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SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.

FAB 1. Chubb Would Help Bucs’ Pass Rush Woes

Meet North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb.

He’s one of the best pass rushers in the country and he could be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-round pick in just six short months.

At 2-6, the Bucs would be slated for the fourth overall pick if the NFL Draft were held today. There’s no telling how many wins the Bucs will get over the second half of the season or where Tampa Bay will end up picking next April.

The guesses here are “not enough” and “picking inside the top 10.”

There will undoubtedly be a couple of quarterbacks that will go high inside the top 10. There always are, and that will benefit the Bucs by pushing some coveted players down a few spots. Perhaps Penn State’s do-it-all running back Saquon Barkley is on the clock at the same type Chubb is. No matter who winds up being the head coach or offensive play-caller next year, or who ends up as the general manager in Tampa Bay, this should be a no-brainer.

Because this is another draft full of very talented running backs, the pick should be the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Chubb all day long for the Bucs.

The four most important positions on a football team are as follows: quarterback, defensive end (someone to rush the passer), left tackle (someone to protect the quarterback) and cornerback (someone to shut down the quarterback).

Running back is not one of those four positions. Right now the Bucs’ most glaring need is at defensive end where the Bucs have a collective three sacks from the position in eight games. That’s pitiful.

After beginning his Wolfpack career at linebacker during his freshman season, Chubb, whose cousin, Nick, is a star running back at Georgia, moved to linebacker where he has lived in opposing backfields over the past three years, totaling 52.5 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, four passes defensed, one fumble recovery, one interception and one blocked kick.

After his sophomore year when he recorded 66 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles, N.C. State coach Dave Doeren encouraged Chubb to call Wolfpack legend Mario Williams, a defensive end that was drafted first overall in 2006 and ask him to wear his old No. 9 jersey. Williams gave Chubb his blessing and told him to “rep it well.”

Last year, Chubb, whose brother, Brandon, was a star linebacker at Wake Forest and now plays for the Detriot Lions, had a breakout season with 56 stops and 10 sacks. His 22 tackles for loss in a single season were second in Wolfpack history behind only Williams’ school-record 27.

This year as a senior, Chubb already has amassed 53 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and a forced fumble with at least four games to go. Unlike Bucs designated run stopper Will Gholston and designated pass rusher Noah Spence, Chubb is equally adept at stuffing the run and rushing the passer.

He was a terror in N.C. State’s landmark 27-21 win at Florida State this year, collecting seven tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. He notched eight stops, three tackles for loss and two sacks the next week in a win over Syracuse.

Two weeks ago against Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey, a potential first-round draft pick, Chubb had eight tackles, three tackles for a loss and a sack. Last year against McGlinchey, Chubb brutalized him for five tackles and three sacks in a 10-3 victory. Last week against Clemson left tackle Mitch Hyatt, who also draws first-round grades from NFL scouts, Chubb had eight tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

What makes Chubb the best defensive end in the 2018 draft class is his production, his blend of power and quickness and his non-stop motor. To quote ESPN’s David M. Hale in a story about Chubb, “Doeren calls Chubb ‘the catalyst,’ a title the Wolfpack defensive end isn’t quite comfortable repeating, but it’s a title he has earned. In the weight room, in the locker room, on the field – as Chubb goes, so goes N.C. State. And Chubb goes at only one speed.”

Wolfpack strength coach Dantonio Burnette said: “Chubb is the energy guy. He comes in with the juice.”

In N.C. State’s win over Florida State, ESPN play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti heaped praise on Chubb during the broadcast, saying, “Dave Doeren said, ‘Really nice kid off the field, not the nicest guy on the field.’”

ESPN color analyst Anthony Becht replied: “He used some real explicit terms to describe what kind of a guy he is on the field. That’s what you love about him. He’s going to shake your hand like a gentleman, but he’s going to come on the field and wreck havoc.”

The Bucs could use some havoc along the defensive line, especially at defensive end. And the entire team could use the edge that Chubb brings – an edge that has been missing in Tampa Bay since the days of Hardy Nickerson and Warren Sapp.

Chubb is a nasty dude.

