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.

Q. Warrenfb12 said: Donavan Smith got absolutely worked by Adrian Clayborn last week. So, do the Bucs have trouble brewing at left tackle?

A. I don’t think there is necessarily trouble brewing, but Smith has struggled more at times than I expected him to going into his second season, particularly in pass protection. While Jameis Winston has had his ups and downs this season, I would love to see what he could accomplish if he had a clean pocket like Derek Carr did in the Raiders game.

While Smith has been inconsistent at times, Demar Dotson on the right side has been just as inconsistent, if not more, not to mention leading the team in penalties. There are more pressing needs for the Bucs going into next offseason, and left tackles that perform at a Pro Bowl level tend to be first rounders. The Bucs won’t have the luxury of taking a tackle with a Top 15 pick with all the other needs that will need to be addressed next draft in my opinion, so most likely it will be Smith going forward in 2017.

Q. DonkeyHunter asks: At what point does Licht start to feel some heat? The Aguayo pick should’ve been enough to get anyone fired. But, couple that with the overall FA signings under his watch, and it doesn’t appear to help his case. Do you think there’s a chance he’s shown the door, or do you think Mike Smith will be the scapegoat this year?

A. No, I don’t think Licht is close to being shown the door. I know the Aguayo pick was and still is an unpopular selection, but there is no guarantee whoever they used instead would have panned out. The Bucs success rate with second round picks hasn’t exactly been stellar. Plus eight games is way too early to determine if the pick turns out to be a good one or a bad one. I think undrafted free agent finds like Cameron Brate, Adam Humphries negate some of the misses. I think the Kevin Pamphile, Kwon Alexander and Ali Marpet picks outweigh the Austin Seferian-Jenkins pick or the Anthony Collins signing. And can we even question the Mike Evans pick?

Free agency is a crap shoot and there is a reason a player is a free agent. If teams wants to keep their top players, they always seem to find a way. That isn’t to say some recent free agents couldn’t be helping the team this season. But winning free agency doesn’t equate to hoisting the Lombardi.

And ultimately a general manager’s fate will be tied to the quarterback they draft, particularly with the No. 1 overall pick. Winston still has some skeptics but he is far from being labeled a bust by anyone.

As far as Smith, these next eight games will determine a lot moving forward, but if I had to speculate, Smith is back again next season.

Q. TampaBBR asks: Do you think the Bucs would consider moving on from Martin? He’s a great RB but we just paid him a lot of money to get hurt again.

A. C’mon man, haha! No the Bucs aren’t moving on from Martin. Injuries happen to the best of them sometimes. How can you blame Martin? Now if he were a run of the mill running back who was of average ability and he was high priced, then yes. But you can’t give up on a player that was the second best rusher in the league a year ago because of a hamstring injury. I know Martin well enough to know, that no one is more frustrated than he is. He takes a lot of pride in his toughness and not being on the field right now is driving him crazy.

Q. ShugSmith wants to know: What do you see the Bucs doing different with David, and do you think Smith is putting the players in the right position?

A. It is really difficult to determine if David’s issues are scheme or his inability to fully grasp the nuances and concepts. He isn’t hurt. And he didn’t forget how to play football. Those are two things we know. But there is no question he doesn’t look nearly as comfortable this season as in year’s past. If I had to guess, I would tend to go with him just not playing as confidently as he would like based on the scheme. I think he gets there this season at some point, and the light bulb will come on. The Bucs certainly could use a playmaker like Lavonte over the last eight games. He has shown flashes at times, but not the consistency the defense needs.

Q. Chris asks: Who would start for Kevin Pamphile if he can’t play Sunday?

A. That all depends on if Joe Hawley can play. If Hawley can play and Pamphile can’t then you will see Evan Smith slide to guard most likely. If Hawley is out then Smith goes to center and then it could be Caleb Benenoch who would see action at guard. And there is a small chance the team could activate Josh Allen from the practice squad. Something tells me Hawley plays, and Smith starts at guard for Pamphile.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

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, the beach and family time.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 [email protected]
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Bucnut2
Bucnut2
5 years ago

MC- who can question the Mike Evans pick? Me and PR. Carr was there and I would take a franchise QB over the best wideout in the NFL.

