PewterReport.com began a new offseason feature recently, 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. Melissa Avent asks, with Mike Smith’s new defensive style, do you think we will finally get back to the Tampa D of 2001?
Answer: Whoa, slow down! Kidding, but setting expectations to the 2001 defense would be unfair to both the old defense and the new guys. I certainly do believe we see a more competitive defense than what we saw last season without question. But they will be two completely different defenses as well. First off, the scheme is different. The days of playing Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 as the primary base coverage are gone, although a Cover 2 defense is one of many different coverages you could see from Mike Smith’s defense. The other major difference is the talent level. And while I believe the current Bucs defense has a lot of potential, are there two Hall of Famers on it, or maybe four (Sapp, Brooks, Barber, Rice)? And truthfully you don’t need to have one of the best all-time defenses to win a Super Bowl. You could even argue that having a middle of the road defense with an excellent offense gives you a better shot at winning it all than the other way around. This year I would settle for a competitive defense, ranked in the Top 15. If the offense can equal last season’s stats, but score more points and Winston shows growth, I don’t see why this team can’t flirt with the playoffs late into the season and maybe sneak in.
Question 2. BucGatorBolt asks, do you see any situation that Glennon is still traded?
Answer: As of now, not really. Unless a playoff caliber team loses their starter in the preseason, or before the trade deadline, I think Glennon is on the roster throughout the year, and the Bucs lose him as an unrestricted free agent after the season. And that isn’t the worst thing that could happen. The worst thing would be if the Bucs had traded him in the offseason and Winston went down with a major injury early and you had to turn to Ryan Griffin. And that isn’t a knock on Griffin, but I’d take Glennon’s experience and talent over Griffin’s all day. I think the Bucs could win some games with Glennon, and is it too far-fetched to think Glennon may be a better quarterback after spending a year with Winston? Talent in the room rubs off. Both ways. Winston is a better quarterback because of Glennon, and I would guess if we asked Mike he would say the same thing about Jameis. In fact, you’ve given me a story idea during the next OTA session.
Question 3. A. Smith asks, just how good do you think Noah Spence can be in this league? What pro does he most remind you of?
Answer: It is nearly impossible to even make a guess, but the tools are there. It hasn’t just been the Bucs coaches who have said they feel Spence was the best pass rusher coming out this season, many pundits also echoed that sentiment And if that proves true, the Bucs got a steal in the second round by selecting the former Buckeye and Eastern Kentucky standout. I for one am not worried about his past issues in college. To a man, eye to eye, Spence appears remorseful and a guy who understands what he is poised to lose if he were to fall back into his old ways. I believe him and so does the organization. I also love he comes into this season with a chip on his shoulder, self-inflicted or not. Whatever he can use as motivation is fine with me. As far as who he reminds me of, I deferred to Scott Reynolds and he mentioned Terrell Suggs, and and to a degree Von Miller. If Spence can have his name mentioned in the same class as those two a few years down the road, Tampa Bay and their fans will be thrilled.
Question 4. Robert Gordon asks, which player will benefit most from Mike Smith’s new multi look/ attacking style of defense?
Answer: Without seeing the defense in action yet, it is hard to determine, but just on the surface, Lavonte David comes to mind. This is a player who really excelled in Greg Schiano’s defense three years ago, and there is no reason to think he can’t again. And it isn’t like he didn’t play well under Lovie Smith, it was just the splash plays were missing somewhat. David is in his absolute prime and is such a terrific athlete, I can’t see MikeSmith not finding a way to make him the focal point of this defense. Interesting side note, back before the draft I talked to an NFL front office executive about Myles Jack and he raved about his ability, but also noted he wasn’t as instinctive as some in the league, and then pointed out David as an example of one of those guys. I really took note of that and think David can become a household name this season.
Question 5. Robert Pickett asks, from a talent perspective who has a better chance of being a future starter Ryan Smith, Caleb Benenoch, or Bond?
Answer: What are you trying to get two of them mad at me? Seriously though, it’s very tough without seeing any of them in pads or going against other players, but if I had to pick one I would go with Benenoch. Talking to some talent evaluators, there was a common theme that if Benenoch has stayed one more year he most likely would have been a first or second rounder in next year’s draft. I asked him about that during the rookie mini-camp and he said he had no regrets and felt he was ready. And I believe he comes into the perfect situation. Unless there is a major rash of injuries, he won’t be forced to start right away and can take things slowly. But I wouldn’t count out the other two though. I really like Ryan Smith, and had he played at a bigger school he would have been drafted higher in my opinion. Bond is someone to keep an eye on as well. I was at the bowling function with the rookies last Friday and he is a really big guy. A different type of build that Lovie Smith preferred. I believe Mike Smith likes thicker, more solidly built linebackers and Bond looks to be that type of guy. His junior college tape was more impressive than his Sooner film, but honestly I wasn’t overly impressed with Kwon Alexander coming out of LSU either. So there’s more proof for you that I am just a writer and not a professional scout.