FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

• PewterReport.com had a great year in prognosticating Tampa Bay’s draft pick by hitting on three of our Bucs’ Best Bets – defensive tackle Vita Vea, offensive lineman Alex Cappa and wide receiver Justin Watson. As it turns out, we almost nailed four of them.

Washington State QB Luke Falk – Photo by: Getty Images
Washington State QB Luke Falk – Photo by: Getty Images

Word has it that the Bucs were strongly considering drafting Washington State quarterback Luke Falk with Tampa Bay’s sixth-round pick, but general manager Jason Licht’s good friend, Tennessee G.M. Jon Robinson, beat him to it by four picks in the sixth round. With Licht addressing a plethora of pressing needs this year, don’t be surprised to see Tampa Bay draft a quarterback next year to serve as Jameis Winston’s backup – even if Griffin makes serious strides this offseason and beats out Fitzpatrick for the backup job.

• The Buccaneers passed on signing former Denver running back C.J. Anderson, and watching him sign with NFC South rival Carolina could come back to haunt Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht, especially since he signed a one-year deal worth $1.7 million. A backfield that has rookie Ronald Jones II, C.J. Anderson and Peyton Barber and Charles Sims is better than a backfield that has Jones, Barber, Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers.

“We are always looking and always monitoring, but I would say right now we’re not in any hurry to add a back,” Licht said. “Some people might view someone else as an upgrade – that may be their perception, but we may feel differently. We always have our eye out for good players. We’ll see how it goes.”

Without saying it, Licht seemed to imply that the 27-year old Anderson wasn’t necessarily a great running back. But with 3,051 yards, 20 touchdowns and a 4.4 avg. the 5-foot-8, 224-pounder is certainly more accomplished than any back on Tampa Bay’s roster. Isn’t Anderson, who has 146 catches for 859 yards (8.3 avg.) and four touchdowns better than either Sims or Rodgers, who are the leading candidates for the third down back role? It sure seems like it.

One injury to Jones and the Bucs’ running back stable is exactly the same as it was last year when it struggled (minus a struggling Doug Martin) to run the ball with consistent effectiveness.

• PewterReport.com continues its coverage of the 2018 Bucs draft in the latest Pewter Nation Podcast, as Trevor Sikkema, Mark Cook and yours truly offer up our expert opinions as we preview Tampa Bay’s rookie mini-camp, which will be held this weekend. The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow, so be sure to give it a listen. You can click here to listen to Episode 72: New Kids On The Block.

Pewter-Nation-Podcast-Pewter-ReportIf you missed PewterReport.com’s post-draft edition of the Pewter Nation Podcast where we analyze the draft picks of Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter you can click here to listen to Episode 71: Locked In On Licht’s Draft.

If you haven’t listened to our latest podcast yet, it’s the perfect way to enjoy your lunch on a Friday afternoon or battle rush hour traffic on your way home from work. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here.

• After some missteps in drafting and signing guys with questionable character, such as former tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and former defensive tackle Chris Baker, Bucs general manager Jason Licht told me that if there were any character question marks about players in this year’s draft that they wouldn’t be considered by the Bucs.

“I took more guys off our board this year than I ever have,” Licht said. “Usually you have the guys that you take off for medical reasons, and you have the guys that are multiple offenders for drugs or arrests. We can take a guy that made a mistake that we feel good about. But we also took off guys that would be sucking the culture out of the organization or guys that I couldn’t go to bed at night about, wondering, ‘What’s next?’ Those guys just aren’t good fits. At the end of the day it just kicks your ass and comes back to bite you. If we felt that they would suck the culture out of the locker room they were off the board.”

Consider that a lesson learned from dealing with the lazy Baker last year.

• Do you want up-to-the-minute news and observations from this weekend’s Bucs mini-camp? Make sure you become one of the 29,000 Twitter followers of @PewterReport. If you want updates from Bucs press conferences, rookie mini-camp, Bucs OTAs this offseason and new PewterReport.com story notifications be sure to follow us on Twitter and help us grow to 30,000. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here, and to follow us on Facebook please click here.

• You might have heard about this about new Bucs defensive line coach Brentson Buckner before, but just in case you didn’t, here’s an interesting nugget about him from head coach Dirk Koetter at the NFL Owners Meeting back in March. After Buckner, a former nose tackle in San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Carolina, retired from the NFL he began his coaching career at the youth football level in North Carolina and that’s where he developed his relatable style and teaching methods.

Bucs DL coach Brentson Bucker - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DL coach Brentson Bucker – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“We haven’t been on the field together yet, but it’s always a plus – a guy that played the position,” Koetter said. “That’s always a plus from the players’ standpoint. He has a unique background. When he was transitioning from playing to coaching, he started off in youth football. I’ve had other people I know reach out to me that played on his little league team. My daughter dates Luke Maye, the basketball player from North Carolina. Luke Maye played little league football and Buck was his coach. I’ve had other players that we’ve had on our team reach out to me and say, ‘Buck was my little league coach.’ It’s a small world. It really is.

