FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• It would be quite the adventure if the Bucs replaced Dirk Koetter with Washington State head coach Mike Leach. Not only would Tampa Bay’s high-octane passing game be in good hands, but Leach would also entertain the hell out of the media and Bucs fans with his interviews and press conferences. Check out this funny quote from Leach, who got his head coaching start at Texas Tech from 2000-2009.
“You can’t really talk about great sports movies, though, without mentioning Talladega Nights, that Ricky Bobby one,” Leach said. “That movie is off-the-charts funny – and after getting to know some NASCAR guys over the years, I realize that it isn’t just a straight comedy. It’s part documentary. I know people who do stuff like name one of their kids Walker and the other Texas Ranger. If you go to any elementary school classroom in Texas, some kids in there are going to be named either Austin, Dallas, or Houston. That’s basically the same thing. I wouldn’t do that, or at least I’d try to get more creative with it. Name your kid Amarillo or Carrizo Springs. You know what? I’m going to move back to Texas, have another kid, and name him Fort Stockton.”
And Leach’s advice to a recently engaged reporter who asked him for some wedding advice is just classic. This is hilarious.
• As a long-time Bucs beat writer covering this team for 23 years I have seen a lot in Tampa Bay. I have personally witnessed and covered the best Buccaneers of all time. I walked in the building in 1995 with two players who would turn into Hall of Famers in Warren Sapp, the team’s greatest defensive lineman, as well as Derrick Brooks, the Bucs’ all-time best linebacker.
I also had the privilege to cover Ronde Barber, the greatest defensive back in Tampa Bay history, as well as Mike Alstott, who scored more touchdowns with the Bucs than anyone. I’ve covered a Super Bowl-winning quarterback in Brad Johnson and one of the best pure pass rushers of all time in Simeon Rice.
Now I’m a witness to history as Mike Evans will set yet another receiving record on Sunday against Atlanta. Likely with his first catch, Evans will pass Mark Carrier’s single-season Bucs record of 1,422 yards, which was set back in 1989, and become Tampa Bay’s single-season record holder. Earlier in the year, Evans became the Bucs’ all-time receiving yardage leader as well as the all-time receiving touchdown leader.
At age 25, Evans is already the greatest Bucs receiver of all time – and he’s just getting started. And I am fortunate to be able to witness and chronicle his greatness.
DRAFT DIAMOND: OKLAHOMA OT CODY FORD
PewterReport.com is the undisputed leader in Bucs draft coverage each year. During the 2018 draft, we accurately forecasted the selection of three Tampa Bay draft picks as defensive tackle Vita Vea, offensive lineman Alex Cappa and wide receiver Justin Watson were all Bucs’ Best Bets.
Draft season for the PewterReport.com staff starts in September as we do a great deal of scouting during college football season. Trevor Sikkema, who also provides content for TheDraftNetwork.com, provides SR’s Fab 5 with a weekly segment called Draft Diamond where we focus on a different draft prospect each week. This week’s Draft Diamond is Oklahoma OT Cody Ford.
When you think about Oklahoma’s offense, you like think of quarterback Kyler Murray, wide receivers Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb, and running back Trey Sermon, etc. You think of the playmakers. But how about the guys up front who allow those players to make the plays?
Ford, a 6-foot-4, 330-pound redshirt junior offensive tackle for the Sooners, has put together one heck of a season, and he’s quickly becoming one of the biggest risers in draft media.
First and foremost, Ford is fast. At 330 pounds, he can mirror edge rushers with fantastic balance and good agility in his lower body. He’s still raw in footwork technique, but the ability to learn it at a high level is there. Ford’s athletic ability also makes him a force when asked to pull or zone block. In straight up man-blocking situations, especially against the run, Ford is powerful. Jon Ledyard of The Draft Network even calls him a “mauler,” a term you love to hear about with offensive linemen.
Really, Ford presents the potential total package as an offensive lineman. He’s big, athletic and can process rushes well for the experience he has. The Buccaneers will be looking to upgrade their offensive line in a variety of ways this offseason. Perhaps they won’t be picking high enough in the draft to select left tackle Jonah Williams from Alabama. But if they don’t, Ford could be a serious option for them, even in the first round.
• Oh my goodness! It’s the 100th episode of the Pewter Nation Podcast (again). PewterReport.com’s Trevor Sikkema, Mark Cook and I analyzed this Sunday’s Bucs vs. Falcons game in the new Pewter Nation Podcast that was recorded on Thursday at One Buccaneer Place, as well as the futures of Dirk Koetter, Gerald McCoy and DeSean Jackson. Be sure to listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 100 Part 23: The Final Countdown by clicking here.