After dominating Florida State, Chubb went over to the Seminoles logo after the game and spit on it. He was later told to apologize for it by the school, but I love his “take no prisoners” demeanor.

“We had to get over the hump, and that was the hump we talked about so much,” Chubb said after the win over FSU. “The emotions of being out on that field. I was just walking up and down and cheering my guys on. I knew for us to win, someone had to be that positive influence, and I wanted it to be me.”

Coming off a 7-6 season, expectations were high in Raleigh, N.C., and Chubb embraced them at the ACC Media Day prior to the start of the season.

NC State DE Bradley Chubb - Photo courtesy of NC State Univ.
NC State DE Bradley Chubb – Photo courtesy of NC State Univ.

“We want to be that team that you don’t want to play because you know we’re going to hit you hard in the mouth,” Chubb said.

So far N.C. State has a 6-3 record on the year heading into Saturday’s game at Boston College. Prior to the Wolfpack’s 38-31 loss against No. 4 Clemson last week, Chubb had the top Havoc Rate in the ACC on Football Study Hall, ahead of other notable defensive ends like Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor, Boston College’s Harold Landry and Clemson’s dynamic duo of Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell

“He’s the real deal, man,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said about Chubb during a conference call last week. “He’s long. He’s fast. He’s explosive. He plays with excellent technique. He’s a very knowledgeable, instinctive player.

This guy has got all the little nuances down. He understands what you’re trying to do offensively, so that allows him to anticipate. When you have the type of speed and skill and strength that he has, plus you have knowledge, you’re a tough guy to handle, which he is.”

During the loss to Clemson, Chubb went over to Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant three times and stole his towel in an effort to mess with the young signal caller and get him off his game. I like a little psychological warfare, just as Sapp used to do by reading his opponents’ media guides for personal information that he was use against them in the trenches to get them rattled.

Sapp longs for the day when the Bucs have another dawg in the locker room.

“We called it ‘dawg’ in our locker room. D-A-W-G,” Sapp told the Tampa Bay Times this past summer. “I need a dawg in my locker room. I want somebody who bites.”

That someone may be Chubb next April.

A guy that swipes a quarterback’s towel during the game, and spits on the logo of a hated division rival?

You might call it unsportsmanlike, but I call it awesome, especially when Chubb produced 16 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in the Florida State and Clemson games combined. That’s the type of ruthless, ass-kicker the Bucs have been missing on defense.

They’ve also been missing sacks – desperately – this year, and Chubb is just two sacks away from tying Williams’ N.C. State record of 25.5. It’s early and the 2018 NFL Draft is six months away, but when the Bucs’ first draft board for next year comes out I would have Chubb’s name at or near the top.

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  1. Jesus. Just trade Winston away and be done with it. The kid can’t do anything right. Check it down! No, throw it deep. No, complete 70% of passes while chucking it deep. Be a leader, but don’t say anything and don’t be yourself. Quit trying to change and neuter him. This culture of losing infects the entire locker room. Winston will still fight for every game. He expects his teammates to fight with him. GMC isn’t a pregame guy. Kwon doesn’t seem to give speeches. LVD? Nope. Mike? Nope. We let Shep, great pregame talker, leave for Carolina. Who else on the team is left beside Winston? The pre game speech in NO was corny as hell, but it was also desperation. Brady, Goff, Wentz, Dak all have better teams than Winston and have better systems around them. Good teams don’t need pregame speeches.

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    • Well said. While some of this Fab 5 is good, Scott seems to grasp at straws when explaining field play. It started with the training camp discussion and this whole Jameis pep-talk discussion is simply a continuation of that same line of thinking.

      Being soft in camp might have an effect 1-2 weeks into a season, not 10. In a same vein, if Tom Brady twerked for his game warmups, I’m sure he would be calling Winston out for not twerking because there is exactly 1 template to success for players in this game and if you don’t do it than you’re clearly not a leader or a good QB.

      It’s almost like voodoo nonsense is being legitimized as a serious reason why the team is 2-6. I say “almost” because, for some reason I’m unaware of, the Fab 5 also suggests resigning Fitzpatrick when everyone knows what that does to your starting QB. The irony.

