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: How do you feel about Tampa’s chances against Seattle? They’re definitely a different team on the road?
Answer: I know I have said it before, but this game will really tell us a lot about where this team truly is. Seattle is as tough, if not a tougher test than the Broncos game earlier this year. And we know that didn’t turn out so well. However, with that said, this is a different team than the one that faced Denver a month ago. This is a team with more confidence, a team that is starting to believe they can win games against opponents like the Seahawks. This Buccaneers team absolutely doesn’t go on the road and beat the Chiefs, say in Week 4.
As far as their chances on Sunday? This is a tough prediction. The Seahawks were hit hard this week with injuries, and while you never wish them on a team, it certainly helps the Bucs’ chances to win. But for the Bucs to take that next step, this is a game they need to win. I don’t know many people who expected this team to win the NFC South, and I still think they fall short of that. This year. But I see a team on the verge of turning the corner, and a win against the Seahawks means the Bucs are a relative team again in the NFL. Make no mistake, this team is 100 percent in the thick of the playoff race. I can’t wait to see how this team and this city reacts if they can knock of one of the best teams in the league, two weeks in a row.
Question:Do you think it’s realistic the Bucs choose Dalvin Cook if he’s best player available?
Answer: Well you are asking the wrong person as an FSU fan! Just kidding, I love Dalvin Cook, and think he is exactly how you draw up an NFL running back. Great speed, vision, solid hands out of the backfield, and by all accounts a true leader for the Seminoles. He is also good in pass protection as well. not great, but as good as any running back that may come out. Now to the question of if the Bucs take him. I believe it would be hard to pass him up, despite the fact Tampa Bay has Doug Martin locked up. And most would agree there are more pressing needs on this football team.
However, if he is there and the Bucs have him as the best player available, then they most likely take him. The quickest way to ruin a football team is to reach in the first round. With that said, obviously with Tampa By having Jameis Winston, they aren’t taking a quarterback in the first round no matter what. But any other position? All bets are off.
Question: Mark, why doesn’t the team play a tall receiver like Mike Evans back at the goal line for Hail Mary situations?
Answer: They do have that in their playbook according to head coach Dirk Koetter, but they didn’t utilize him in the situation against the Bears. Mike Smith said it was a bad call on his part. And I think looking forward you would see Evans in coverage, using his tall frame as a defender. Some, like our good friend, Derek Fournier of WhatTheBuc.net, would argue it is foolish to put your star player in a situation where he could get tangled up in a mass of jumping bodies, but teams put their best players on the “hands” team on onside kicks, and to me that is always more risky. But I do see Fournier’s point.
Question: Caleb Benenoch, according to Coach Koetter, did not have a good game against Chicago. He didn’t even start against the Chiefs. Yet, due to injury, he did play a lot vs. the Chiefs. What is your opinion on his performance from Chicago to Kansas City? Thanks.
Answer: It was a night and day difference. Far from perfect, but he was much improved, as you would expect. You can sit in on meetings, you can run scout squad in practice and you can study a playbook, but there is no substitute for actual game experience. And fortunately he was able to do that against the Bears, which made him better against the Chiefs. I still see him as Demar Dotson’s eventual replacement at tackle, but for now the Bucs are content with him filling in as needed at guard. He is a talented football player, but needed to suffer some bumps and bruises – and successes – to get better overall. He still has a long way to go, but last Sunday was an encouraging sign.
Question: Aguayo was solid in the win over the Chiefs. Every kick was right down the middle. Yesterday, a record was set on the number of PAT’s were missed. Happily, Aguayo wasn’t a part of that. Do you feel he has turned the corner? Thanks, Mark.
Answer: It was a crazy day for kickers, no doubt, and the Bucs needed Aguayo to hit every single one of those kicks in a two point final outcome. It’s is obvious he is kicking with more confidence, and so I suppose you can say maybe he has turned a corner. But there is a lot of season left, and plenty more opportunities to have some more struggles, but for the Bucs’ sake, and in the thick of a wild card chase, the team’s final record this season will be very much dependent on how Aguayo continues to play this season. Fingers and toes crossed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Funny you should mention Caleb eventually taking over at right tackle. Last weeks practice photos on Buc.com, had a picture of just that. Caleb at RT with Dot at RG, and a coach lining up at center. The coach looked to be teaching Dot on RG play. I know it’s been said they cross train all their lineman, but to be practicing that way this late in the season says the Bucs are keeping their guys prepared for anything. I’ll say it right now, next years best training camp battles will be on the O line.
