PewterReport.com began a new offseason feature this year, giving readers an opportunity to get their questions answered by the PR staff. Today, Mark Cook answers five questions taken from Twitter submissions using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Each week, five of the questions used will earn the person who asked it one of our new Tampa Bay schedule refrigerator magnet.
Question 1. Ross Kalman ask, what are the Bucs planning to do to get Winston off to a faster start?
Answer: That is a great question and one that Dirk Koetter and his staff are most likely thinking about on a regular basis. Perhaps coming out in a hurry-up, no-huddle attack would help. Maybe letting Winston complete a couple short passes to the backs. Or maybe just living with the fact he tends to be a streaky quarterback is the answer. As an FSU fan I saw it first hand, in particular during the 2014 season, when the FSU offense dug themselves an early hole in many games that they had to come back from in the second half. The problem with that is, this is the NFL, not the NCAA, and constantly digging out of holes is a recipe for a five win season – or worse. Winston hasn’t always been a slow starter however, as evidenced by his first ever collegiate start as a redshirt freshman where he completed over 90 percent of his passes that night against Pitt, or even last season’s Eagles game where he threw five touchdown passes. But it may just ultimately be something Winston himself must figure out on his own.
Bucs WR Kenny Bell makes a grab with CB Josh Robinson defending. – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Question 2. Shug Smith asks, If Bell don’t make the 53, will he be added to the practice squad, & can he develop there w/out a team getting him?
Answer: That certainly would be an option, the only problem is, by placing him on the practice squad, he is fair game for the other 31 teams in the NFL. Of course they would have to add him to their active roster, and if he doesn’t show enough for the Bucs to keep him, I am not sure any other teams would be prepared to claim him and put him on their active roster. With no one behind Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Adam Humphries doing much to distinguish themselves, Bell is still in the mix. But make no mistake, the Bucs will be scouring the waiver wire once cuts begin, and we also know Jason Licht isn’t adverse to a potential trade if the receiver position doesn’t organically sort itself out. But I haven’t given up on Bell. He still has a couple weeks to turn it around.
Question 3. Douglas O’Connor asks, The next morning after the 53 man roster is set, what is the 1st position Jason Licht looks at to tweak the team?
Answer: As mentioned above, the wide receiver position is one I expect the Bucs to take a look at, but if I had to speculate on one position they have the most questions about, it would be safety. The Bucs are very happy with Chris Conte, but after that there are a lot of question marks. While Bradley McDougald is currently the starter, there are some in the organization who wonder if he is the long-term solution. After that, the depth is thin, although the Bucs thought enough of Keith Tandy to re-sign him this past offseason.
Question 4. Larry Kuderick asks, Mark, any indication that Danny Vitale can become a reliable short yardage back? I like Martin, but Alstott was always clutch.
Bucs FB-TE Danny Vitale – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Answer: Larry, they are really two different type backs. Both are tough hard-nosed football players, but Vitale’s forte is not running the football. I am not saying he can’t, but in Koetter’s offense, the fullback just doesn’t get the football, even in short yardage situations. Of course, now that I type this, Vitale will get 10 carries in the next two games! Seriously though, the Bucs drafted him to be a versatile player that can contribute on special teams, be a lead blocker in heavy packages and also be a threat as a receiver. Vitale hasn’t really stood out yet this preseason, but I spoke to a member of the organization who said the team is pleased with what they have seen from him so far.
Question 5. DMosh asks Ryan Griffin doesn’t look like a replacement for Mike Glennon. Does the team agree, and will he make the cut this year?
Answer: It is still too early to tell. Griffin hasn’t been terrible, but he also hasn’t stood out. He seems like he has a good arm, and has a grasp of the offense, but his decision making is still questionable. It is really difficult to get a fair assessment on him from a reporter’s standpoint, as he has been working with a majority of players who won’t be here two weeks from today, but at the same time, throwing INTs has little, if anything, to do with his surrounding cast. The Bucs understand Glennon is gone after this season, and they have some time invested in Griffin, but there are no guarantees he sticks. I would almost guess he ends up on the practice squad, and in the event the Bucs do trade Glennon before the deadline, then he would be brought up. The fact is, the backup QB market is thin around the league, and I am not sure who that is out there that is better.
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
Mark, I can’t help it. Bell, Vitale, Griffin:Really?
Hey I don’t submit the questions lol. Just answer them when they come in.
Mark, it wasn’t the question, it was your answers to the questions that had me baffled. They were soft answers. So let me throw out some thoughts on a couple players. ASJ has to yet prove that he is a consistent TE. Bell has yet to prove he can catch a pass and then take the contact, Vitale is a public relations creation and has shown nothing except he should go on PS. Griffin has shown why New Orleans were willing to release him and put him on the PS knowing some sucker might pick him up him.
