently read that of all the players who switched teams via free agency in 2015, only two were Pro Bowlers this year.
Question 3. @Gridiorn_Addict @PewterReport Do you think Mike Smith can return this defense to a top 10 status with the players on this roster and this draft?
That most certainly will be the goal. And if that happens, and the Bucs offense is even better in 2016, then this will be a playoff team. Without spending hours researching, has there ever been a team ranked in the Top 10 in both offense and defense that didn’t make the playoffs? Perhaps, but I would suspect that is rare. For the record, statistically speaking, the Bucs defense was ranked pretty high in total yards, but gave up a ton of points. So stats can be deceiving. But for the defense to make their way into an overall Top 10 defense they will need luck, young players to develop and a heck of a draft.
Question 4. @RLeib4th @PewterReport In 2016 where is the most danger of offensive regression?
Well hopefully nowhere, but unfortunately it could be at quarterback. I don’t expect it, but if I had to pick on it would be Jameis Winston, but only because opposing coordinators now have 16 weeks of game film and he isn’t going to surprise anyone. With that said though, I expect Winston to be an even better quarterback in 2016, even if he doesn’t match the same numbers as last season. He will work ever harder than he did as a rookie, and just having a year under his belt will help him make strides in my opinion. Hopefully there is no sophomore slump in his future however.
Question 5. @KatyCortelyou @PewterReport How do you rate the defensive hires?
I love them. On paper at least. And everyone we spoke to at the East West Shrine practices, and up in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, only had good things to say about the new defensive coaches. Even a former Bucs coach told PewterReport.com that the Bucs put together a good staff and he liked the hires at defensive line and linebacker. But time will tell. I expected Lovie Smith’s defense to perform a heck of a lot better than they did over the last two season. Fingers crossed that it improves, and honestly there isn’t a lot of room for them to regress.
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]
I would be happy if our defense got back the middle of the pack. If we can stop playing 10 yards off receivers with more press coverage along with more pressure on QB’s we will improve significantly.
I like the mailbag Mark. Good questions coming in.
Although I understand why you said Winston might regress next year, I don’t think it will happen.
For one thing, as you mentioned, he has 18 NFL games under his belt.
For anther, the biggest struggle most rookie QB’s have is in the red zone as the field is compressed and because of it players seem to be moving much faster and the windows are smaller.
Winston has had a year to deal with this as well.
The only place where I saw where Winston needed to improve his game was in the long ball but more work with his receivers and experience will overcome that problem.
Free Agent = Eric Weddle.
Regression = I hate to say it but I think it’s our OLine…not so much because they’ll get worse, but because I think they got a little overhyped in some circles this year – IMO, they had an okay year but not really even average…and still that was way better than I expected for them in 2015.
EastEndBoy, yes they were way overhyped. Especially with the way Martin ran for close to 1500 yards and Winston had a pretty sound rookie year. Yup, they were overhyped alright.
BTW, who, exactly, overhyped them?
Yes Dr.d they were overhyped. Overhyped by media, fans, etc. Martin did an awesome job. Had a stellar year and ran extremely hard. The run blocking was average-good at times. The pass protection sucked overall. Look at how many times Winston was hit and running around in the pocket. Lucky he stayed healthy the hits he took. It wasn’t the great O line it was Winston buying time and moving around in the pocket and having great vision. Teams that weren’t even good like the Colts had lots of pressure on him. As usual you are clueless and argumentative with just about everything posted here. But you really nailed Lovie not being the problem with this team and defense didn’t you. Lol.
Im not running to anyone’s defense but the offensive line does have room for improvement. Last year, Jameis got rid of the ball faster than McCown ever did and the Bucs relied more than usual on the running game. There were times when the Bucs needed to run the ball and sustain drives and were unable to get it done. I understand that the other teams players get paid too, but the offensive line deserves lots of credit and so does Koetter who put everyone in position to make the most of a tough situation heading into the season. The Bucs offensive line, running backs and QB all exceeded anyones best expectations last year, but there is room to grow in all three areas.
My issue with question #2 is the part where you say we should shy away from big name FAs bc of past failures like Collins,Wright, McCown and Johnson. The Bucs issue has never been signing big name FAs it is overpaying marginal talent with the hope we can take their careers to the next level. It would be completely stupid for us to pass up legit high end FAs bc we chose to overpay rotational players in the past. @fredster I recommend not even responding to DRDNEAST bc you are correct all he wants to do is argue. He once said Lovie wasn’t part of the problem now he agrees that a change was needed lol. Go Bucs!
Great article. However, I’d have to disagree with you on your opinion of Winston’s regress. IMO, a lot is going to depend on if we can keep VJax healthy and Evans can get some better hands this year. Defenses knew that with VJax gone, Evans was the go to guy. Hopefully via free agency and the draft, we can pick up another threat that can effectively give Winston another option. Having faith that this will happen, this will only increase his output. Added to the fact that Martin ran for 1400 yards… success in one part of the game, opens up the other.
Actually the player who has the most likely chance to regress next year is Martin. Happened before. 1,500 yards is a tough act to follow.
I believe that the defensive coaches will have a good influences in 2016 draft espically if Tampa can swing a deal if Tampa could move down and pick up at least 2 picks besides the other team 1st rd plus a draft pick in later rd’s plus a 2017 draft pick.
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