Matthew
Matthew
Reply to  Bucnut2
5 years ago

a franchise QB needs weapons to throw too and Mike Evans looks to be one of the best plus we got our franchise QB a year later in Jameis, it all worked out

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
Reply to  Matthew
5 years ago

I would argue Winston does not look like a franchise QB. At this point he is a border line bust. Franchise QB’s do not miss open receivers as much as Winston does. His accuracy issues mean he likely be nothing more than an average NFL QB

jp414
jp414
Reply to  Bucnut2
5 years ago

[Winston completion percentage over his 1st 2 years (so far) is 58.6%.]

So, you mean he’s a bust like Phil Simms (55% career completion rate), Eli Manning (58%), Terry Bradshaw (52%), John Elway (57%), Troy Aikman (1st 2 yrs, 54.8%, last 4 yrs, 58.7%) or ‘Broadway’ Joe Namath (50.1%)? Great, HOF QBs have missed open receivers plenty of times in their careers. None of them could win by themselves. You can’t possibly call Winston a borderline bust before he’s even finished 2 seasons.
Man, I would hate to work for you, Bucnut2!

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
Reply to  jp414
5 years ago

Yeah I can call him a borderline bust because he is. He has regressed big time. His accuracy is a big concern and his judgement is terrible

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  Bucnut2
5 years ago

I love how you use Carr as an example, but ignore his ups and downs his first two years in the league. Raider fans griped about Carr’s consistency last year. Saw lots of their fans call him a bust and not the answer or a franchise QB. Now Carr is in the MVP discussion. Helps that his GM surrounded him with weapons and a stout OL. In fact, Winston and Carr’s numbers are almost identical at this point in their careers. So pipe down. You didn’t want Winston in Tampa. You will never want Winston in Tampa, so your complaining… Read more »

Matthew
Matthew
Reply to  RootsCrew
5 years ago

yes exactly some of these “fans” will never accept Winston no matter how good he gets, how can you expect a 2nd year QB to succeed with only Mike Evans and no speed at WR, no consistent running game and Donovan Smith at LT

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  RootsCrew
5 years ago

Can’t like this comment enough, he’s still pissed we didn’t get Mariota, who fumbled the Titans game away last week.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  RootsCrew
5 years ago

Roots what we’ve seen with Carr may end up being what we’ll see with Jameis. Carr has made steady progress in his performance from rookie year to second year to now this very successful and impressive third year as a pro. Jameis has not really progressed much yet from his rookie season, but we’re also only halfway into his second season. Far too early to be making any long term judgments on Jameis. Quite a few of the star QBs today took anywhere from 4 to 6 to even 8 years to mature and reach their true upside. Carr was… Read more »

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
Reply to  RootsCrew
5 years ago

I want TAMPA to succeed. There is just NO evidence that Winston is the answer. Please stop complaint about weapons. Winston misses wide open receivers. More people getting MORE open won’t help. HE is just NOT an accurate passer.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Bucnut2
5 years ago

Good to see Bucnut log in with his golden nugget of stupidity for the day. Jameis is top 5 in the NFL in Td’s right now and top 10 in yards. He has two turn-style offensive lineman, WHICH CARR DOESN’T HAVE. No running back and only Mike Evans to throw to. We get it, you don’t like Jameis. Either pick another team, because he’s not going anywhere, or actually watch the game for a change and not focus on the long balls he doesn’t connect on. Some people are just dense.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  Bucnut2
5 years ago

Winston looks like a second year player who has plenty of time and opportunity to develop into a long time franchise quarterback (whatever the hell that term means … it means many different things to many different people … I prefer to use instead the term “elite quarterback”, which is pretty easily defined as being in the top handful of quarterbacks in the league). Winston isn’t there yet, and likely we won’t know if he will get there until a couple more years from now. Maybe he’ll get there as his devoted fans insist he will, and maybe he won’t… Read more »

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  Naplesfan
5 years ago

I’m responding to your other comment about Carr. I think Jameis is playing better than he did his rookie year. Not by a lot, but a some. I only say that because his offense has crumbled around him. It’s difficult to make a jump, when your OC can’t call games to put you in the best spots to succeed and your personnel is lacking. By no means do I think Jameis hasn’t had two stinkers this year and needs to play better in spots. But, I think he’s progressed a bit, given what Dirk & he have had to work… Read more »

htownbucfan03
htownbucfan03
5 years ago

Sorry but we should have just franchised Doug or drafted another back injuries happen but when ur hurt three of ur 5 years it’s like the old saying goes the best ability is availability and lil Doug is not available alot 3 of 5 years is pattern next year he will b hurt again and in 2018 he will b ready to go

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

I would not promote Josh Allen take the chance on Gottschalk .

jme0151
jme0151
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

I was thinking the same thing horse.

