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Here are five things that caught my interest this week:
FAB 1. Now that the college bowl season has concluded and the college all-star games are on the horizon, it’s time to shift the focus to the 2010 NFL Draft. And what a huge draft it will be for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have 10 picks this year. Expect general manager Mark Dominik to attempt to add some more picks via trades between now and April 22, too.
Probable candidates for trades that could generate more selections include quarterback Josh Johnson, wide receiver Michael Clayton, running back Derrick Ward and perhaps even middle linebacker Barrett Ruud. Yes, despite leading the team with a career-high 205 tackles, Tampa Bay is not overly enamored with Ruud, who is scheduled to either become an unrestricted free agent or a restricted free agent in 2010 – depending on whether the NFL and the NFL Players Association can come to terms on an extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement or not by March. More on Ruud later in the Fab 5.
While it seems that Nebraska All-American defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is out of Tampa Bay’s reach now that the Buccaneers are picking third in the first round behind St. Louis and Detroit, that may not be the case. In fact, the Bucs are perfectly positioned with the third overall pick to move up to number one and grab Suh, who is the player they most covet, or move down a few spots in the first round and pick up another second- or third-round pick in what appears to be a very solid and deep draft.
The key to any trade involving Tampa Bay and St. Louis is the relationship between Dominik and Rams vice president and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff, who was Bruce Allen’s senior assistant with the Buccaneers. Demoff and Dominik worked very closely together under Allen for several years before Demoff left for St. Louis last January just days after Dominik’s promotion.
With the uncertainty facing 32-year old quarterback Marc Bulger, who is reportedly considering retirement, the Rams desperately need a franchise quarterback. While Suh is reportedly the top player on the Rams’ board, St. Louis has recent first-round picks invested in its defensive line in defensive end Chris Long (2008) and defensive tackle Adam Carriker (2007). It’s doubtful the team would go defensive line for a third straight year with its first-round pick with such a pressing need for a quarterback.
Having the top pick in the draft affords St. Louis the chance to pick the passer of its choosing. With the Lions and Bucs drafting franchise QBs last year with Matthew Stafford and Josh Freeman, respectively, both teams are no threat to draft a passer this year. That means the Rams could trade down a spot or two and still get the top quarterback and pick up an extra draft pick in the process from whichever team – Detroit or Tampa Bay – wants Suh.
New Washington coach Mike Shanahan will want to draft a quarterback with the fourth overall pick, so the Rams really can’t trade down past Tampa Bay’s No. 3 spot without potentially losing the quarterback they covet, which would either be Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford or perhaps Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen. Defensive-minded head coach Jim Schwartz would love to have Suh, but the Lions also need help on the offensive line, especially at left tackle.
Detroit has to get better blindside protection for Stafford, who took a pounding in his rookie season while getting sacked 24 times. The Lions may not have the intestinal fortitude or the sheer will to surrender a draft pick and trade up one spot to keep Tampa Bay away from Suh. They could settle for a left tackle like Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung, Rutgers’ Anthony Davis or Iowa’s Bryan Bulaga – depending on how they grade out this offseason – to replace Jeff Backus, who will be 33 in September.
Based upon fan chatter on PewterReport.com’s message boards and on sports talk radio shows, fans may not be renewing their season tickets in droves over displeasure about the team’s 3-13 and perhaps a lack of confidence in head coach Raheem Morris – not to mention the economic effects of a nationwide recession. Since the Bucs didn’t bring in Bill Cowher as the team’s head coach, and free agency will likely be underwhelming due to the lack of studs available, Tampa Bay will have one chance to create a favorable buzz in order to help season ticket sales.
That would come on draft day if Dominik could land Suh, widely viewed as the best player in the draft. If the Bucs could acquire Suh for no more than a second-round pick, such as the one Tampa Bay got for trading defensive end Gaines Adams to Chicago, Dominik would be a hero. Roy Miller would look great lining up next to his old Big 12 friend Suh in the middle of Tampa Bay’s defense for years to come.
The Bucs need to really investigate trading up for Suh. In my opinion, he’s head and shoulders above the next best defensive lineman, Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who is a fierier player, but not as consistent as Suh is. McCoy, a junior, had 15.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in 2009, and has 33 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one interception in his three-year career.
