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.
“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.
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
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.