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Each Monday Mark Cook of PewterReport.com answers questions submitted by our readers concerning the Buccaneers. You can get your questions answered by submitting them via Twitter and using the hashtag #PRMailbag. 

Question: Are the Bucs making any progress on a Mike Evan’s contract extension?

Answer: I can’t say for sure what the status is exactly, but we feel it is something they would like to do, sooner rather than later. And Evans deserves it. The strides he made this year, with a more mature outlook on his conditioning, work ethic and attitude, proves he is serious about his craft.

I have heard a few people make mention that they hope a new deal doesn’t turn into the Mike Williams situation like a few years ago, but I can assure you they are two completely different people. Evans, who is a married father now, has really grown as a person since coming to Tampa Bay, and if he stays healthy, he will shatter the Bucs franchise receiving records when it is all said and done.

Scott Reynolds  quoted Evans on his thoughts about a new deal in a recent Fab 5.

“I’m not worried about that stuff,” Evans said of a possible contract extension in 2017. “It’ll come, but I’m mainly focused on getting better and helping this team win.”

The crazy thing about Evans is, there is still room to grow, as he hasn’t reached his ceiling a Bucs offensive assistant told me at the East West Shrine practices last month. He is still a relative football newbie, not starting playing until his final year of high school then only two seasons in the field at Texas A&M. 

I would look for a new deal to be done prior to the preseason, probably in the early stages of training camp, if not sooner. 

Question: Is it fathomable that the Bucs don’t draft a cornerback this year?

Answer: It certainly is fathomable but unlikely. I can’t say I see them taking one with the No. 19 pick, but as we saw last season, it does take a while for cornerbacks to develop, and adding a young corner that isn’t necessarily expected to step in right away, would be ideal.

And while Vernon Hargreaves had a solid season for a rookie, you could definitely see the difference between Hargreaves and a veteran like Brent Grimes. The Bucs need young cornerbacks for depth and then after this season, possibly one to replace Grimes. Of course they way Grimes played this season, it isn’t out of the question that he could be back in 2018 as well. 

Question: What drills should I be watching for Buc need positions during the NFL combine?

Answer: Of course the 40 time is the one that gets them most attention, and for certain positions like running back or wide receiver, it is a nice measurement to have on a player, and most certainly can have an effect on their draft status. But for other positions, particularly those that play in short space areas, other drills and measurements are way more important.

PewterReport.com’s friend and one go the best message board contributors, Jimmy Johnson, aka, Yuccaneers, talked to me recently about some of the markers he pays close attention to. 

Short shuttle, three-Cone, broad jump and 10-yard split are some to watch.  

According to Johnson, the short shuttle measures change of direction and agility. The three cone reveals straight line and linear power, change of direction, braking and regaining top speed, the broad jump expresses horizontal power, which is more specific to football motions and finally 10-yard split as offensive line play is all about playing within a box.

PewterReport.com’s Trevor Sikkema is planning on being at the combine this year, so may sure you come back daily to get his thoughts from Indianapolis. 

Question: Are the Bucs expecting Daryl Smith back? If not they can’t totally rely on Bond to fill his position can they?

Answer: We haven’t gotten any indication from anyone on what the plans are for Smith, if any. We do know the Bucs liked what they saw in the short time with Bond last season, but were equally impressed with his presence around the team after he was placed on injured reserve. Bond was very active with the team from a mental standpoint, and in all the things he was allowed to participate in under the CBA while on IR. The Bucs view him as a versatile linebacker, but most likely Smith’s longterm replacement at the strong side position. 

Smith filled the role exactly as the Bucs envisioned when they signed him. Solid on the field, but tremendous as a leader for the Bucs young linebackers. If he is interested in returning, there could be some interest from the team as well.

Question: Who’s the better fit for the Bucs defense, Malik Hooker or Jamal Adams and why?

Answer: While I love the draft, new beat writer Trevor Sikkema is better equipped to field this question, as he lives and breathes this stuff. Below are his thoughts.

Adams and Hooker are both two fantastic safeties, but they’re quite different form each other. In Hooker’s case, you’re looking at an elite player who does well in zone coverage with great range. He’s used as the deep man in Ohio State’s Cover 2-man scheme or even in their Cover 3 as a single-high safety – much like how Alabama used Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. What makes Hooker so alluring is that he shows great instincts and natural ball skills while only being a one-year starter. He’s a true free safety who can break up deep passes, and has a knack for converting those deep passes into turnovers if quarterbacks aren’t precise.