Compare that to Suh, who had 20.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, three blocked kicks and one forced fumble last year, and has 49.5 tackles for loss, 24 sacks, 15 passes defensed, six blocked kicks, four interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and three forced fumbles in his four-year career. The production isn’t even close, especially considering that both Suh and McCoy have only been starters over the past two seasons.
If Dominik can’t pull off the trade, loses out on Suh and has to stay at number three, a rich opportunity to trade down may present itself. The key is Washington, which has the fourth overall pick. Right now, there are believed to be only two top 10 quarterbacks in the draft – Bradford and Clausen. With one of them off the board thanks to St. Louis, quarterback-needy teams like Seattle (6), Cleveland (7), Buffalo (9) Denver (10) might want to move up into the third spot ahead of Washington to secure a top passer, much like the New York Jets did last year trading up to number five with Cleveland to draft Mark Sanchez.
The 12-spot leap from the 17th overall pick cost the Jets a first- and a second-round pick and three players. Dominik could easily ask for a second-round pick to move down inside the top 10 if this scenario presents itself on April 22.
I have a very good feeling that whether the Bucs trade up to get Suh, trade down to acquire extra picks or just stand pat with the third overall pick that this is going to be a very, very good draft for Tampa Bay. After wasting too many premium picks on the likes of Adams, Michael Clayton, Dexter Jackson and possibly Sabby Piscitelli over the years, this draft is one of the most important in franchise history for it will either continue to mire this team in mediocrity for years to come or it will add the necessary pieces to join the likes of Aqib Talib and Josh Freeman and allow Tampa Bay to rise back to prominence and ultimately the playoffs.
FAB 2. I respect Tennessee safety Eric Berry’s game. I know he is very good athlete and a playmaker. However, I have a hard time envisioning Tampa Bay drafting a safety with the third overall pick. You have to go back to Cleveland’s selection of UCLA free safety Eric Turner with the second overall pick in 1991 to find the last time a safety was taken in the top 3 picks.
The reason why I say I would have some trepidation about taking a safety with the third overall pick is because the top performer on Tampa Bay’s, free safety Tanard Jackson, was selected in the fourth round in 2007. You can find good safeties later in the draft. Brian Dawkins wasn’t a first-round pick. Neither was Adrian Wilson or Darren Sharper.
Over the past decade, only 12 safeties have been first-round picks. Here’s the list:
2009 – None
2008 – 31st overall – FS Kenny Phillips – NY Giants
2007 – 6th overall – SS La’Ron Landry – Washington
2007 – 19th overall – FS Michael Griffin – Tennessee
2007 – 21st overall – FS Reggie Nelson – Jacksonville
2006 – 7th overall – SS Michael Huff – Oakland
2006 – 8th overall – SS Donte Whitner – Buffalo
2004 – 5th overall – FS Sean Taylor – Washington
2003 – 16th overall – SS Troy Polamalu – Pittsburgh
2002 – 8th overall – SS Roy Williams – Dallas
2002 – 24th overall – SS Ed Reed – Pittsburgh
2001 – 20th overall – SS Adam Archuleta – St. Louis
2000 – 23rd overall – FS Rashard Anderson – Carolina
Now, there have been some very good safeties taken in the first round, including Pro Bowlers like Taylor, Polamalu, Griffin, Williams and Ed Reed, whom Berry reminds me and most draftniks of. However, the ones in the top 10 have not fared well in recent years.
Williams is on his second team and his career is really winding down after a great start. Whitner and Landry are starters, but have not turned into stars, and Huff may be a bust. Taylor was clearly been the best safety drafted in the top 10 over the last decade, but he was murdered last year, unfortunately.
The case could certainly be made for the Bucs drafting Berry. With former Tampa Bay legendary coordinator Monte Kiffin running the defense at the University of Tennessee, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris could certainly get plenty of great inside intel on Berry from him. Morris would certainly heed an endorsement from Kiffin.
Safety is also a position of need. Strong safety Sabby Piscitelli was a disappointment in his first full season as a starter, missing a ton of tackles and only coming up with two interceptions in 2009. Free safety Tanard Jackson is the Bucs’ best player on defense, but missed the first four games of the year due to an NFL suspension for a positive test of a banned substance.
