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.

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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 [email protected]
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surferdudes
5 years ago

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.

nitey
nitey
5 years ago

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.

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

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… Read more »

chetthevette
chetthevette
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

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
GO BUCS

Horse
Horse
Reply to  Mark Cook
5 years ago

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.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

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… Read more »

chawchi9000
chawchi9000
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

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

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

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… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

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… Read more »

chetthevette
chetthevette
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

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.

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

you sound like a jr gm. did I miss a news conference? Did licht put on his staff??

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

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… Read more »

jongruden
jongruden
5 years ago

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

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
5 years ago

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… Read more »

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

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.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Bucnut2
5 years ago

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.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

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.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

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… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Naplesfan
5 years ago

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,… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

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.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

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

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  jongruden
5 years ago

Oh damn I forgot about Freeman from Atlanta, ok they have two rb’s from FSu haha

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
Reply to  Mark Cook
5 years ago

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,… Read more »

skipper
skipper
5 years ago

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.

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
5 years ago

No way the Bucs go with a running back that high. We will be drafting defense, WR, defense, backup qb, TE, Defense etc…

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
5 years ago

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… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Bucnut2
5 years ago

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.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Bucnut2
5 years ago

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.

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

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.

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
5 years ago

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… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  stlbucsfan
5 years ago

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.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

And for the record when fournette does play a good defense like bama, he’s averaging about 40 yards a game.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

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

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
5 years ago

@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… Read more »

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
5 years ago

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… Read more »