If only you could read my texts and listen in on my off the record conversations. A lot of my opinion is based on my sources. I try and give you guys an “informed” opinion.
Good, I thought you had been compromised. Glad to hear you are the old Mark still. My bag.
@horse, I’m with you on Bell – he seems like a WR with poor hands, hence why every team kept passing on him in the draft…and on Vitale too – don’t we draft that guy every year (the TE from someplace that we “stole” in the 7th round)…and Griffin too – couldn’t have said it better (NO are no dummies…well sometimes they are). BUT, on ASJ – he’s been an excellent TE on the field in really every opportunity he’s every had with us (including playing with 2nd teamers last week). The only disappointment I can see is that he’s been oft injured, but he’s hardly been inconsistent IMO.
We should have signed Boldin we need WR depth bad although I don’t want us to sign Roddy White because I feel like he just has nothing left and would turn into a liability
If the Bucs add a WR it needs to be one with speed and reliable hands. Hey if Im Licht Im calling the Redskins to see about a potential Vincent Jackson/DeSean Jackson switch. The Redskins have plenty of young speed guys that are cheaper and could actually use the big bodied reliable possession WR that VJax has turned into. DeSean brings the speed element we need plus the ability to return punts, the contracts are similar with VJax coming off the book next year. Far fetched but still something needs to be done to address the speed on the outside in this offense.
Stlbucsfan, that’s a creative solution and I like it.
@stlbucsfan, while I too applaud the creativity, that trade would be like trading a gem for a cancer. VJax is loved, admired, respected by his teammates (one of the all time great Buc-men)….DJax is, well, the opposite…and if we are getting tired of ASJ being hurt, DJax is the king of the IR. I live in DC, and people here were pretty happy when they drafted Doctson…
@eastendboy VJax is definitely loved but is aging and is coming off an injury plagued season himself. I personally think between Mike Evans and the TEs we can absorb his loss in the passing game. By adding Desean he would walk the safeties back a step, which helps the run game, ASJ over the middle and even Mike Evans who wouldnt have coverage rolled to his side as much. I understand your concerns my friend but respectfully disagree. I believe in Deseans game breaking speed more than Vincent as an aging possession receiver.
speed would definitely be a welcome addition…
Mark, can you enlighten me as to why many (seemingly) Bucs fans are so much about Kenny Bell and Dan Vitale? Also, why do I keep seeing and hearing Dan Vitale’s name used in the same sentence as Mike Alstott? There is no comparison to Dan Vitale and Mike Alstott. That’s like comparing Storm Johnson to Warrick Dunn.
No question two different type of players. Honestly I think we know where some of the comparisons to Alstott and Vitale come from and it isn’t only because they are both from the state of Illinois. With that said, both are blue collar lunch pail guys. But Vitale is a legit 4.5 guy. Although he isn’t the tailback that Alstott was.
I haven’t heard much about expectations for our offensive line. (No news is good news?)
Will we have anything definite on Sweezy by season start? What can we expect from Pamphile and Smith as far as blind side protection for Winston? We have to face at least four or five of the top NFL defenses with our schedule. Could make a big difference how our season goes.
@xpfcwintergreen – there has been some stuff written on the web so far and it’s mostly along these lines (their analysis, not mine to take credit for): our Oline looks questionable; Smith looks very capable when he’s on (they seem to point to him making first positive contact with DEs as a good sign, versus getting moved around by DEs), but looks horrible when he’s off…and that seems to be play-by-play. That’s gotta be pretty worrying for us, but perhaps is also a sign of his age and maybe he’ll grow out of it to be more consistent…let’s hope so. Pamphile does not seem like he’s capable of making us forget Logan Mankins, and Sweezy appears to have the back of a 75 year old man…that’s a concern too. At Center, we have 2 journeymen that are not capable of picking up the slack on the left side – they may be average on an average line but with questions on our left side they look worse too. The right side looks adequate.
My expectation is that our Oline will play much like last year – ranking in the middle of the pack somewhere but not going to challenge the Cowboys for supremacy or anything. And that will mean Winston getting hit a lot again this year (99 times last year). But it will also mean we probably lead the league again in 6-man formations (recall Pamphile the “TE” last year?), 2 TE sets (ASJ and Brate – or the HB in to block), and run the ball first…all probably not a bad thing.
Vitale will likely make the team, but mainly play just special teams his rookie year. Stocker will likely get most of the fullback /H-back type work. Vitale is completely over hyped by the fan base.
I guess we will not be deep at Oline, so we must pray for fewer injuries.
I believe our run game will depend a lot on the health of Marpet and Dotson as well. (Yes, I heard about the boot Marpet was wearing today.)
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