Another positive test and Jackson could be suspended for the entire year, which would be a crippling blow to Tampa Bay’s secondary. Berry is the kind of player that has the hitting ability to play strong safety and the range and ballhawking ability to play free safety. Drafting him would give the Bucs great coverage at both safety spots.
Kiffin used Berry differently than he was accustomed to when Phillip Fulmer was the head coach during his first two years and Berry’s statistics suffered. The Bucs have to make sure that Berry’s skill set would be a good fit in Morris’ scheme, after he recorded a career-low two interceptions after notching 12 picks over his first two seasons at Tennessee.
Berry was relegated to four tackles in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl as Tennessee got ran over and throttled by Virginia Tech. It was hardly Berry’s finest moment and he was awfully quiet over the last four games of the season statistically. He doesn’t have the ideal size to play in the box, despite Kiffin playing him there, because he struggles shedding blocks.
Despite winning the Jim Thorpe Award last year, there was no way Berry was the best safety in the nation last year. UCLA sophomore Rahim Moore was a playmaking stud, leading the nation with 10 interceptions. He had a better year than Berry did. Clemson junior DeAndre McDaniel had eight interceptions, two sacks and a forced fumble. He had a better year than Berry. I even think LSU junior Chad Jones outplayed Berry last year despite having comparable stats.
Another safety that outperformed Berry in 2009 was Utah’s Robert Johnson, who will be in the 2010 NFL Draft unlike the aforementioned players. Johnson has 13 career interceptions, including six in 2009 with one returned for a touchdown, two go along with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, including one for a score. Unlike Berry, Johnson finished his collegiate career on a high note, dominating California in Utah’s bowl win with four tackles, one interception and two pass breakups, one of which led to an interception for a touchdown by linebacker Stevenson Sylvester. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Johnson is a heavy hitter and is regarded as a third- or fourth-round pick.
Even Texas redshirt sophomore Earl Thomas, who has declared for the 2010 NFL Draft, made more plays from the strong safety spot than Berry did. Thomas recorded eight out of his 10 career interceptions last year, two of which were returned for a touchdown, in addition to notching 10 out of the 21 passes he defensed in his two-year career with the Longhorns.
I don’t think Thomas, who is projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick, is far behind Berry in terms of athleticism and skill set. Johnson isn’t too far behind, either. The Bucs could come away with Johnson in the middle of the draft, or even trade back up into the first round to get Thomas if they truly view safety as a huge need rather than drafting Berry with the third overall pick. And with guys like those two, Kansas’ Darrell Stuckey, Ohio State’s Kurt Coleman and Nebraska’s Larry Assante among others, I don’t think selecting Berry represents the best value for Tampa Bay at this time.
Perhaps my opinion will change between now and April 22.
FAB 3. In finishing up with my post-bowl, draft-related analysis, the question that is bound to be asked is “If the Bucs can’t draft Ndamukong Suh, and shouldn’t draft Eric Berry that high, which player should Tampa Bay select with the third overall pick?”
After watching him cap off his exceptional junior season with a national championship, there may not be anything left for Alabama middle linebacker Rolando McClain to accomplish with the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-4, 258-pound junior is an amazing physical specimen with 4.6 speed, an incredibly intelligent football mind and is expected to forego his senior season and enter the 2010 NFL Draft in the next week or two.
In my opinion, McClain is worth the third overall pick given the track record of linebackers that have been drafted in the first round panning out.
