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.
Note: The Mailbag is a day late, in order to get the results and questions regarding the outcome of the Monday night win over the Panthers.
Question 1. Dylan Todd wants to know, is Winston’s regressing a product of Koetter not being as hands on as last year? And chances what we are seeing with bad throws and hero ball is the real Jameis Winston?
Answer: I am not sure I agree with a regression. Last season at this time Winston had the league’s second-leading rusher behind him, along with very productive third down back in Doug Martin and Charles Sims. In the one game this season he had both of those players, Winston was the NFL Player of the Week. Since then he has had his ups and downs, but the bottom line, without an effective running game, combined with a lack of explosive wide receivers, Winston is somewhat handicapped. Now that doesn’t necessarily give him a free pass on all aspects of his game, such as turnovers and inaccurate throws, but it certainly plays into him not being at his best.
As far as bad throws, Winston does have to improve his accuracy, and that is something Koetter has stated before. Earlier today I heard an interview with Trent Dilfer who said while Winston can be more accurate, he is being asked to make “big boy” throws that some coaches don’t ask their quarterbacks to make to make on the same regularity Koetter does. I asked Koetter today if some of Winston’s misses are acceptable misses.
“Sure, absolutely,” Koetter said. “We’re always talking to Jameis about, ‘Here’s your miss spot.’ I mean, if you’re going to miss this route, miss it outside. If you are going to miss this route, miss it over the top. If you’re going to miss this route, put it in the dirt. So, yeah there are acceptable misses, absolutely. And that’s something that all quarterbacks have to learn because you can’t just stand back there and, ‘Oh my gosh, no one’s open, I’m going to hold it and take a sack.’ I mean, the ball has to come out and sometimes the miss is as good as – it’s the second best thing that can happen except a completion. Now, Jameis had some misses that were in good spots last night. Obviously, we didn’t turn it over and that’s the good news.”
As far as “hero ball” I would rather have an end of game QB who isn’t afraid of the spotlight or magnitude of the situation, than one who crumbles under pressure. Winston proved his ability to lead his team from behind on numerous occasions in college, and did the same thing on Monday night for the Bucs.
Question 2. BucFanFromATL asks, what are your thoughts on our 1st round pick Vernon Hargreaves and his progression so far this season? I predicted Hargreaves would finish his rookie campaign with similar numbers as Tyrann Mathieu did his rookie year (since they are similar in abilities, though I think VHIII is more athletic)… Does that prediction (68 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 2 ints) seem plausible?
Answer: I think if he stays healthy those numbers look very attainable as a rookie. I believe we started to see last night some of the things that made Hargreaves attractive to the Buccaneers. He is primarily playing outside now, and his confidence appears to be growing. Koetter said last week he told Hargreaves he wanted him more aggressive and to play with more confidence. He did that against the Panthers on Monday night. If that confidence continues to grow then he will have a good chance of meeting or even succeeding your prediction.
Question 3. EasytheGreat wants to know, where in the hell is J.R. Sweezy? And when he comes back (if he does) will he be the starting LG over Pamphile?
Answer: In all honesty at times I have forgotten he is even a Buccaneer. We haven’t spotted him at One Buc in a while and the team has provided no answers or timetable for his return. As far as when he returns, he will certainly have an opportunity to work his way into the lineup, but so far Pamphile is grading out well for the Buccaneers and the organization has been satisfied with his overall play. I think the best case scenario would be that he gets completely healthy and count this season as a redshirt year. Of course the Bucs accountant who deposits his check each month knows that technically isn’t the case. So far Sweezy is just another bad luck free agent in the same mold of Carl Nicks and others who for whatever reason, haven’t worked out as of yet. But that is just all speculation on my part at this point. We will try and get some answers when the team returns from the bye week next week.
Question 4. Alldaway asks, is Vincent Jackson a lock to finish the season as a starter?
Answer: I would have to say no. Other than a handful of players, like Winston and McCoy, no player is a lock to finish as a starter. The Bucs are hoping that Louis Murphy can provide some juice upon his return which could happen as soon as the San Francisco game in two weeks. That isn’t to say he would unseat Jackson, but the Bucs know they need a little better production opposite Mike Evans. I did see some more fire out of Jackson on Monday night, and while he wasn’t the second coming of Randy Moss, Jackson did play better than maybe some of the previous games this season.
Question 5. Chris asks, what was your thoughts on the way the defense played against Panthers, given the injuries on the defensive line?
Answer: I thought it was a gutsy effort. That is kind of like describing a someone as “cute” as opposed to beautiful, but I think you get what I am saying. I was extremely concerned coming into the game, and if you asked the staff privately, they would probably have said the same thing. It wasn’t a masterpiece as evidenced by the lack of a sack, tackle for loss or even a quarterback hit, but for the most part that did their part, and played their role as well as could be expected. McCoy, Clinton McDonald and Robert Ayers can’t get back soon enough, however. The good news is, it allowed some these players some quality playing time that will only benefit them down the road when called upon again if need be. You can practice all you want, but there is no substitue for live game action.