I think that’s true. It’s possible that next year we could see Dot move inside to RG and move Marpet to Center and put Caleb at RT. But I honestly think they will re-sign Hawley and Caleb will battle Dot for the RT position. Left side will stay the same.
I also think you’ll see the Bucs look for a development LT prospect in the 4th or 5th round.
Thank you Mark for your opinion. Davin Cook has a history of ankle injuries. I’m not sure if I would take him in the first round even though he is a very good player. I believe the first round should go for a DL or OL. There is no question this is a much better team than last year. The coaching and players are better and there is more competition. Our leader is Jameis Winston; best thing that has ever happened to the Bucs! Next season we will be in the playoffs for sure. I don’t believe there is a lot of negative voicing out there about our Bucs; we all see the improvements and where our team is heading. Some of us just have a difference of opinion as to exactly where we stand in this point and time, but it is all still good. Go Bucs!
Thank you Horse.
I know people are tired of me saying this.
Draft linemen first. Maybe if we say it enough they will do it.
LOVIN ME SOME BIG ASS LINEMEN
Dalvin has never had an ankle injury before. Had some hamstring issues last year, but not ankle. Also had his shoulder scoped this past offseason. Maybe you are thinking of Fournette. And if anyone had ankle issues in college it was Jameis. Glad the Bucs were able to “overlook” that and draft him anyway!
My bag. I thought he had a high ankle sprain last season and an injury the previous season. I might have been confused with some of the other RB’s on FSU team the last couple years. Thank you for the information Mark. I still would not take him because we have such other critical needs.
I guess it all depends on free agency as well but never say never horse. Remember, everyone also said Dallas taking Elliot was horrible with all of their needs and that’s turned out ok. If Cook is still sitting there when the bucs pick, he would be the best available and let’s face it, Doug has about a 30% chance of playing the entire season next year.
Id love to see the team throw some money at Eric Berry next off season and take care of our safety problems, but not sure he’d leave KC.
We do need line work as well though on both sides, although from what I’m seeing and reading LT this year is very weak.
We should take a look at Alvin Kamara out of Tennessee. Similar back to Cook, but we could probably get Kamara in the 3rd round. Need to focus on our lines in the early rounds, would be a big mistake to take Cook that early imo
Here we go with the jr. GM’s with no personnel experience trying to reshape the OL.
I remember the last coach we had here who actually had experience at it and when he blew the line up it didn’t work so well.
Since then we have had to use valuable high picks on OL we could have used on much needed DL or other impact positions.
Why don’t u guys buy a used clunker and spend all of your time trying to fix that.
The Bucs O line isn’t broken, they only gave up one sack against KC which was the result of Winston’s fumble, so don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken.
Offensive lines are always and permanently a work in progress, requiring a constant flow of new players to, one hopes, develop over time to replace older players who either get injured, depart for bigger contracts, and/or retire. Most teams keep 7 or 8 offensive linemen on the roster, and bringing in at least a couple of new starters every year, from the draft, free agency, or development of UDFAs should be the permanent objective.
When teams go several seasons without refreshing the talent pool on the offensive line, particularly when combined with unusually high injury tolls as has been the case with the Bucs the last several seasons in a row, then the line gets depleted.
Cmon man. I agree with some of your posts.
Not today. After QB and DE left tackles are the most important draft pick. We have not been picking OLinemen high enough in the draft.
you sound like a jr gm. did I miss a news conference? Did licht put on his staff??
I agree Dr.D. Some fans think Donovan Smith should be Anthony Munoz as a rookie and already think he needs replaced. He was drafted to be our LT and that’s where he’ll remain unless his body type allows him to move to RT when Dotson goes. Unless a sure fire future Pro Bowl LT falls in our lap (if we once again are selecting in the top 10), we will not draft an offensive lineman early. Offensive line is a position that can be developed and that’s what I think Licht will do. I know you don’t agree, but I would not be surprised if Marpet is moved to center, or at the very lease cross-trained in the off season, if it looks like Hawley isn’t the long term answer. Naples is right about the ongoing development of the big uglies.
