Each Monday Mark Cook of PewterReport.com answers questions submitted by our readers concerning the Buccaneers. You can get your questions answered by submitting them via Twitter and using the hashtag #PRMailbag.
Question: With the Bucs getting more weapons for Winston do you see JW having a Matt Ryan kind of TD-INT ratio nxt year as Matt Ryan got his weapons?
Answer: No I really don’t think that is in Winston’s DNA. 38 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions? It was a remarkable season for Ryan, but he isn’t the gunslinger that Winston is. And you can argue that is better, as Ryan will live to fight another day, where as Winston never wants to give up on a play. That is part of what frustrates his coaches, but also excites them, if that makes sense.
However I do believe with more weapons, you will see Winston’s interception numbers come down, as better receivers will be more open, and more weapons means that defenses will be exposed more, and there will be better options for Winston to get the ball to. There isn’t a throw that winston doesn’t believe he can complete, and while that can be dangerous to a certain degree, the confidence that exudes from him, inspires his teammates and makes him the leader that he is.
I see Winston having more of a Brett Favre type career, in which the former Packer star averaged nearly 18 interceptions per season. And I think most fans would love to have a Winston career rival that of Favre.
Question: Is Eric Berry a realistic target for the Bucs in FA? Why or why not, and what deal will he be getting?
Answer: He would definitely be a target for many teams, but I just don’t see the Chiefs letting him walk. Kansas City feels they are close, and they are a Top 10 team in the NFL, so losing such a valuable member of the organization would be a big blow. With that said, if he somehow managed to become a free agent, I don’t think there is any question Tampa Bay wouldn’t be interested.
He was already the highest paid safety in the league ($10.8 million), and I think the Chiefs wouldn’t have a problem even giving him a raise, so chances are they try and get a deal done before free agency opens in March, and if not they could place the franchise tag on him to keep him in Kansas City.
Question: Are the Bucs committed to having back up C/G Evan Smith on the roster with his $4.5M salary?
Answer: From all indications yes. For a starting caliber, versatile offensive lineman, that isn’t really a lot of money. Speaking with a member of the Bucs organization recently the exact quote was, “Evan is a pro’s pro.” That tells me they like what he brings to the table. I could see he and Marpet heading into the offseason battling for the starting job, as I think the Bucs could move on from Joe Hawley who is an unrestricted free agent.
The good news is, the loser of that battle, if that indeed is in the Bucs plans, still could be a starter at guard. I know a lot of fans weren’t overly impressed with the offensive line, and rightfully so at times in 2016, but adding a healthy J.R. Sweezy to the mix, where I believe he can provide some leadership that was missing, will help this offensive line be much better in 2017.
Question: With a good draft and free agency, is it realistic to think the Bucs could make the Super Bowl next year?
Answer: That is a big jump from 9-7 and not even making the playoffs, of course you don’t have to look far to see inspiration as their NFC South division mates, the Falcons did just that. And like the Falcons this season, the Bucs will be going into their second season with a new head coach. Of course Matt Ryan has been around since Jon Gruden was the Bucs coach, so he does have a tad more experience that Winston.
Would I bet the Bucs make the Super Bowl in 2017? No way. But I also would have out a dime down that the Falcons were going to represent the NFC before the season began either. That is what makes the NFL – and sports in general so fun – the unpredictability.
Question: More likely Bucs go after a No. 2 WR via draft or FA? Have any names you want to throw out under either scenario?
Answer: I believe the Bucs address the receiver position both in free agency, and in the draft. I don’t see them breaking the bank in free agency, but could add a second-tier guy to come in and compete, like a Ted Ginn Jr. or Kenny Britt. Draft wise, they will almost certainly look to add a speedy guy who can help stretch the field, which will take some pressure off of Mike Evans, but also open things up underneath somewhat for the tight ends and the backs coming out of the backfield.
First round guys to keep an eye on in the draft are Corey Davis out of Western Michigan or Washington’s John Ross, both who would be hard to pass up if on the board when the Bucs select at No. 19.
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@example.com
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