Each week PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your submitted questions about the Bucs. You can have your question answered by asking on Twitter using the #PRMailbag hashtag. Here are this week’s five questions.
Question: Do you think Jameis Winston’s deep pass percentage will go up with DeSean Jackson’s signing?
Answer: Well it almost has too, right? There isn’t a media member who loves Winston’s overall game more than I do, but it isn’t perfect. And my biggest criticism has been his deep ball. People assume that because he has a pretty good arm, that he automatically would be a great deep ball passer. But even in college it wasn’t his greatest attribute. First of all, the deep ball is really a low percentage pass. So many factors go into it, and then there is a luck factor involved. It is easy to say, “well just practice it.” And believe me, he does. But he can’t go out in the Florida sun over the summer and ask Mike Evans to run 50 go routes to get their timing down. And just like in a game, receivers have more juice at certain times.
If the Bucs are on a drive where they have been primarily throwing the ball, then Dirk Koetter calls a go-route, Evans, or Adam Humphries and even DeSean Jackson only have so much left in the tank at that moment. Trying to determine where to lead a receiver 30 or more yards down the field isn’t easy when the player is fresh, much less when there is six minutes left in the fourth quarter and it is 93 degrees on a September afternoon. That isn’t even taking into account the time it takes for deep routes to develop down field, with a quarterback avoiding pressure.
With that said, there is little more deflating to a crowd of 60,000 fans standing and screaming and they see a receiver break free an the quarterback misses him with an overthrow. You can literally hear the air being let out of the stadium. So, Winston must get better. And I think with Jackson it does, but it won’t happen overnight. Getting that timing down will be crucial. The good news is, I don’t know if Winston can throw a ball far enough that Jackson can’t run under. How many receivers has he had in the NFL that we can say that about?
Question: Why not strike a deal now with Mike Evans while Bucs still have $40 mill in cap space?
Answer: The Bucs would love to, but obviously in the middle of free agency, the market is too unstable as prices are still being established. When the 49ers are throwing $16 million to Garcon, and the other free agent receivers are still negotiating deals, it throws the market out of whack a little. Trust me, both sides have a pretty good idea of what it will take to get it done, but neither side wants to just throw their cards on the table just yet. Evans will most likely end up as the top paid receiver in the NFL soon, and my guess would be sometime this summer, perhaps on the eve of training camp in July.
If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes, well a lot of minutes, and read SR’s latest Fab 5. In it he talks specifically about the Bucs and Evans, and what a new deal will most likely look like.
Question: Who do the Bucs target as a backup QB with Glennon gone and Foles in Philadelphia?
Answer: That is a good question. And it may be no one at all. Although, personally, I would love to see the team bring in a veteran presence – and it isn’t necessarily to win games in case Winston goes down. Fact is, if Winston is lost for the season, in all likelihood, the year is over – Raiders fans would agree. But regardless of Winston’s leadership and work ethic, and all of the other intangibles, having someone who has seen it all makes sense to have in the building. Believe it or not, one of the most highly respected players on this team a few years ago was backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky. And it certainly wasn’t for his athletic prowess, but instead his number of years in the league and his understanding of the game.
Is Winston light years ahead of most third-year quarterbacks? You bet. But could it help to have a veteran in the meeting rooms, locker room and even on the sideline during game? I would say yes, without a doubt. Now, with that said, quarterbacks are competitors and they all think they can play and be effective. So finding the right veteran would be imperative. The last thing you need is a backup dividing a locker room the minute Winston goes through a potential slump mid-season. The Bucs don’t need a Chris Chandler, or Casey Weldon situation arising. How would fans feel about Josh McCown? Personally, I thought he was the perfect guy the year Winston was drafted, but obviously the team felt differently.
Question: What do you think of Jason Licht’s strategy of signing bridge free agents, then drafting the same position?
Answer: I don’t know quite yet, I think the jury is still out, but there is a fine line between going total rebuild mode, and also staying competitive. I think a couple scenarios where it looks like great ideas, wast last season with the drafting of Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence, while also signing Brent Grimes and Robert Ayers. Licht is as competitive of a front office executive as I have met, however. He hates to lose. He is distraught after a loss. I have seen it first hand multiple times. That is just his nature. And I think that plays into it as well. I think it will work out fine in the long run, but you do bring up and interesting point, and one worth keeping an eye on.
Question: Could/would Bucs use Charles Sims as trade bait to move up a bit to pick a RB in the draft? Is he even worth much?
Answer: I think you kind of answered it in the second half of your question. While we saw two years ago the value of Sims, we also saw the lack of value last season when he was asked to take on a completely different role. Couple that with his injury history, and I don’t see a lot of trade value. I think the Bucs would be wise to keep Sims this season and see if he and whoever the featured back can recapture the magic of 2015, when he and Doug Martin were the NFL’s best running back duo.