“When he interviewed with us that was one of the things he was telling Mike Smith, Jason and myself. When he first started coaching, he was coaching kids, and that’s how he developed his coaching style. Now the fact that he played for a long time also helps out.”

That is a very interesting story about an assistant coach that is expected to make a big impact in turning around the fortunes of Tampa Bay’s defensive line.

• You might have seen the new banner ads from NewsomEye on PewterReport.com featuring a very familiar face. Yep, that’s me. I’ve told you before that I was a client of NewsomEye before they became an advertising partner, and it’s true. I trust my eyes and my daughter’s eyes to NewsomEye because of their professionalism and the level of care I receive, and I’m proud to represent NewsomEye in their advertising campaign on PewterReport.com.

I don’t need to wear glasses all the time – yet – but I do need them for reading and working on my laptop. Dr. Fazio made sure I had the right prescription for my transition lens, and I knew I was in good hands at NewsomEye with the comprehensive array of vision tests I went through.

If you’re middle-aged like me and your vision isn’t as sharp as it once was, or need glasses for every day living like my daughter, don’t wait. Get your vision checked today at NewsomEye and you will be glad you did. NewsomEye has offices in Carrollwood, South Tampa and Sebring. Call (813) 908-2020 to schedule your visit today, and for more information, visit NewsomEye on the web at NewsomEye.com and tell them that Scott Reynolds from PewterReport.com sent you.

 

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

33 COMMENTS

  1. I like the energy and experience Buckner has!
    On a unrelated subject can anyone tell me what to do with PR I CAN NOT give thumbs up or down. I have emailed them 2 times no response and called no response.

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    • You called them over that?? In addition to 2 emails? It’s such a trivial thing.

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      • Your Opinion is your Opinion.

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    • We are working on it.

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      • Thank You.

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  2. Is Buckner the DC in waiting, and, if so, how long do the Bucs wait?

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    • I believe he is but I don’t know how long they wait. Depends what the defensive production is outside of the d-line!

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    • Buckner may need to be HC in waiting.

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  3. I know one thing, those are some big boys up front now!

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  4. It’s interesting to hear Licht talk about taking guys off the board for character issues, yet he drafted Jordan Whitehead. Whitehead was suspended for three games by Pitt last season for an undisclosed violation of team policy. Also interesting is that there were consensus higher ranked safeties still on the board. I really hope that pick pans out!

    On your podcast last week, Mark and Trevor were adamant that Derwin James would have been the better pick. They kept calling Vea a “complementary” player because he would be on the field less than James. My response: so what? Even though a starting safety is on the field more often, what percentage of plays do they actually affect? Meanwhile, Vea will affect things just about every play he is on the field. Also, James didn’t impress last year. FSU defense was soft and weak, where was James? That’s the reason he slipped to 17.

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  5. Are we there yet? No! But we are pretty close. We’ve had the offensive skill pieces in place and with the addition of a quality RB or two, they have the table set to be a complete offense. A couple of questions remain on the O-Line, but I think those questions will be answered in training camp. The defense on paper looks to be significantly improved – and as Scott opined, the depth is substantial. The secondary is a work in progress, but the draft pieces added will be an upgrade and should benefit from the improvements in the D-Line.

    So what’s left? All eyes should be on the coaching. GM Licht went all out to give them the pieces to be successful. Now it’s incumbent on the coaches to mold and shape this team into a contender. On this front I should be more optimistic, but we shall see. No excuses! Bucs win!

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  6. Good Article Scott! I’ve got a concern as to the third backup QB? Why Griffin and a small guy like Allen? I believe this will force us to use a 3rd or 4th round pick for our back up. We obviously won’t know our answers as to where we stand at CB until a couple games into the regular season. Still not sure where we will actually stand in game wins, but it’s better than last year for sure. Go Bucs!

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  7. David Logan deserves consideration for RoH.

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    • I agree!!!

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  8. There comes a time when mistakes bite you and paying JJP so much money cost Bucs a shot at Dez Bryant .
    Jamies could have used Dez more than any other QB in league .

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    • Did you really just say that? So the Bucs, who had one of the worst pass rushes in NFL history last year, should have not signed JPP, to have a chance to sign a WR Dez Bryant(not a position of need) who’s a complete head case with basically no playoff experience. You realize that Jameis if you just take the games he started and finished, was on a 16 game pace of almost 5000 yards, 30 total TD’s, 64.5%, at 8.2 YPA and a QB Rating of over 100. The Bucs had a top 5 passing offense, as the absolute worst pass rush I’ve seen in a long long time. So yeah let’s take Dez Bryant, over JPP. You’re a clown

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      • Could of wood should does not count in NFL his average rating 88 over three years 92 last year
        I know it not what blind fans want here , you need back out yardage for lost Fumbles and INTs Dammm
        Jamies loses 70% of games he starts because of INT and lost fumbles ,
        You can not bring Defense tired back on field 2 times a game and still have functional Defense and win games . He needs stop throwing INT if Bucs want win.