Gee Mark likes another FSU Player for this team what a shocker, hey Marc, stop doing the tomahawk chant when writing these articles of who the Bucs should draft believe it or not there are a lot of great collegiate players outside of Tallahassee, ever hear of a guy named Doug Martin who we just resigned last yr? Give up the Cook Dream
You mean the guy that’s played 3 games this year? It’s never going to change for Doug. He’s just injury prone. Weather it be Dalvin or another back in this great class, we need another RB. Doug will not be a Buccaneer after next year and you can book it. His contract was set up that way. As for us Noles fans being called Homers again, look at the stats, there isn’t one back that comes close to what Dalvin has in terms of TD’s yards, and just about any other stat there is. His average TD run is almost 30 yards, that’s incredible! that’s explosive and something we don’t have. I know I know, I’m just a Homer. Haha
I haven’t seen you on here much this season sir so I have to give you a little grief here.
CG- see below to Skipper.
please watch some college games other then the ACC. NONE of your guys, including Cook, were touting Elliot last year.
Of course we weren’t touting Elliot, personally I didn’t think he would succeed as wel as he has, but don’t think for a second it doesn’t the end to do with Dallas’s offensive line.
Yes but … everybody said, after he left Dallas, that Demarco Murray was simply a product of the Dallas offensive line, which most people think is about the best in the league for the last several years running.
Except that, ahem, Demarco Murray, now playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league at Tennessee, is now second in the league in rushing at 1,000 yards just 10 games into the season.
So with all due respect to good offensive lines, it still takes a good running back to generate league-topping numbers.
Actually, cg, you’re wrong about Cook compared to other running back.
As of today, Cook is only the 6th best running back in terms of total yards … he doesn’t even make the top 40 in rushing yards per attempt … and Cook is only 6th in TDs this season.
Cook is a very good running back, but far from the best at his position … and the point of some of the commenters here is that whoever is the FSU star at the moment always gets excessive attention and praise from Mark Cook and the other Nole homers on Bucs fan sites (not just this one). Whether it was quarterback or running back or wide receiver or whatever. It’s not a sin to be a FSU homer, but the non-Nole homers would just like to see some recognition that there’s a couple hundred college football programs that are NOT the FSU Seminoles and deserve consideration and attention and space too.
Wel for one Naples look at power 5 running backs. I’m not counting small school guys. You’re top 5 guys are from SDSU, BSU, WYO, and utep, real tough competition those guys are playing.
2 cook has played. Behind a garbage offensive line and anyone who watched fsu game can tell you that.
3. He’s 4th in tds so not sure what stats you’re looking at. And the only guys ahead of him are those guys listed above playing little sisters of the poor every week.
So instead of being defensive actually look who they play for and the competition, not just the stats.
And don’t worry we were all called homers when we drafted Jameis as well and that worked out. As for other players I see mark put tons of other players on here for us to look at, but you can’t mention noles without the anti fsu fans getting their panties in a bunch.
The number two rusher in the NFL last year, a first round draft pick, was from a small school – Boise State, to be exact.
Size of school does not make the player. The player makes the player.
Besides Warrick Dunn how many ex FSU RB’s have done well in the NFL? Sammie Smith, James Wilder jr, Amp Lee? haha just kidding glad we can poke fun at each other instead of giving personal attacks. BTW Hows that shot gun, can’t take a snap from center Mariotta doing over in Tenn? You have to admit you might be eating crow on that one
Oh damn I forgot about Freeman from Atlanta, ok they have two rb’s from FSu haha
So if I like a player from FSU, I am a homer. What about Walter Football? Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Height: 6-0. Weight: 203.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2017): Top-25 Pick.
11/5/16: In 2016, Cook has averaged 6.0 yards per carry for 1,069 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also has 23 receptions for 371 yards. Cook has suffered some weird fumbles and ball-security issues that he needs to fix – see his fumble versus Ole Miss. He has showed his tremendous speed, vision, cutting ability, and balance. Cook isn’t the biggest of backs, but he has functional power to charge through some tackles from linebackers.
9/3/16: The Seminoles had a drop-off in 2015 after losing Jameis Winston and a lot of other talented players to the NFL, but Cook was so good on his own, he carried Florida State to a 10-win season. On the year, Cook averaged 7.4 yards per carry for 1,691 yards with 19 touchdowns. He had 24 receptions for 244 yards and a score as well.
