Quarterback Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m assuming the reference made to Ali Marpet battling for a starting position with a back-up player last year is in the situation Ali moves to center and Hawley is not retained. Even so, is Ali really falling out of favor with the organization? He is our best run blocker and consistently mentioned as one of the better young guards in the league by other news outlets. I can’t see a scenario with Ali on the bench in favor of Smith.
Good centers are not easy to find. Atlanta gave Mack alot of $$ and it looks like it paid off. As for the Bucs many people have been talking about moving some players around. I personally think Marpet should move to LG and Sweezy to RG leaving Kevin P, Evens and maybe a practice sq. Player to fight it out for the center job, unless we sign a FA center or draft someone that comes in overlooked like Kwon A was.
If Dalvin Cook, Corey Davis and OJ Howard are all sitting there at 19, who do you (A) think they will take, and (B) want them to take?
Given the draft is deep in RBs and WRs (e.g. Kareem Hunt that can be selected in 2nd or 3rd rnd), I might consider Howard.
If those three are sitting there, which two of them probably won’t be, that would be the fastest card drop of all time. It wouldn’t take a second for them to draft Cook. And of course I’d be all for that, considering his talent but also the value of him being there at 19. This is a deep draft for RB’s no doubt, but the talent between what Dalvin does against everyone including top competition, to what another RB such as Hunt does against his competition, there’s a reason one is there in the firs and the other maybe the 3rd.
As for reality, the more and more PR breaks down Howard, the more and more I like the pick. But free agency will tell most of the story before the draft.
I’m not sure there is a huge dropoff between the RBs in this year’s draft. I don’t consider Dalvin Cook a generational RB on the line of Peterson or Tomlinson. Very good to elite RBs like Bell, David Johnson, Davonte Freeman can be found in the 2nd to 3rd rounds where they were actually selected. I do see a huge mismatch possibility with OJ Howard against any LB/Safety.
Unlikely that KC will let Berry get away … but they are cap-limited this year, and they probably cannot afford to keep both Berry and Dontari Poe, a quality DT/NT who’s going to get paid this year. He’s had a couple of Pro Bowl appearances already. Zach Sauers has a post on this on Fansided. He’s not a sackmaster, just provides strong pressure in the middle to bolster McCoy.
Sorry, but I would much rather have Joe Hawley at 4.5 million than Evan Smith. Smith hasn’t been able to beat him out since he got here.
Tossing $10,5 million at a safety is plain ludicrous, even if his name was Ed Redd or Troy Polamalu. Copy the Panthers blueprint, which they copied from the Bucs and get a killer front four that keeps coming at the QB with an extreme prejudice.
I actually like our safeties, even the much maligned Chris Conte who had a great athletic INT against Cam Newton in the final game only to see it wrongly waived off by a bad call from the refs. Replay clearly showed it was an INT.
It took a while for all three, Conte, Tandy and McDougall to get accustomed to the new D but when they did coverage certainly improved by leaps and bounds. If they resign all three it wouldn’t upset me.
If there is a DE or DT on the board worthy of a No. 19 pick, the Bucs should pick him. Ayers is good for maybe one more year and the same with Clinton McDonald. Jacquez Smith is an undersized DE as is Noah Spence. Gerald McCoy has maybe two more good years left in him before he starts to decline. This is not a knock on any of our older players, age just catches up with everyone. Of our 3 starters on the DL last year, all of them will be close to or older than 30 in 2017.
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