      I think the quote “I’ve been waiting for weeks to write this, waiting for the perfect moment.” is a pretty succinct summation of the mindset that wrote Fab 2.

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      • I beg to differ on how a soft training camp only affects the first or second week of the season. Teams do not do any tackling in practice in-season nor do they have much contact in practice due to the recovery time necessary from the games. It’s hard to establish physicality during the season. That’s exactly what training camp is for and why it’s about a month long.

        The Bucs couldn’t run the ball in the preseason and haven’t been able to run it with any consistency during the season. Outside of Week 1 when a fresh Bucs team ganged up to stop the run against the Bears and made Mike Glennon beat them with his arm, Tampa Bay has had trouble stopping the run.

        You can choose not to believe that a soft training camp had any impact on this team if you want, but when you have established veterans on this team telling me how easy camp was this year, I’m telling you it had an effect. You play like you practice, and the Bucs are soft.

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    • Okay he’s not going to be a top 5 quarterback probably not a top 10 quarterback. Why would you trade in? Do you think other teams are stupid. We’ve got bigger problems than Winston fur sure.

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      • To be clear, Horse, I’m not actually saying trade him away. I’m a huge believer in Jameis. I was just typing out my frustrations at the never ending things he has to live up to or change or do to appease this fanbase. It’s absurd at times. He will be a top 10 QB. The scheme he’s in actually magnifies his flaws. It doesn’t limit them. And yes, we have bigger issues than Jameis. Even if he’s contributed to some of the issues on the team.

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        • Jameis has to live up to being the no. 1 overall pick in the draft – that’s the burden that comes from such high expectations … and he has to live up to being the designated starting quarterback of a team that has given him more weapons to throw to than any other quarterback in the league today. Jameis has to live up to being midway through his third season, which most folks were calling his inevitable “breakout year”. Jameis has to live up to at least minimal standards of sportsmanship, which he clearly violated last Sunday with his dick act coming onto the field from the sideline to rap an opposing player ON THE BACK OF HIS HELMET, for gosh sakes. He was duly reprimanded by his head coach who declared that his starting quarterback should have been ejected from the game.

          There’s always excuses from the Winston fans, but no demands for performance, while they call for the heads of everybody else on the team, from the coaches to the receivers to the offensive line to the running backs to the tight ends and even to the defense.

          Everybody else is supposed to be accountable for what they do on the field, except Jameis Winston, apparently, whose supporters have an endless supply of excuses.

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    • we should ride with Jameis for at least another year. build an OLine in the meantime. I wouldn’t mind drafting Chubb but i’d be much more excited with Mike Mcglinchey OT, Notre Dame. He could be one of the best OT in the league plus it’s a position of need

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  2. Trade Winston? That’s probably what the Falcons thought of a young Brett Farve, when they dealt the wild child to G.B.. It took a real coach, Holmgrem to mold him into a HOFer. I think that’s what Winston needs, a real coach, a real G.M. to put players around him that help him succeed. Expecting a 23 yr old to carry a sorry franchise over the finish line is unrealistic. Scott did you hear what Gruden had to say about Winston’s antics? Pretty much what you said. Gruden, I’d tell him to tone it down. I’d tell him to follow Joe Montana’s example, be more of a flat liner. He went on to say he has all the talent in the world. He hates losing, and the Bucs are bad right now. He needs to take this time to heal, and reevaluate all he’s done so far. I think he’ll do just that. What we need is someone like Gruden to help him along. The current regime is not getting that done.

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    • Maybe,surfer.

      Maybe a new coaching regime will transform Jameis as he’s been into a beautiful butterfly.

      Or not.

      Each year it’s been a litany of excuses. His rookie year, well, he’s a rookie, and he passed for a lot of yards .. but didn’t score many points, and it was all blamed on his coaches under the Lovie Smith regime. Second season, it was all blamed on having no running game, and no offensive line (both of which were actually pretty good during his ineffective rookie season … but whatever), and most of all, Jameis had no “weapons” to throw to (which was true, but maybe as it turned out not that relevant). Now this season, Jameis’s spotty performance is being blamed on “bad play calling”, and no offensive line – despite having more weapons to throw to than any other quarterback in the league.