See for yourself. There are a few busts on this list of linebackers that were drafted in the first round over the last decade, but most of those players were 4-3 defensive ends in college like Robert Ayers, Vernon Gholston, Manny Lawson and Jason Babin that were miscast to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
2009 – 4th overall – OLB Aaron Curry – Seattle
2009 – 15th overall – OLB Brian Cushing – Houston
2009 – 18th overall – OLB Robert Ayers – Denver
2009 – 26th overall – OLB Clay Matthews – Green Bay
2008 – 6th overall – OLB Vernon Gholston – NY Jets
â€¨2008 – 9th overall – OLB Keith Rivers – Cincinnati
2008 – 10th overall – ILB Jerod Mayo – New England
2007 – 11th overall – ILB Patrick Willis – San Francisco
2007 – 25th overall – MLB Jon Beason – Carolina
2007 – 26th overall – OLB Anthony Spencer – Dallas
2006 – 5th overall – OLB AJ Hawk – Green Bay
2006 – 9th overall – OLB Ernie Sims – Detroit
2006 – 13th overall – OLB Kamerion Wimbley – Cleveland
2006 – 22nd overall – OLB Manny Lawson – San Franciscoâ€¨
2005 – 11th overall – OLB DeMarcus Ware – Dallas
2005 – 12th overall – OLB Shawne Merriman – San Diego
2005 – 15th overall – OLB Derrick Johnson – Kansas City
2005 – 17th overall – OLB David Pollack – Cincinnati
2004 – 12nd overall – MLB Jonathan Vilma – NY Jets
2004 – 17th overall – OLB DJ Williams – Denver
2004 – 27th overall – OLB Jason Babin – Houston
2003 – 10th overall – OLB Terrell Suggs – Baltimore
2003 – 29th overall – MLB Nick Barnett – Green Bay
2002 – 23rd overall – MLB Napoleon Harris – Oakland
2002 – 31st overall – OLB Robert Thomas – St. Louis
2001 – 11th overall – OLB Dan Morgan – Carolina
2000 – 2nd overall – OLB LaVar Arrington – Washington
2000 – 9th overall – MLB Brian Urlacher – Chicago
2000 – 13th overall – OLB John Abraham – NY Jets
2000 – 16th overall – OLB Julian Peterson – San Francisco
2000 – 28th overall – MLB Rob Morris – Indianapolis
2000 – 30th overall – OLB Keith Bullock – Tennessee
Through three years at Alabama, McClain, an All-American, has produced 274 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss, 16 passes defensed, five interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. McClain, the 2009 winner of the Dick Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker, has the agility and range to perform well in coverage despite a hulkish frame that serves him well in run support.
Don’t believe me? Alabama head coach Nick Saban thinks so, too.
So what about Barrett Ruud? You know, the Bucs middle linebacker that has been a starter for the past three years? Don’t be surprised if he is not re-signed or traded during the offseason.
That might sound odd considering that he is the least of the problems on the defense coming off a season in which he recorded a career-high 205 tackles, which ranks second in team history behind Hardy Nickerson’s 213 stops in 1993. However, the Bucs brass has a couple problems with Ruud, who will either be an unrestricted free agent if there is an extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, or a restricted free agent if the CBA isn’t extended and there is an uncapped year in 2010.
First, the Bucs brass was disappointed that Ruud did not emerge as a vocal leader on defense in the wake of Derrick Brooks’ departure in February. Part of the reason for cutting Brooks was to give Ruud the stage to expand his presence as a leader. That never truly happened.
Second, instead of spending the summer learning Jim Bates’ new defense, Ruud missed the entire OTA session in a contract holdout before showing up in time for the mandatory mini-camp in June.
Third, Ruud is not as physical at the point of attack as Tampa Bay would like. He is a drag down tackler and not a thumper, and the feeling is that the Bucs, who finished 32nd in the league in run defense, need a middle linebacker that can shut down the run inside. No one will confuse Ruud with Hardy Nickerson. Ruud also struggled to shed blockers in the running game and even though he would eventually make the tackle, it commonly occurred five or seven yards past the line of scrimmage after the running back ran past him and was tracked down from behind.
And finally, outside of one interception and one forced fumble, Ruud has hardly made any impact plays this season. The Bucs expected more production.
Ruud is certainly far from being the biggest problem on defense. However, Tampa Bay’s defense needs two things – a run-stuffing middle linebacker and a vocal, fiery leader that can not only set the defense, but a guy that has tremendous leadership skills. Ruud appears to be lacking in those areas and the Bucs feel they can upgrade the position.
If Tampa Bay is going to attempt to improve its middle linebacker position, now might be the best time before committing to Ruud long-term with a contract extension. Yes, the Bucs have more pressing needs to address across the board, but improving their defense against the run is a primary objective and the middle linebacker position has an awful lot to do with that just by virtue of the position.
FAB 4. Look for Bucs head coach Raheem Morris to make some moves on the defensive side of the coaching staff. Defensive line coach Robert Nunn and defensive backs coach Joe Baker, who were both brought in by Jim Bates, will likely be fired. As PewterReport.com has reported before, logical candidates to replace Baker are current defensive backs assistant Dwayne Stukes, who was a former backup safety on Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl team.