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    • Bryant is nothing but trouble.

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  9. Dez Bryant!? Are you high?

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    • The Defense needs stay on sidelines more this year , JJP is not the same as he once was Giants dumped him for a reason . Does not seem any one in Bucs land get it
      Giants would have keep him if he was worth the money, they not total stupnickles . New style defense at Giants has nothing to do with it. He was sent to Bucs so Giants could use money get better players.
      Maybe Perter fans think Giants sent him here to make the Bucs a better team cause they are such nice guys.

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      • Who the heck is JJP?

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    • 69 catches for 838 yards is 2017 must be pretty bad in your book

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      • Looks like an over the hill guy to me.
        133 targets were the 12th most in the league and he was the 36th rated receiver in yards.

        Other comparisons.
        Rishard Matthews with 87 targets and 837 yards
        Julio Jones with 148 targets and 1639 yards

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  10. Licht is talking out of both sides of his mouth when he discusses how important character is in the locker room while spending a 4th round pick on a guy in Jordan Whitehead who was suspended, not 1, not 2, but 3 games THIS year due to a violation of team rules.

    Does Whitehead interview well? Sure. So did ASJ. As PR knows all to well, ASJ is great about telling you what he thinks you want to hear. I’m not sure how he is that different from Whitehead, who used questionable judgment in declaring for the Draft early, despite a less than stellar season and multiple week suspension on his resume.

    Don’t forget that MJ Stewart was suspended along with Mike Hughes as a Soph in UNC for punching a guy If you’re going the character route, Licht passed on Shaquem Griffin and A&M Captain and 4-year starter Armani Watts, neither of whom were ever suspended.

    There’s certainly a gray area when it comes to off-the-field problems; you have your busts like Johnny Manziel, Justin Blackmon and Randy Gregory. You also have some all-time good players like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Lawrence Taylor, Cris Carter, Dez Bryant, Aquib Talib and many others who more than panned out for their teams despite their personal problems.

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  11. Great piece Scott, love your ring of honor rankings! And see it just made me revisit the moment they let Warrick Dunn go and how upset I really was over it lol. I’m excited to see what coach Buck can get out of the guys this year. Should be fun to watch!

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  12. Buc ass Bob, you literally have no idea what you’re talking about.

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    • I think he’s a Cowboy ass.

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  13. I literally have no clue how the way the Dline plays is up to the Dline coach and not the defensive coordinator. So Smith let Hayes have them stunt the majority, yet Buck will have them going straight. That stuff affects the whole defense. The fact that Smith didnt stop that nonsense last year is mind boggling to me. He left it to the position coach. He says the 10 yard cushion is up to the DB. Unreal. I just dont get it. The guy had better get it together this year. He needs to make the rules for all the positions or its not gona get better. Get all the different players you want but if theyre not all doing the best thing to complement each other it aint working. Cmon Smitty get it together.

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  14. Great insight as always, Scott. I always look forward to the Fab 5 and the cover 3.

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  15. Great insight as always, Scott!

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  16. I’m excited to see this defense this year! It’s far too early to be sure but right now DL is looking like it’ll give the LB group some competition for strongest unit on the team.

    Hopefully our DC will get together with the position coaches and figure out how to play to the players’ strengths rather than trying to put square pegs in circle holes as he did last year. Smith had a good year in 2016 so if he can get back to that we will be dangerous!

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  17. Can’t wait to see that 3,206-pound Syracuse try-out safety get onto the field. I bet he can redirect the route of any receiver in the league.

    Fab 5 is an entertaining read, as always. Man, NFL off-season goes on too long!

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  18. The Ring of Honor selection process has as much to do with the popularity of the guys selected as it is about the perceived magnitude of their actual contribution to the team, don’t you think, Scott?
    How else do you explain the fact that Alstott and Lynch are already enshrined? They were both very good players, but certainly not great players. They were both popular as hell with the fans, though.

    The fact that Wilder has been forgotten by so many fans is a real shame. I think it comes down to him playing during a time when the Bucs just absolutely sucked! For several years, Wilder was the only real offense the Bucs had.

    As for McKay – I don’t see how you can even begin to compare his ‘worthiness’ of inclusion into the Ring with Dungy’s. They coached in two completely different eras, for two completely different owners. McKay had to deal with an expansion franchise, no free agency, and cheap-ass owner Culverhouse signing (or NOT signing) the checks. McKay built that mess into a conference contender in four years. Dungy faced his own hurdles, but you can’t say he was worthy of earlier inclusion in the Ring. McKay was here first, so McKay was honored first. Both McKay and Dungy deserve to be in the Ring, and both will be, now.

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