      If the new regime comes in and decides they want to make Jameis play for his job in the last year of his rookie contract, I’m totally OK with that, but with the following caveats:

      1) No more excuses

      2) No more fake leadership. What Jameis and his fans call leadership is mere cheerleading, and it’s very old and very annoying. Practice real leadership by shutting up and performing on the field.

      If neither caveats are honored and he fails to perform like a fourth year quarterback who was the number one overall pick in the draft, then Jameis needs to go.

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      • It’s clear from the totally-expected mumber down votes that there are more Jameis Winston fans here than Bucs fans. Bucs fans demand performance from everybody associated with the franchise. For Winston fans, that applies to everybody EXCEPT Winston – the “sacred cow”.

        Jameis needs to be every bit as accountable as any other person on the team … no sacred cows, period.

        He needs to shape up or ship out.

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    • Surferdudes you’re slowly winning me over; still not there yet. We would have to have a very seasoned GM who understands what it takes to have a good defense.

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    • No, I did not see Gruden’s comments about Winston’s pre-game speech in New Orleans. Where and when did that occur? I would be interested in hearing it or seeing it.

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  3. Good Fab5, Scott.

    I like your recommendations on free agents ….. nobody on the team now should feel safe, even the ones you like and I like. A test in the last half of the season is to see who is still giving their all, and who is mailing it in when the playoffs are not a possibility. The mailers need to be given one way postage out of One Buc Place.

    As for Winston, you said what most Bucs fans are thinking. I rather suspect it is exactly what most of Winston’s teammates are thinking too. Amongst a certain contingent of Winston fans, it is sacrilige .. attacking the sacred cow.

    My answer to those who say, “Well, it’s just Jameis being Jameis” and “Let Jameis be Jameis!” is this

    If this is what Jameis is, it isn’t good enough. At least as far as performance on the field goes. Let Jameis be Jameis somewhere else, if this is all we’ll get.

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    • Naples I was a BIG supporter of Winston!
      I know he has been injured this season but I have to wonder if he made the choice to play and ignored med. staff to rest it a week or two. If that is the case not only did it cause him to be hurt worse but also may have hurt the team. I applaud his toughness but sometimes you have to do what is best for the team. IMO there are a lot of ??? MARKS with Winston.

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  4. One guy they have to really start thinking about as well is McCoy. He is the highest paid Buc and tho under contract, he only would count $500K against the cap. He is in position for a restructure to a more team friendly deal or a trade and sign somewhere else. Given the contracts that are coming up, it would seem smart business to handle this with him sooner than later. I’m personally not sure what I would do with him. The more film I watch isolating on him, the less sense it makes to me sinking huge money into a DT.

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  5. This team this year has been all talk and no substance. We have the talent on both sides of the ball (except D-line, minus McCoy). We jsut don’t seem to know how to win games. We lose because of Kicking. We lose because of the Offense. We lose because of the Defense. We lose because of bad play calling.

    Players aren’t even sure what our identity is. Let me tell you what are identity is. We are Under Dogs. Since the inception of this franchise, we have always been under dogs. Even in our Super Bowl season, we were under dogs. Doesn’t matter matter who the players are. Doesn’t matter if the media thinks we are about to have a big season. Doesn’t matter if we just went 10-6 and are “Youngry”. The moment we think we are great because of how we did last season, or last game, or last half, is the moment we forget who we are. We have to fight everyday, every practice, and every play, because the moment we lose a game, we are back to being the Yucks in every other fanbase’s eyes.

    We finished 9-6 last year. So what. You don’t get a ring for that. Who cares if you have more twitter followers because people liked you on Hard Knocks. How many wins does that get you? The moment we started expecting to win instead of fighting to win, is when the season was over. If we don’t play with an under dog mentality every game, then we are not winning anything.

