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 1. WarrenFB12 asks, What has happened to Jameis Winston “the winner” and the guy that could close out games?
A. Great question. And one Scott Reynolds and I asked each other following the game on Sunday. As an FSU fan it was something that I always loved about him. No matter the situation in college, nothing seemed insurmountable to those who followed the team, or even to Winston himself. The end of the Rams game, and Sunday’s game with the Raiders, were the situations that Winston seemed to thrive on. But for whatever reason things haven’t went well for Winston as a fourth quarter magician. Perhaps he has gotten a touch gun shy after the rash of turnovers earlier this year. Jameis is missing on throws as if he is aiming the ball or erring on the side of caution. My hope is Winston comes out Thursday night with that gunslinger mentality and just does what he does. If that means a couple interceptions, so be it. Winston isn’t the type of quarterback that will thrive when the reigns are put on him, either by a coaching staff or himself. Grip it and rip it as they say.
Question 2. Mr. Parra, With so many needs, what do we do with our first pick this year? WR, S, DE, OL, RB, dare I say Def. Coor…?
A. I don’t think there is any way Mike Smith isn’t here next season, unless he chooses to leave, or unless the defense plays the last nine games like they did last Sunday. I really believe it will come down to wide receiver or a safety. Of course a lot will depend on how the Bucs have the first round rated. But wherever they pick, if they have a receiver rated virtually the same as another position, I am guessing they go receiver. This team knows they need to add speed and playmakers, especially at receiver. However if it pans out that receiver is a deep position in the draft, they could decide to pass in the first round.
Question 3. Jared F wants to know, what’s Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers’ status, and if both out who will start?
A. It would take a miracle for either of them to see the field this week, especially Rodgers. I saw him today in open locker room and while he couldn’t talk to the media (injured players are essentially off limits) he had a plastic boot/brace thing on today and moving gingerly. I asked someone today also if Martin had a chance to play today and they looked at me like I had a third eyeball. So it doesn’t appear promising. My guess would be Antone Smith getting the start and Mike James, who will be back with the team tomorrow, getting some reps as well. Peyton Barber will also fill in some as well.
Question 4. TampaBBR asks, with the awful play of McDougald and Conte why isn’t Ryan Smith getting a chance to play and why not try Banks at S?
A. Smith just isn’t ready apparently. I am not saying he is too far off, but everyone we talked to said his lack of participation in the offseason due to injury, along with him coming from a smaller school has slowed things down a little for him. But the plan wasn’t for him to see action this year anyway. Remember he was finished his college career at cornerback and is back to learning the safety position. As far as Conte, yes there are some bad plays on tape, but to his defense, John Lynch, Mark Cotney or Ronde Barber when was a safety, wouldn’t have stopped Amari Cooper from scoring that touchdown on Sunday in my opinion. Few safeties in the league could cover Cooper one-on-one in that situation, and do a whole lot better. Conte has been a solid run stopper this year in my opinion, but his forte is definitely not covering speedy wide receivers in man coverage.
As far as Banks goes, the staff obviously didn’t feel like he could make the transition to safety or else they would have attempted it as opposed to giving him his outright release.
Question 5. CharlieSwan16 wants to know, could/should Bucs look at adding a piece like Joe Haden from Browns?
A. I suppose the Bucs could look at the possibility of trading for Haden, and he is most certainly on the trading block, but he isn’t the same cornerback he was early in his career. Plus he hasn’t been able to stay healthy over the last two seasons. The Browns would probably take a lower round pick for the former Gator, but this team is content to let Vernon Hargreaves suffer some growing pains this season, and they certainly won’t sit Brent Grimes with the money that have invested in him. nor do either really deserve to be benched. Sure they both had some struggles on Sunday, but I put a lot of that on a lack of a pass rush. It will be interesting to see if the Bucs make a move before tomorrow’s 4 p.m. trade deadline.