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: Ren Daxt wants to know, I’d really like to know what individual grades you’d give the offensive linemen for Sunday’s game against the Bears?
Answer: Let’s just say not good. Not good at all. It is a wonder Jameis Winston had the success he was able to have with spotty protection and virtually no help from the running game. But for the sake of your question, I will give my grades after watching the TV broadcast last night when I got home from the stadium.
Donovan Smith: D
Penalties, sloppy technique and footwork at times.
Caleb Benenoch: F
Looked like a rookie making his first start. Welcome to the NFL kid.
Ben Gottschalk: F
See Benenoch comments.
Ali Marpet: B
Easily the best lineman wearing pewter on Sunday. Not perfect, but good overall.
Demar Dotson: D
Like Smith, struggled with bad technique at times. Liked the effort, but not a vert good overall game from Dotson.
Question: SirFrancisBakon asks, Does Koetter need to make a statement to the team by cutting Cecil Shorts for gifting that INT to the Bears? Need a spot for Josh Huff.
Answer: No Koetter isn’t going to make a statement and cut Shorts. While he would be the first to say he should have caught the ball, it wasn’t the best throw by any means, and if you go back and look at it, I believe he slips as he tried to adjust to the pass. While Huff may have more upside, he is far from ready to contribute as a receiver. Koetter said the hopes for Huff is to work his way into a possible special teams contributor, but it is very hard for a receiver to stop in mid-season and contribute without having any familiarity with the offensive system.
Question: ShugSmith asks, Why don’t we have mid-season press conferences from the GM on the state of the team, or would it cause more harm?
Answer: I remember asking Scott Reynolds why we didn’t hear from Mark Dominik in season when I first started in 2011 and he said it is the Bucs protocol to have Dominik speak during the offseason, but once the season starts, the coach is the mouthpiece for the organization. That is most likely the stance from most NFL teams, although Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones are always talking. Unless there is a major player issue, a big trade or another outbreak of MRSA, don’t expect to see the Bucs put their general manager in front of the cameras during the regular season.
Embrees wants to know, why haven’t the Bucs given Josh Gordon a consideration and will they ever?
Answer: There is no question that Gordon has the talent to be one of the best receivers in the NFL, but can’t be trusted because of his substance issues. Five seasons, and four suspensions? Not many, if any teams are going to take chance on a player who has let his team down that many times. Obviously everyone wishes the best for Gordon, but bringing him into your organization would create more bad public relations than I am guessing the Bucs believe it would be worth. Unfortunately they are dealing with the Mike Evans issue that is creating a stir locally.
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
Mark, good waves before the Buc game, water still warm. What to do about our offensive tackles? Do we try Smith on the right side, and use our first rounder on a L.T.? Center needs an up grade also, your thoughts there.
Really, in the scope of world events and crisis’s, how important is it that an overpaid athlete refused to stand for a symbol of freedom.
It is only an event because a media starving for any type of story that can create a smattering bit of interest decides to make it one.
As for me and most people, he can sit, stand or lean on a post during the National Anthem. He isn’t even breaking a law.
Taking note of Surfers question, this is not a complaint but my own question and an observation.
I have endured several GM Front Offices and I have never understood why when rebuilding we never make a commitment to fix something completely. Why are we in a 10 year re-building cycle?
It seems to me that if you designate a single draft and free agency to fixing one of the O-line or D-line or secondary in three years you would have a pretty decent team. We seem to compromise – a little bit of this and a little bit of that and only a few real impact players – a continuous loop of bit players that are never great.
Just observing the last game, if Winston had just a few seconds more and didn’t have to run for his life or get a big play or first down called back because of breakdowns in protection, we would take a giant step toward having a potent offense – even with the current cast of skill positions.
I don’t know if anybody has noticed but Josh Huff is not the only one with a gun. Winston has one too. When he rears back and fires his primary weapon, it’s on the way with serious intentions – don’t know where it’s always going but it has magnum velocity behind it. Accuracy may even improve with improved protection. I see what could be!
People questioned Dallas’ draft choices when they made one O-line draft choice after another. Now it is paying dividends with a rookie cast of characters. So I say fix something and then move on and fix something else. Get out of this 10 year re-building cycle. It’s not too late! Go Bucs!
I agree mac. I remember Bill Welch (Walch?) drafting all CB’s one year. I think 3 of them made the pro bowl.
Worst part of that is this offensive tackle class is underachieving big time this college season. If Jameis had time, he can produce silly numbers. But we do need another receiver as well this year. The problem is when we go back to back positions through the draft we usually whiff.
Great point mac. That’s the reason I think the Bucs should target a legitimate WR threat early in the 2017 Draft to complete the offensive arsenal. Finish the pieces to the offensive puzzle. The O-line looked pretty bad on Sunday, but that was expected when the 3rd string center and 3rd string guard are in the game together side by side. I do think Demar Dotson’s days are numbered and am hoping a suitable replacement is already on the team.
One thing I have noticed is that Winston is starting to anticipate and throw receivers open.
There is the axiom that NFL games are won in the trench. Look at Dallas. Their offensive line was drafted with high picks. Put a back like Zeke Elliott in and he is All Universe. Except for two second round picks the Bucs have been trying to survive with left overs. The defensive line has been ignored and we are wasting GMC’s best years. The Bucs need to address both issues with high draft picks, high quality trades or free agents. Oh yea, J R Sweazy, is he a real player or a myth?
Well Mark, Koetter felt differently than you and basically stated he did okay. I would change his grade to a C. What you were seeing if you had looked at the tapes was Gottschalk staying in his zone and Benencoch not. Look I don’t know Gottschalk nor anyone in his family or whatever school he went to. All I know is he looked pretty decent in preseason and Hawley and Smith didn’t. The next 3 games will give Gottschalk a chance to perform. He might just be another Josh Allen as far as I know, but he get his shot and i hope he does good for the sake of the Bucs improving their OL. Go Bucs!
As per usual Mac, you are right on target, unfortunately as is often the case with the Buc’s, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls,”
Ouch… With those abysmal grades for the O-line against a 2-7 team, that might be a hint as to where the ’17 draft will be heading?
remember though 2 starters were hurt and the Bears actually have a good pass rush, but Donovan Smith needs to be replaced.
Donovan Smith was called for one hands to the face call.
If you had seen the replay on TV you would have grimaced as you saw his hand swipe across the face momentarily. That is no lie.
A much more apparent and grievous penalty that wasn’t called was a facemask call on Martin.
Sorry, but I give Smith a C for the game.
Also, The Gott also actually got some good praise from Kotter while Benenoch did not.
Whatever the case, with two rookie lower rung offensive lineman, I think they did the best that could be expected of them.
I’d be a little more kind to Gott and Caleb, but I can understand Mark’s grading. They weren’t great, but at least they battled and stepped up for the team. Really need Hawley & Pamp back to face that KC DL.
I’m sorry, but I can’t understand keeping Huff on the practice squad. We need SPEED on the outside and in the return game. If Huff comes in and runs go routes to keep the safety honest, maybe it opens the field up for Brate, Hump or Evans. Hell, maybe he runs down one of Winston’s deep balls. Not advocating for him to start, but 10-15 snaps a game doesn’t seem to crazy.
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