Matthew
Matthew
Reply to  jme0151
5 years ago

we are all in agreement

surferdudes
5 years ago

I have a question, when do we start playing guys who might have a future with the Bucs instead of the Contes, and Smiths who don’t? We hear about guys like Elliot DB behind the scenes who they like, shouldn’t he get some snaps from Grimes? I get it, the Bucs are trying to win games like I’m trying to win the lottery, what are the chances? Time we play for next year, this season is over, doesn’t mean it needs to be lost. I’d rather see anyone but Conte, and Daryl Smith get beat again. I’d like to see… Read more »

Brobear
Brobear
Reply to  surferdudes
5 years ago

The coaches play the best players on the team at the time of a game. Anyone of the young guys you might be thinking of are not as good as conte or smith. period. No matter how bad you think Conte is, he is better than the other options. Just like Grimes and Smith. The chances of the Bucs winning are SIGNIFICANTLY higher with the veteran guys. As far as benching Donovan or DDot thats also a pretty ridiculous suggestion. Assuming the younger guys will be good because the veterans are struggling is ass backwards logic

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

Comical, absolutely comical.

martinii
martinii
5 years ago

Just a few questions. I agree with surferdudes, what’s it hurt to look at some other players, season is pretty much toast at this point. But I simply hate the “play for a draft pick” mentality. Every year I find myself focusing on College football and who might satisfy our needs. That is just a dam tragedy! The whole idea is to win, to change a losing culture, mindset, attitude. Or should we shoot for .500 this season, maybe beat the bears, the Saints twice, and Carolina. Maybe we should focus on winning our first home game this year and… Read more »

jp414
jp414
5 years ago

Mark, just a quick question…do you pick the questions to answer in Bucs Mailbag each week based on a system, or are they picked at random? Were there no more incisive questions than these to answer? I get it that many fans are frustrated with the mediocrity the team has demonstrated on the field since game 13 of 2008, but give me a break! Do these fans think the NFL is some kind of TV ‘reality’ show? That the Glazers just need to borrow a spell from the Harry Potter universe and suddenly the Bucs will start winning?

jp414
jp414
Reply to  Mark Cook
5 years ago

OK, thanks. I guess this serves as a reminder to all of us out here to post more questions and give Mark more material to work with.

bucballer
bucballer
5 years ago

Boarderline bust??? Hey Bucnut, can u share some of that stuff ur smoking with the rest of us?! Jamesis is a 22 year old QB who would be a senior in college had he stayed in school. Does he make mistakes… of course he does! What 2nd year QB doesn’t. I think Jamesis thinks he has to win the game on every down. No supporting cast around him outside of Evans. Jamesis is not the problem. If our Defense could stop somebody… anybody, we could have won a couple of more games! Jamesis is/will continue to be our franchise QB… Read more »

Matthew
Matthew
Reply to  bucballer
5 years ago

couldn’t agree more we have seen plenty of flashes of greatness from Winston so far any Bucs fan who has already turned on him isn’t a true fan remember what Winston looked like week 1 vs Atlanta with a full strength team

bucballer
bucballer
5 years ago

Really thought we would see better results from Hargreeves and Spence! At one time, early on, Spence was considered to be the #1 talent in draft. We have to do a better job of talent evaluation. No pass rush! It’s that simple. Rush the QB and see our defense improve! Go BUCS!

WiltheBrewer
WiltheBrewer
Reply to  bucballer
5 years ago

bucballer,i agree w/ being underwhelmed w/ Spence- but he’s been picking it up as of late, and hasn’t he been playing w/a shoulder injury?

