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.