Another option that makes sense is Jimmy Lake, who was Morris’ assistant defensive backs coach in 2007 before joining Joe Barry’s staff in Detroit as the Lions secondary coach. I had heard that Morris wanted to hire Lake last year, but that he was overruled by the powers that be because the Bucs had already hired Barry to become the linebackers coach and that Tampa Bay didn’t want to hire two assistants from the Lions fresh off their 0-16 season in 2008.
With the shakeup in Seattle following Jim Mora’s firing, look for Morris to show some interest in two defensive coaches. Former Seahawks assistant head coach and defensive line coach Dan Quinn was one that Morris originally wanted on his staff as a defensive line coach or possibly as defensive coordinator instead of Jim Bates.
However, the Seahawks hired him last year before Morris became the head coach, and the Bucs were unable to pluck Quinn from Seattle to become defensive coordinator because he was an assistant head coach. Don’t be surprised if Quinn, who coached with Morris at Hofstra, is brought in to be defensive coordinator with Morris, or coaches the defensive line along with Todd Wash and replaces Nunn.
Another option for the defensive coordinator position would be either Barry or Gus Bradley. Bradley began his NFL coaching career as a quality control coach working with the linebackers under Barry in 2006. When Barry left to become the Lions defensive coordinator in 2007, he suggested to then-general manager Bruce Allen that Bradley replace him. Bradley was promoted and spent two years as the Buccaneers linebackers coach before getting tabbed to be Seattle’s defensive coordinator.
Morris could promote Barry to become Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator next year and help revive his image league-wide, and hire Bradley as the linebackers coach to replace Barry. Or Morris could simply bring in Bradley to be the coordinator and leave Barry in charge of linebackers. Regardless of what happens, Morris will still be calling plays on Sundays next year.
Think of the defensive coordinator role in 2010 like the role that Bill Muir occupied under Jon Gruden. Muir had the offensive coordinator title and helped formulate the game plan, but on Sundays, Gruden was the triggerman of the offense. Morris will remain the triggerman on the Bucs defense, which showed a great deal of improvement over the last six games of the season, especially in points allowed.
FAB 5. Here are a couple items to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5:
• Hats off to WDAE 620 AM afternoon host Steve Duemig for spending a good deal of time on his Friday broadcast promoting the name of Buccaneers special teams coach Rich Bisaccia for the South Florida coaching job that became vacant when Jim Leavitt was fired on Friday. In my long-held opinion, Bisaccia is one of the best coaches in Tampa Bay history. Most fans have only come around to liking him since Micheal Spurlock returned the first kickoff for a touchdown in 2007 and Clifton Smith burst onto the scene in 2008, but Bisaccia has been an extremely bright, tactical coach for years. I believe he’s destined to be a college head coach at some point in time and USF should definitely interview him. He’s a worthy candidate to take over the Bulls program after having a great deal of success coaching running backs at Clemson and special teams at Ole Miss. Bisaccia is one of the most knowledgeable coaches I’ve come in contact with in my 14 years of NFL reporting. He’s smart, tough, fair and honest. His players always play hard for him, too. As much as I would hate to see the Buccaneers organization lose him, it would be a great addition for USF and it would be nice to keep Bisaccia, who is under contract through 2010, in the Tampa Bay community. I strongly second Duemig’s endorsement.