If you missed Monday’s Pewter Nation Podcast, Episode 100 Part 22, which came out after Tampa Bay’s loss at Dallas, make sure you listen to it while you are out and about this weekend in between relaxing and watching bowl games. You can listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Ep100 Part 22: All I Want For Christmas (Is A Coach) by clicking here.
Listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on your drive home from work on Fridays or on Saturdays while doing some chores around the house or running errands this weekend is fun – so do it. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped after the Bucs – Falcons game on Sunday. Don’t miss the post-game thoughts from Sikkema, Cook and yours truly as Tampa Bay tries to end the 2018 season on a winning note.
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. 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. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
• Bucs general manager Jason Licht has hopefully learned a lesson with J.R. Sweezy this year. I’m not chastising for Licht signing Sweezy a few years ago to a big contract. It wasn’t Licht’s fault that Sweezy injured his back and missed his first year in Tampa Bay following surgery, or that it took him a full year to get back into football shape.
The lesson to be learned is that Sweezy shouldn’t have been cut prior to training camp. Upon his release, Sweezy returned to Seattle where he had a fine year and was named as a Pro Bowl alternate. Meanwhile, the Bucs started Caleb Benenoch at right guard with disastrous results as Benenoch has surrendered 9.5 sacks and been flagged for seven penalties.
Licht didn’t need to cut Sweezy before camp and he shouldn’t have. The Bucs didn’t need the cap room. He should have let Sweezy, who was coming off a broken leg, compete for the job in camp to push Benenoch. Instead, Benenoch was essentially handed the starting job as both the front office and the coaching staff simply wanted him in the starting lineup to justify the fifth-round draft pick the team invested in him and the time offensive line coach George Warhop had invested in him.
The truth is that if Benenoch has a future playing in the NFL it’s at right tackle where he played in college. Benenoch has twiggy legs and doesn’t anchor well against big 320-pound defensive tackles. It would have been interesting to see if Sweezy could have played as well at right guard in Tampa Bay as he did in Seattle this year. I have to think that he would have played better than Benenoch regardless.
• Our @PewterReport Twitter account is nearing 31,000 followers. If you aren’t following PewterReport.com on Twitter please do so right now so you don’t miss out on Bucs press conference and interview footage as well as breaking news and injury updates. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here. To follow us on Facebook please click here. And to follow @PewterReport on Instagram and you can do so by clicking here.
• Keep an eye on the John Harbaugh situation in Baltimore. The Ravens preemptively announced that Harbaugh would return to coach in 2019 as the team tries to work out a contract extension. I’m not saying that the Bucs are going to be trading for Harbaugh, but I think they will call to ask would it would take in terms of compensation to acquire him.
• One coaching candidate that I’m just lukewarm on is former Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy. How much of the Packers’ success under McCarthy was because of him as opposed to Aaron Rodgers? I think Rodgers had a lot to do with it, and that concerns me as it pertains to McCarthy.
• Something tells me this is the last game in Tampa Bay for defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, as I wrote in last week’s SR’s Fab 5 column. It could very well be the last game for 33-year old right tackle Demar Dotson, too. I have immensely enjoyed covering both of those long-time Buccaneers. Both were class acts on and off the field, were very good players in their prime and both were gracious to the PewterReport.com staff with their time.
Sunday will also be the last game in red and pewter for wide receiver DeSean Jackson and cornerback Brent Grimes. I did not enjoy covering either one of those players and never truly felt like they completely bought in to Tampa Bay. There was always a certain amount of selfishness from those two that rubbed me the wrong way.
I felt like both were simply hired guns in free agency – kind of like the same feeling I had with quarterback Jeff Garcia. He was never really a Buccaneer. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and center Ryan Jensen, two new free agent imports this season, feel more like Buccaneers to me than Jackson or Grimes ever did.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
• And finally, a BIG THANK YOU to all of the PewterReport.com advertising partners – including this column’s exclusive sponsor, Discount Garage Doors – for making this site possible in 2018. Advertising is the lifeblood of PewterReport.com, and I strongly encourage you to click on the banner ads and give your business to the businesses that support our efforts here at PewterReport.com.
And a BIG THANK YOU goes to all of you out there in Pewter Nation that faithfully read the Discount Garage Doors SR’s Fab 5 each week as well as all of the great content on PewterReport.com. We’ve had a record web traffic year – up nearly 10 percent from 2017 – despite another five-win season from the Buccaneers, and our success is due to YOU – the loyal PewterReport.com visitor.
On behalf of the writers, interns, photographers and staff members at PewterReport.com, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season and wish you all a VERY Happy New Year!