PewterReport.com began a new offseason feature this year, giving readers an opportunity to get their questions answered by the PR staff. Today, Zach Shapiro answers five questions taken from Twitter submissions using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Each week, one of the questions used will earn the person who asked it one of our new Tampa Bay schedule refrigerator magnet.
Question 1. Rob Pickett asks, out of the draft picks who could be starters or have significant playing time, who could possibly struggle in Year 1?
Answer: Well it’s safe to assume that any rookie who starts or sees significant playing time will go through growing pains, some worse than others. At this point it seems Hargreaves and Spence will be Day 1 starters, and because they play two of the most difficult positions to transition to from college to pro, I would expect coaches to keep a close eye on them and slowly add more to their plate as they continue to develop. Since Hargreaves has more flexibility in the defense – ability to play inside or outside with multiple coverage schemes – I expect him to ease into his role more seamlessly than Spence. Hargreaves has also spent the last three years in the SEC, so he has experience going for him. For Spence’s part, he would have to get 10 sacks or constantly be creating pressure to get credit from fans, and that just seems like a tall order in Year 1. He’s also harder to bailout, as the Bucs have three CBs outside Hargreaves who have had success in the NFL while the DE group is a bit thin. Spence will probably be lined up against the best OT all game, which is more isolated than playing nickel corner in zone coverage. Of course the bar is set highest for Aguayo. Given his collegiate background and draft position, fans will probably consider 2 misses from under 40 yards to be an underwhelming year. At the end of the day, based on what the coaches have said so far, I think all three rookies could step in and contribute right away.
Question 2. B*I*N*G asks, how has Vernon Hargreaves looked through OTAs?
Answer: Based on coaches’ praise and what we in the media have seen so far, Hargreaves has come as good as advertised. Dirk Koetter on Thursday talked about his “great quickness, tremendous explosiveness” and said his ability to play in multiple spots has been “exactly what we thought when we drafted him.” Koetter also defended his size, the most criticized trait of the former Gator, reminding reporters that he won’t grow and that there have been plenty successful 5-10 CBs in NFL history.
Hargreaves had a pick during live-ball action and Alterraun Verner said that type of playmaking is contagious in the secondary. So far, while it’s still underwear football for the most part, Hargreaves has played as well as he can during OTAs. The Bucs are energized about the potential in the secondary right now – though they’re remaining cautiously optimistic until the pads come on and you get a better idea.
Question 3. Nick Lajoie asks, with the great play and depth at corner, what chance do you think Johnthan Banks gets a try at safety?
Answer: That’s an interesting thought, Nick. It may be too early to say the Bucs have great play and depth at CB, as it’s only June, but there’s certainly a sense of confidence surrounding the 5-10 corners. That said, even if Hargreaves, Verner and Grimes can hold down the top 3 spots, you can never have too much depth at CB and Banks has shown promise in Mike Smith’s defense. We know from speaking with Banks that he’s chomping at the bit to learn the scheme and redeem a frustrating 2015 campaign.
I think the Bucs like the idea of four quality starters at CB, with ability to play six-DB personnel groupings against teams with four WR sets. Depth will also allow them to ease Verner from nickel to outside w/o pressure to play him at both spots right away.
Also, in regards to safety, the Bucs seem content so far with Conte and McDougald. And they have Ryan Smith, who Koetter immediately said after the draft would compete at safety. Banks, for his part, doesn’t have experience at safety, nor do we know if he has the skill set for the position.
It’s something to consider, but as of today, there hasn’t been any indication that Tampa Bay would move Banks to safety. My guess is that Keith Tandy rounds out the group of 4 safeties.
Question 4. Alex Del Rosario asks, is ASJ going to be reprimanded for his actions with fans last week?
Answer: I’m sure ASJ’s lashing out on twitter has been addressed with him personally by the front office and coaching staff. As for the details of any conversations they may have had, I can promise it will be asked about tomorrow but I don’t know what they’ll disclose to us. Stay tuned.
Question 5. Aye asks, what do you think the Buccaneers record will be this year?
Answer: That’s tough to answer in June, Aye. Just like for every other team, there’s plenty of optimism this time of year, but so much remains to be seen. They’ve barely even scrimmaged at this point, and even then it’s hard to tell if one side of the ball is legit or if the other side is just below average.
That said, I understand that with training camp approaching and football back in the air, so, too, comes early predictions. My June forecast is 8-8. Not bold, I know, but it’s a safe range at this point. I think Jameis Winston takes complete command of the offense and the unit as a whole shows noticeable improvement in Year 2, but I also think the defense will have its rough moments. The Bucs schedule doesn’t make things any easier for them, either.
So while things could work out to perfection for the Bucs and make them a winning team – Winston becomes true franchise QB; Monken corrects Evans’ focus and the offense becomes consistent in Year 2; Spence proves he was the missing piece on the D-Line and the revamped secondary thrives in Smith’s scheme while David and Alexander pick up where they left off – there’s not enough at this point to predict a 3-game improvement, or better. Training camp and the preseason will provide a little better of an idea.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
That whole Twitter thing is the main reason athletes should stay off of it.
Two grown men passing threats back and forth is just as childish behavior as you could ever witness.
Not only on ASJ’s part, but on the part of the other individual as well who from what I read was supposed to be a grown up firefighter.
Between the two, I would much rather my children look to the position of firefighter as the role model than an overpaid football player who lives in a fantasy world most of the time.
Somebody should make these “grown men” get together, shake hands, apologize to each other and show people how real grown ups should behave once they both make a mistake.
Well stated. Sadly many football players are not the sharpest knives in the drawer despite their athletic gifts. Money and dumb are not a great combination.
Good post both of you and so TRUE!!
Great post drdneast.
The only thing that I’d add to number 5 is Koetter. There is no mention of him as a rookie NFL head coach… Does he have the it-factor to succeed?
Good post drdneast. Twitter can de a good tool to use, if used properly. But, it can deteriorate quickly, like walking into an Eagles’ home game wearing a visitor’s jersey.
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