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  bucballer
5 years ago

Noah Spence is doing quite well for a rookie DE … second in sacks on the team at 3.0, and he seems to be learning more each week and progressing, going from a rookie backup to a starter in less than half a season. People who expect great pass rushing DEs to get outfitted for their yellow jackets as a rookie have very unrealistic expectations. For examples from current (2016) DE sack leaders: Cliff Avril (Seahawks), the leading DE in sacks with 9.0, in his rookie season with the Lions he got 5.0 Kerry Hyder (Lions), tied for second leading… Read more »

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
5 years ago

The reason the Aguayo pick was so egregious is because every Tom, Dick and Harry knew we had holes to fill all over the team. DT, S, WR, OL, DE, CB all needed major upgrades, or at minimum quality depth added. So yeah, while there is no guarantee those two players would have panned out, but I’d be more okay with trying to fill two areas of need, than using a luxury pick on a K we didn’t need. Simply maddening. Imagine how much better we’d be set up for this offseason if we had added DT & WR? or… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  RootsCrew
5 years ago

He had an All Pro Guard playing next to him who could help him and also the Center. There is a reason why the Falcons let Hawley and Evan Smith go. I would like to see Gottschalk get a shot of playing Center. I like what I saw in pre season. I already know Josh Allen caliber of play from two years and three years ago and he hasn’t gotten any better. As far as I’m concerned he is a wasted spot on the PS. Sure could use some more WR’s, Safteies, OT, DB’s, TE’s on the Practice Squad.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

I’d like to see Marpet moved to C, and Sweezy (I know) plugged in at his natural RG spot. Marpet is nasty and won’t get pushed around as much as Hawley. I like Hawley’s toughness, but we need an upgrade this offseason. I’m not against Gottschalk getting burn. Allen can leave. Caleb will hopefully pan out and from what I’ve read, he’s coming along nicely. We need to anchor the RT spot this offseason. It’s a must. Dot has allowed so much pressure in Winston’s face this season.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  RootsCrew
5 years ago

Aguayo is not yet a bust as an NFL kicker. But he may well end up a bust if he doesn’t start making virtually all of his extra points and at least 85% of his field goals and more than 50% of his long FGs (>45 yards) by the end of this season. However, in line with your reason, Aguayo already IS a bust as a second round draft pick kicker. You don’t draft kickers in the top two rounds unless you are a team that is already well stocked at most other key positions AND you are extremely confident… Read more »

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  Naplesfan
5 years ago

I don’t think Berto is a bust…yet. His 2nd round position will be tough for him to ever live up to. As you said, he’ll need to be 90% for multiple years. Which, is very difficult. I want him to succeed. We need him to succeed. But, I saw him decline at FSU for 2 straight years, so I’m not overly surprised he’s struggling. I have faith in Licht. He’s hit on some good draft picks & FA pickups. 2015 was a home run. But, I do think he greatly overestimated the talent and depth on his roster this offseason.… Read more »

Amo
Amo
5 years ago

I agree with you Horse on Gottschalk. At some point we have to address the center and LT positions. We should consider kicking Smith to the right side and invest in a first round protector for our franchise quarterback. I say this because my first choice of trading Martin and drafting Cook from FSU will not happen.

Keith F
Keith F
5 years ago

Thank goodness we had some objective Buc fans here. For those who think Winston is a bust, I guess you don’t remember the days of Dilfer, Thompson, Chandler, Testaverde, etc…, he’s by far the best QB we’ve ever had! Like another user said, Winston rarely has a clean pocket. I watched Carr against Denver and he had a clean pocket most of the time against them too. I’m thankful we have Winston, he’s tough, smart, a natural born leader, and he’s only going to get better. My son played baseball at FSU and he loved Winston, what you see is… Read more »

Brandonges
Brandonges
5 years ago

Oh Mark I normally agree with you, but you’re absolutely losing it with the first question. Smith has been an absolute turnstile at LT. he is by far the worst starter on the team. If Tampa didn’t start a LT, it would have provided as much resistance as Smith. LT is absolutlely the top need if Tampa picks high enough To get a good one in the first round. They are in tough shape along the line and LT is the top need

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
5 years ago

With respect to Jason Licht’s performance in drafting quality players vs. “busts”, a lot of fans have highly lofty and unreasonable expectations of what constitutes “success” in drafting. Would most NFL fans agree that Bill Belichick, operating as both Head Coach and GM,is considered to be just about the best in the league at acquiring talent? If for no other reason that his ability to win Super Bowls and get his team to the playoffs, that would have to be a reasonable conclusion. Well, I did an analysis of Belichick’s draft picks over the last 10 seasons (so no selective… Read more »