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  6. As far as the “Winston sucks early in the game” argument. He is a young player who will continue to mature. The coaches and all of the captains need to help getting these guys motivated. That speech he gave in New Orleans was terrible, but even more terrible was the guys around him. That was the flattest group of guys (I’m saying before the whole finger licking thing) I’ve ever seen. Winston probably looked around and saw this, got desperate and failed miserably at a spontaneous attempt to get them going. Hopefully, someone else will emerge on this team to help motivate this team. This will develop. However, this can be learned. They so need one BAD A.. defensive stud that will come out and take this team by the throat. Maybe this is Chubb.

    All said, I would be much, much, much more worried if he lit it up in the first quarter only to fold like a cheap chair in the fourth. Folding late in games is often uncorrectable. Struggling early is more easily correctable.

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    • If being a consistent first half failure is “more easily correctible”, then why hasn’t it been corrected?

      Excuses excuses, always more excuses.

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      • Like I stated clearly. He’s a 23 year old maturing player.

        And I clearly stated they are more easily corrected. Not easily corrected. I never said they shouldn’t be corrected. Fact of the matter, 4th quarter leaders generally have it or don’t have it.


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  7. Man, I am trying not to start thinking about the draft already, but you definitely got me excited about Chubb. This team badly needs some nasty.

    Speaking of nasty, I love me some Jameis, but the “always positive” schtick has worn thin on me. Facing a horribly disappointing 2-6 start is no time for rah rah pregame crap. Seriously, could there have ever been an easier time to choose the right words before a game? “We’re a 2-5 football team. We suck. Is that who you are? Are you a 2-5 football player? Are we better than 2-5? Lets go show these motherf***ers who we really are!”

    That simple…end of story.

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  8. Jameis is 23 and maturing into his role as the leader of this team. Their will be growing pains but him being passionate is great maybe we need someone else to relay the message but that has been the problem since Sapp left. NOBODY ever delivers the message as a result it never happens. Jameis is not perfect but people so eloquently look at other young QBs having success and act like their offensive lines have nothing to do with it. Philly and Dallas protect their QB something Bonehead has still to get right. Our front office attempted and failed to address the line which has created minimal protection and zero lanes for the running game. Anybody that thinks writing of Jameis solves this problem is probably related to Licht. Terrible line of thinking, build around your QB and that happens with the OL. We know the running game is the key to the offense yet we stood pat at RB and OL, the problem is higher than Jameis.

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  9. Good points all, it’s obvious it’s not just one thing, or one player that’s holding this team back. We traded Steve young years ago, let Doug Williams walk, both turned into S.B. MVP’s. I’m not giving up on a 23 yr old first round pick. Jameis had a running game, and a defense when at FSU, we have neither. Geoff was a bust until McVay came along, and I believe as good as Wentz is, he’d struggle on this team. Enough of first time H.C., and G.M.’s. Glazers need to hire someone, to hire someone. Tom Coughlin has done wonders as the Jags president of football operations, we need that kind of person.

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  10. Well here comes one of the things I have said many times before? We need a lot of draft picks especially in the early rounds. For me I’m trading down 10 to 15 spots for a additional 2nd and 3rd rounder or an additional first-rounder. I’m convinced we need a left tackle who’s going to protect Jameis in 2018 first priority; I know we need defensive ends too; that’s why I’m suggesting we trade down and still pick up one or two good DE.

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  11. We know their are problems across the board on thi team. However I believe that Smith’s defense is a joke. It is non aggressive with no imagination. 4 down lineman with linebackers 5 yards from the line, corners 5 to 10 yds off the ball and safeties playing centerfield begs for long gains. When he does blitz the other team knows it’s coming and adjusts for usually big gains. That’s because instead of 4 linemen he puts 5 or 6 which doesn’t happen very much.

    In Carolina game they never touched Newton. You got to be kidding. 8 sacks in 8 games this is a joke.

    Watch good teams how they lineup 7 or 9 literally on the line. You never know when they are going to blitz. Corners right up against receivers on line chucking them at line if not blitzing.