Cook somewhat reminds me of Marshall Faulk with his speed, athleticism and versatility. As a runner, Cook is impossible not to like. He is fast to hit the hole and has serious acceleration to the second level of the defense. When Cook breaks into the open field, he has shear speed to run away from a lot of defensive backs and is a threat to take the ball to the house on long touchdown runs. Cook also has excellent body lean, pad level, vision to weave through defenders, balance, and patience. He is elusive in the open field and slashes through defenses.
While Cook isn’t the biggest of backs, he is put together well with a thick lower body. That allows him to keep his balance after contact is made and pick up more yards. Cook also shows some natural receiving skills. He has soft hands and is an athletic route-runner. He looks like a future three-down starter in the NFL.
Read more at https://walterfootball.com/draft2017RB.php#A0eEBb2d78VqTLF9.99
And CBS Sports?
Cook is a natural runner who varies his burst to and through the hole. When the hole is where he expects it, Cook shows the explosiveness to dash through it and get to the second level.
Some of Cook’s prettiest runs, however, come on plays in which he is forced to bounce the ball outside. He has excellent vision and lateral agility, helping him side-step oncoming defenders and squirt through cutback lanes. He is difficult to tackle in the open field, using a variety of shoulder dips and changes of speed to get defenders leaning.
His square-ish frame belies good breakaway speed. Among his 19 rushing touchdowns in 2015 were five runs of 50-plus yards. Four, in fact, covered at least 72 yards, including a career-high 94-yard scamper against Wake Forest which ranks as the third longest in Florida State history.
Cook is also a very effective receiver out of the backfield, showing balance and agility to make sharp cuts as a route-runner and soft hands to pluck the ball outside of his frame and quickly secure it.
I am an unashamed FSU fan, but talent is talent. Please show me where other than Jameis I have made my opinion known that the Bucs should take an FSU player. Kelvin Benjamin? Aguayo? Rashad Greene? Nick O’Leary? Eddie Goldman? Timmy Jernigan? Cam Erving?
And much of my evaluation and opinion is shaped by the NFL scouts and front office people I know and talk to. I don’t throw stuff at the wall and hope it sticks.
Mark- as i have said, I respect your opinion just believe it is VERY difficult to overcome unconsiouses biases. So, part of my concern goes back to Aquayo pick which was supported by PR while being widely panned around the league. The reason offered was this lame defense that Licht was following Patriot’s model when the Patriots NEVER drafted up to the second round to pick a kicker. The kickers mentioned were 4th round and undrafted FA’s respectively. I’m not knocking you, I know you have forgotten more about football than I will eve know. I do believe that FS, ACC and Big -12 players get too much attention at draft time and other conferences, say big 10, get little love from you guys. I can only assume that is because you guys just don’t watch the other conferences as much. I hope I didn’t offend. By the way, you made a really good defense of Cook. Happy Thanksgiving
I understand man. And if there is a subconscience bias, it is only because I have seen every game Dalvin has played in, unlike others. Same with Jameis, but to play devil’s advocate, it also gives me insight more than others too. As far as Aguayo goes, you can ask SR, we were in the media room at OBP when the pick was made and I put my head on the desk lol. I was not onboard haha. Jason made a good case to us one morning in his office, but it is still up in the air (no pun intended) Have a great Thanksgiving man!
Can you imagine Dalvin Cook as an additional weapon for Winston? Cook is the second coming of Marshall Faulk and defense’s would have to game plan against him.
No way the Bucs go with a running back that high. We will be drafting defense, WR, defense, backup qb, TE, Defense etc…
Skipper- you a Nole? I bet you are. The second coming of Marshall Faulk?? Just curious, did you think the Bucs should draft Zeke Elliot? I thought you would say no. Just an example of the great Florida homer bias on this site. Elliot is and will be a MUCH better pro than Cook. Forget this crap. I am jus going to call it was it is, you Noles are such homers you are not objective. Even Licht has bought in. NO ONE trades up into the second round to get an average at best NFL kicker. Yet the Noles on this site loved the pick. Please do all of us a favor, watch some non ACC college games.
Oh look buc nut the Ohio state homer is telling others not to be a homers. I’m sure you think Braxton killer will make a great pro qb? And stop with Elliot being a better pro than cook. He runs behind the best offensive line in football. Our cook behindbthat line and he’s doing the exact same thing. Hell Darren McFadden was doing it last year so let’s not act like Elliot is breaking the mold here.
