PewterReport.com began a new offseason feature this year, giving readers an opportunity to get their questions answered by the PR staff. Today, Mark Cook 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. Jeffrey Westberry asks, do you think Mike Smith’s defense can get Lavonte David back to 2012 form? And what was your honest opinion on Lovie Smith’s defense?
Answer: I believe so. And lets be honest, his 2014 and 2015 wasn’t bad by most standards. But there is no question Schiano and Bill Sheridan really set things up and designed the defense to make David the focus, and it showed by his splash plays that season. Davis is primed to have a Derrick Brooks-like impact year in my opinion. I’ve never seen him as confident as I have so far this offseason. Really the whole defense appears to ready for the season to start yesterday if you know what I mean. I’m not knocking Lovie Smith, but to me, and this is just my opinion, but it looks like the players are almost relieved somewhat if that makes any sense. I feel like they all played hesitant last year, scared of making mistakes. And we know that was the case in the secondary for sure. Everyone on the team respected Smith (well maybe not Sterling Moore) and I did, as a man. I just don’t believe he built his defense around the players, instead forced them to try and fit into the scheme.
Question 2. Tyson Mansfield asks, do we lock up William Gholston early since he’s in a contract year, and a system that he will flourish in?
Answer: I think it is way too early to determine that. Gholston is had elite size and strength, and maybe talent, but for whatever reason he hasn’t quite put it all together. Will this year be the year he does it? No question the organization hopes so, and have proven they have no problem rewarding players who do it, even in a contract year, as evidenced by the Martin deal this offseason. I suppose if his agent came to the team with a reasonable offer that could lock him up at a fair salary for both sides the Bucs might consider it, but they won’t pay any exorbitant salary right now. You can’t pay a player based on hoping he finally puts it all together.
Question 3. Justin Haas asks, if Sweezy isn’t the guy by mid-season Bucs and see Kevin Pamphile as better, do you think there would be a possible trade?
Answer: Well I guess that isn’t out of the question. The problem is, if Sweezy struggles to the point Pamphile replaces him, would there even be any trade value? But I don’t think it comes to that. Sweezy had a number of suitors during free agency including his own team, the Seahawks. The fact that they wanted him back tells me he is the real deal. Of course, some would say if he was that good Seattle would have locked him up before free agency. Who knows? I do know that Jason Licht is extremely excited about adding Sweezy to this offensive line. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Question 4. Dan McLeod asks, we know its early but In your opinion who is leading for the WR #3 spot?
Answer: You answered your own question! It is way too early. But based on what I have seen in OTAs, Humphries and Bell are in a battle for that spot. They have both been on the field with the first team so far this offseason. But as a member of the organization pointed out to me, don’t forget about Louis Murphy in the race. If he comes back healthy, then he has as a good a chance as anyone. It will be a fun battle to watch in camp, one I look forward to seeing. Whoever it is, will be better because of the others pushing them.
Question 5. David asks, what does Smith have to do to get value from the group of corners he will have this year?
Answer: I am not sure exactly what you mean. If you are talking production, I think just having them feel comfortable in the system will go a long way. Of course this team has really upgraded the talent in my opinion. Even as a Florida State fan, I can appreciate Vernon Hargreaves and the talent he should bring to this team whether it be as the nickel corner or starter opposite of Brent Grimes, who was a great addition. Add is Josh Robinson, and returners in Alterraun Verner and Johnathan Banks and you have a very solid secondary. Plus I am excited about the new coaches as well. John Hoke is an old school, get-on-their-rear type of coach. He doesn’t smile or backslap. He is kind of an old school throwback coach. And coach Maxie is an upgrade to the staff as well. Add in Mike Smith calling the defense, and I believe the secondary will be the most improved unit on the team.