• In his final press conference to conclude the 2009 season, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said his number one priority next year was “number 5,” which is a reference to quarterback Josh Freeman. That should be an indication that Tampa Bay may be willing to draft an offensive player with the third overall pick, such as a left tackle like Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung or a wide receiver such as his Cowboys teammate, Dez Bryant. Forget the fact that the Bucs defense needs to be addressed in the 2010 NFL Draft and that Morris is a defensive-minded coach. Morris invested a first-round pick in Freeman and began calling him a franchise quarterback from day one. Freeman needs help at wide receiver. Sources tell PewterReport.com that Antonio Bryant will not be back in Tampa Bay next year, and we all know that Michael Clayton is unreliable as a pass catcher and incapable of becoming a go-to receiver. Tampa Bay needs a stud receiver to pair with tight end Kellen Winslow to help Freeman grow into an upper echelon quarterback. Once that happens, the receivers really won’t matter. The case in point comes from the latest edition of Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback on SI.com, who made this observation about Peyton Manning and the power of the Colts passing game. King said, “I think this is the way you build a continuum in the NFL: Last year, Marvin Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez, two of the top four receivers in the Colts rotation, combined to catch 117 balls for 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns. This year, Harrison retired and Gonzalez was lost for the season with a knee injury in the first game. In came Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, in effect replacing Harrison and Gonzalez. Their numbers: 106 catches, 1,426 yards, 11 touchdowns. Collie was the 127th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Garcon the 202nd pick in 2008.” Yes, Manning is that good. The hope is that Freeman can eventually make good receivers great, too.
• It’s interesting to note that after “number 5,” Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris said the second priority this offseason was “the draft. This is only noteworthy because at no time during Morris’ final press conference of the year did he mention the words “free agency.” Perhaps it was an oversight, or perhaps it was the reality that the owners are not going to dole out substantial free agency contracts with an industry lockout looming. Several agents have told me that this year’s class of free agency will be the worst in years without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement as the top players that should be coming up for unrestricted free agency after four years (or five years for players who signed five-year rookie deals like Cadillac Williams and Barrett Ruud) in the league will now have to wait until they have played six years in the NFL in order to become unrestricted free agents.
• There will be some clamoring for the Buccaneers to use a first-round pick on a wide receiver like Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant. I like Bryant as a player, but this year’s group of draft-eligible wide receivers is suddenly a deep one due to the influx of juniors that have declared for the 2010 NFL Draft. I don’t think the value is there to take a receiver in the first round when there are other receivers that could be had from the second round on given the fact that the Buccaneers have more pressing needs elsewhere. Nine underclassmen receivers have declared, including one of my favorite college football players, Central Michigan’s Antonio Brown. His 110 catches in 2009 were the fourth-most in the FBS while racking up 1,198 yards and nine touchdowns. A three-year starter who has played in 41 games with senior NFL prospect Dan LeFevour, Brown has is a pure football player who offers up quickness, clutch hands and the ability to run and return the football. In his three-year Chippewa career, the 5-foot-10, 183-pound Brown has 305 receptions for 3,199 yards and 22 touchdowns, 72 rushes for 531 yards and four touchdowns, 53 punt returns for 822 yards and three touchdowns and 113 kickoff returns for 2,612 yards and two touchdowns. He was even 2-of-5 passing for 26 yards and one touchdown. Brown had 10 100-yard games for CMU, including four games with 170 yards or more. If he runs a 4.44 or faster in the offseason, Brown could be a third-round pick. If not, he falls to the fourth round. Brown, or Clemson senior Jacoby Ford, who is another player I really like, would add some much-needed speed to Tampa Bay’s receiving corps.
• Pewter Report’s Senior Bowl coverage live from Mobile, Ala. will get cranked up on January 24. Be sure to visit us often that week for multiple updates. Also, we will have some limited coverage of the East-West Shrine Game next week, too. Stay tuned to PewterReport.com in January.
• It’s been awhile since my last edition of SR’s Fab 5, but now that the offseason is here they should be coming at you on a more regular basis. Aside from being a Bucs beat writer, I’m also the publisher for Pewter Report and I am in charge of some of the business dealings for the company. Unfortunately, those duties occupied a lot of my time at the end of the season, which prevented more frequent SR’s Fab 5 columns. However, I have some very good news to report. First, part of the time spent away from the Bucs beat was spent on laying the ground work for a new, revamped PewterReport.com, which will debut this summer prior to the start of training camp. Second, as promised, we are also making some improvements to the Pewter Report digital magazine that you will see over the next two issues that will make the magazine more appealing and easier to digest. Third, the $10 price point for subscriptions to our premium Pewter Insider content, which includes the digital magazine, will continue in 2010. And finally, we will be launching a survey online that will allow you to play a large role in how we redesign PewterReport.com. This is your chance to offer us feedback on what features to offer on our new site. This will be your chance to speak now or forever hold your peace and will only take a few minutes. Look for it on PewterReport.com late next week – along with another new SR’s Fab 5.