Adams, on the other hand, is a bullish, agressive, walk-up safety. He’s used closer to the linebacker group to either cover tight ends and running backs, or as a first responder when stopping the run. Adams’ explosive nature makes him one of the best tackling and support strong safeties I’ve ever seen. Not only can he lay big hits, but he’s also reliable when wrapping up. He’s up for any challenge, both mentally and physically, when it comes to bringing down ball carriers, and is always trying to force fumbles. If Hooker is categorized as elite athletically when tracking deep balls down the field in long strides and range, Adams is elite athletically in short bursts, recovery speed and change of direction – thought he can run downfield, too.

Mike Smith’s defense calls for both of his safeties to know how to play both strong and free safety rolls, so both of these players would be good options, however, with Keith Tandy showing so much success with takeaways at the free safety spot, if the Buccaneers had to choose a better compliment, it would be Adams. 


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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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4 years ago

I’m getting pretty tired of reading about people concerned about the safety position on this team. If anyone would look at the second half of the season, they would see all three safeties, Conte, McDougald and Tandy all improving their play. In fact, I think there was only one game in which the safeties didn’t come up with at least INT and on a couple of occasions they came up with two. This team is much more in need of defensive lineman who can pressure the QB. Two of the DE’s we have, Jacquez Smith and Noah Spence are undersized.… Read more »

Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

Agree 100% drd.
I don’t know about anyone else but I found the offensive and defensive free agency pieces extremely sobering. Looking position by position exposes how wafer thin we are virtually across the board.
Which positions are areas of true strength, beyond QB, LB and P? Yes there are a few spots we may end up being better off than others like Guard and Corner (and ironically, possibly Safety) but in general we are relying on a potentially dangerous combination of 30+ yr olds and youngsters who have promise and we’re hoping can step up and be ‘the guy’.

Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

I too think an upgrade is needed at DT next to GMC and maybe even a viable back-up to #93. Akeem Spence has never really stood out and Clinton McDonald hasn’t looked like anything special in his time here. That probably explains why Gholston and Ayers are moved inside on passing downs. Rookie DaVonte Lambert showed some promise for an undrafted player. Siliga and Hughes are at least big. AT DE there is at least a collection of candidates if they can remain healthy. I agree with you that the safeties played much better in the second half of the… Read more »

4 years ago

Mark – thanks for the kind words! With the safeties needing to be interchangeable in Smith’s scheme the best safety in the early rounds for what the Buccaneers ask their safeties to do is Budda Baker, from Washington, he is excellent in both man and zone – can line up as a nickel slot cover corner and can play in the box – a mid round gem is S Tedric Thompson of Colorado.

4 years ago

Have to agree, D.T. to me is more of a need then safety. All the talk of us picking one as high as second round, which P.R. predicts scares me. I’m also worried about our right tackle situation. Got to ask tho Mark, any word on the indoor facility?

4 years ago

For those of you who can remember, it wasn’t the fly paper coverage by our DB’s that made us a defensive juggernaut in the 90;’s till 2004, it was the ferocious and unrelenting play of the front seven that created early or off target throws by the QB that the DB’s turned into TO’s.
Quit trying to build from the back to the front when the game is won in the trenches.
Clichés are clichés because they are true.

4 years ago

It’s now down to the season where Commenter A says he’s tired of all the other commenter who disagree with him, because obviously, only he himself knows what the Bucs need, and it’s _____ Then Commenter B says that everyone who thinks like Commenter A is nuts, because obviously what we really need instead is a _____, so those other guys need to pipe down. Then Commenter C says that all those A and B types are really disconnected from reality, and he’s been saying for four decades in a row now that the only way to build a team… Read more »

4 years ago

Enjoyed reading your synopsis, Naplesfan. I know I was in there somewhere. LOL. The truth can hurt and be funny at the same time.

Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

Dr. D: I think I might have been hidden in Naples’ comment as well. Funny, his remarks pretty much define him too …….and probably all of us. In spite of his contest; I’m not whipping Clyde out to measure. I always say, “It’s better to have a Mini Cooper that runs all night than a Lincoln Continental that stalls shortly after crossing the bridge and heading into the tunnel. I have yo disagree with your remark about our DB’s during the glory years. Yes, our pass rush was great but, Donnie Abraham, Brian Kelly, John Lynch and Ronde Barber were… Read more »

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