    He has to go. Play aggressively to win not to lose! How bad can it get,

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  12. Cam Newton must be searching for the towel he puts over his head when his spit goes bad because we Bucs fans stole it and have thrown it into the middle of the Ring of Dishonor to announce we have given up on the season. How quick we often are to flip flop or lay in wait for something bad to happen so we can regurgitate our previous bias. Here, we seek any sort of crumb so we can do as we have for 40+ seasons…………. blame the QB and coach. Oh, how easy that is to do.

    Now we declare, the “team” is so fragile that Winston licking his fingers in a symbolic gesture or getting a win “W” causes each of these players to roll their eyes into the back of their head and go into a coma for the rest of the game. Perhaps if Jameis would simply echo Brady’s “Let’s go!” or copy Favre’s romps around the stadium with his fist raised, his teammates would play much better.

    There’s no question that, if only the youngster would just play as well as the aforementioned QB’s, the team of slackers could hang on for the ride. But Jameis looks around and sees that few on the team share his passion and work ethic. He goes a bit over the top sometimes to put the team on his sore shoulder. If only he could limit his energy to focusing on his own responsibilities instead of thinking he has to wake them up. If only he didn’t believe he has to do more, take chances and hope for the best outcome, he would play within himself.

    I don’t have time to do a bunch of analysis, search the internet to get an expert’s opinion or stay at a Holiday Inn to get smarter. I go by what I see. To me this team has too many free agent players brought in as mercenaries who have done little to help the team win, unwilling to blame themselves, unwilling to adapt, so they become a disruption. They’re like the new hire who can’t live up to his resume’, talks about how they did it at his previous company and brings down his new co-workers . We all know the type who jumps from job to job.

    I’m pretty sure Scott and the Pewter Report clan have seen evidence. The free agents aren’t “Buccaneer Men”. Unfortunately the pattern of poor drafting had led to Jason Licht having to acquire free agents to supplement it. Look at the collection on the Defensive Line. We have but one draftee (McCoy) who has done anything while Ayers and Baker flounder. Look at the Secondary in which we thought we were getting a future star (Hargreaves) and having to replace him in the line-up with a cast-off (McClain). Look at the Special Teams and the parade of kickers because of the Aguayo fiasco.

    It all ties together. Poor drafting leads to imported free agents who do little, which leads to losses, which leads to regime changes and more of the same. It’s Groundhog Day all over again. Patriots, Packers, and my hometown Steelers are consistent winners. They draft well, limit free agents and keep the regime intact.

    When’s the Draft?

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    • Scubog, that makes good sense. I’m putting this on Licht because we have come full circle once again. Rather than obtaining additional draft picks by trading down and actually using them to build your team for the now and future, Licht always trades back up and there goes those extra draft picks.

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  13. Jamies is in doubt by this ownership and management do you really think Bucs are going to place a franchise tag and pay 22-26 Million a year on a QB that has been a constant 87% QB rating with more losses than wins. Not a chance!
    The question is do you want to solve QB problem 2018 draft year or wait till 2019 after Jamies Rockie contract runs out.
    If they base this team next year on Jamies we will have good shot at first pick 2019.
    I would rather fix team new QB and coach end of this year
    Giants have 3 easy games left Bucs will be looking at 3rd pick this year.
    Clevland will not draft QB that leaves one good QB available at 4 million a year Glazers like those numbers.

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  14. Scott, those comments were from his call in last Weds, every Weds, around 7 A.M. on the Mike & Mike show.

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  15. The Bucs really need to nail the first three picks in next years draft. There are some very talented players in this draft and NC State’s DE Bradley Chubb is the top DE. The Bucs could pick as low as number 5 or somewhere between 5 and 10. Chubb may go as high as number 4. DE Harold Landry, Boston College and DE Arden Key, LSU, are both special players and should be available when the Bucs pick. If S Minkah Fitzpatrick (6-2 216) Alabama is still there when the Bucs pick, he will be difficult to pass up. He can play safety, nickel corner, and outside corner. Fitzpatrick is a versatile defender with the size, athleticism, instincts and play-making skills to handle multiple roles in the defensive backfield. The Bucs should go DE in the first, then CB in the second then move back into the second to draft a RB. I like CB Tarvarus McFadden (6-1 201), Florida State and RB Nick Chubb (5-10 228) Georgia.

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