He’s good I’m not saying he’s not but don’t even try to say he’s doing it all on his own.
And show me one person who said that pick of Roberto was a good pick. I know I never said it, but if it fits your anti nole banter then you keep sticking to your guns. I know you’re still upset jameis is playing well but hey over yourself.
Walter Football: Cook somewhat reminds me of Marshall Faulk with his speed, athleticism and versatility.
I don’t care whether Dalvin Cook is a FSU Seminole or a Washington & Jefferson College President (Roger Godell’s alma mater). Unless the player went to the University of Tampa, whose players have long since retired or died, I have no college affiliation. The kid is a good all around RB who I’d love to have. However, he’s certainly a late first round/early second round Draft pick so I don’t see Licht spending that much unless Doug Martin falters these last 6 games.
Doug, Quiz and Simms are more than capable of handling the RB duties next year. To those mentioning Dallas I guess you forget that Dallas didnt have a Pro Bowl RB already in house that they just paid money to extend. Simms apparently jumped into some fans doghouse bc he isnt an every down back but newsflash he wasnt drafted to be an every down back. He is however damn good on 3rd downs as I still remember several of his long catch and runs scoring or setting up scores. Quiz is capable of playing early downs and 3rd so he can provide insurance to both and spell both hopefully keeping all 3 healthy. That said Fournette is the only RB I would consider bc the kid averages 7 yards a carry in the best conference in football on a team that has never been able to pass the football, thats special. Unless we are getting that type of talent I say address the trenches, a ballhawk in the secondary(CB or safety) and some sub 4.4 speed at WR.
Heavily disagree with you on fournette, he’ll be Trent Richardson when he goes pro.
As for conference like the sec cmon, outside of bama , it’s completely overrated. As for all pro runningback, you must be one of those wishful thinkers who actually think Doug can make it a full year, which I highly doubt.
The shear mention of an fsu player is getting people all riled up in this room, calm down people.
And for the record when fournette does play a good defense like bama, he’s averaging about 40 yards a game.
Fournette Played against Wisconsin did he not? I think SEc as a whole has the best defenses in country so to do well in the SEC is impressive, I know they have Richardson and some others that failed in the SEC but more of them do well than not. Dalvin Cook is a great rb that’s not my point my point is we have Doug Martin, when healthy he is a top notch rb and to say he is injury prone show me a rb who have played consecutive seasons without injury? Not many
@cgmaster27 Im not a wishful thinker that thinks Doug can carry the full load and stay healthy every year. I do however think that Jacquizz has shown he can take some carries off his plate and the offense wont miss a beat. That should be able to keep him healthy if not then the real problem is why we paid all this money for a guy that cant hold up with limited 3rd down duties and splitting 1st and 2nd down work 70/30. I am a Gators fan but could careless where the talent comes from as I was all on board for us taking Jameis. Fournette is in my opinion better to say he hasnt performed against good defense would be negating the 138 yards he had against Wisconsin this year, 101 vs Auburn this year, 284 vs Ole Miss this year, 228 vs Auburn last year, 180 vs Florida and so on and so forth. Looking at the Alabama games as a sole reason for him being overrated means ur overlooking the fact that in the game last year his QB only completed 6 passes and this year they didnt even pass for 100 yards as a team. Saban is too smart to let Fournette beat him and with no threat(as the stats show) at QB they loaded the box and did what others team couldnt, which is slow down the beast despite everybody knowing hes getting the ball. Personally I think Fournette is more explosive than Trent ever was but thats something he has to prove on Sundays. Either way I dont think we should be looking at RB first round but Leonard would be my pick if they went that route. I’ll have to agree to disagree on this one my friend.
so I will repeat what i have said before. This site has lots of good info. Scott and Mark are VERY smart guys. The problem is they, like all of us, have built in biasses. SR a Big 12 guy, sends his ringing endorsement of the Josh Freeman pick and MC his FSU fascination. They are great guys, just NOT objective. The same goes for some on this site. The fact that we are even discussing Cook as an early pick proves my point. This team has NO need for a slightly above average RB, yet is seriously discussed as an option here. Come on guys, let’s be real about this team!
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