PewterReport.com began a new offseason feature this year, giving readers an opportunity to get their questions answered about the Bucs by the PR staff. Today, Mark Cook answers five questions taken from Twitter submissions and our message boards using the hashtag #PRMailbag.
Question 1. BucsReign wants to know, do you think the Bucs giving up long pass plays still is indicative of poor scheme or poor techniques/talent in the secondary?
Answer: There are so many possibilities but nearly impossible to pin it on just one thing. First and foremost, I would think one of the biggest factors is the lack of a pass rush. Without looking back on the game tape, I am guessing on a majority of the “explosive” plays, there was little or no pass rush from the Buccaneers defense.
I like the technique being taught by the secondary coaches, especially compared to the last staff. I have seen the coaches up close in practice and the specific technique and attention to detail they drill these guys on. Of course part of a good coach is getting the message through to the players. And certainly there is something to the fact of these guys learning a brand new system. Which is night and day to what they have done the last two years.
I would like to think it gets better as the year progresses, but I am a glass half-full guy. Time will tell, but something needs to start turning around soon or this promising season could get out of hand quickly.
Question 2. ShugSmith asks, how long can we stick with our safeties before we make a claim off waivers, or give Ryan Smith a chance?
Answer: It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Bucs begin to start giving Smith more opportunities. We saw them work Keith Tandy into the rotation on Sunday, and unfortunately it was Tandy on the end of a long TD pass to Tavon Austin. Smith has two disadvantages working against him. First is the fact he played at such a small school, and also secondly, he missed part of the offseason with injuries that slowed his development, not to mention transitioning from a college corner to an NFL safety.
If the Bucs find themselves staring at a 3-7 record or something along those lines at some point this season, I would expect the team to see exactly what Smith can do. Both Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald are on one-year deals, so the team at some point will need to see what the rookie can do in live game action.
Question 3. CaliBuccaneers asks, what’s up with VJax? Something seems off. Same thing happened to Roddy in ATL. What r chances we resign VJ?
Answer: That is the $9.7 million dollar question. And one that needs an answer. Is Jackson still having lingering effects from his injury last year? Highly doubtful as he didn’t look hampered at all in the offseason program or in training camp. Is Jackson just slowing down due to his length of time in the league? That sounds more likely to me. Or maybe there is a chemistry issue between he and Winston. Whatever it is, the Bucs need a better and more effective Jackson. The drop on the last drive – despite what would have been a tough catch – was costly. However Winston completely missed him a few plays later for what would have been the game-wining score.
Question 4. Morgan asks, does 4-12 Koetter get a second season?
Answer: In my opinion, and just total speculation, I would say no. A lot of factors would go into a decision like that, however. Obviously if Winston got hurt and missed significant time, or there were more injuries on both sides of the ball it can’t be blamed on Koetter, but if this team stays relatively healthy and just falls off the track then he certainly would be on the hot seat. We know the Glazers aren’t bashful about making changes, but they already have caught some flack by some for the coaching turnover since the end of the 2012 season and I wonder if they factor that in a decision if your record scenario came true. Some coaches are just natural coordinators, but let’s not forget Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick were both fired from their first NFL head coaching jobs. It is way too early to say which Koetter is, but I as a media member do appreciate his frankness, and from what we have been told, so do the players.
Question 5. Alldaway commented, the double A-gap blitzes worked when used. Why did Mike Smith stop using them during the Rams game?
Answer: Very good question and one we won’t have an answer for until Thursday when we get a chance to talk to Smith siting his weekly press conference. I love seeing an aggressive blitzing defense, but you better get there. I do know some of the defensive guys leading up to the game, talked about Case Keenum and the Rams offense getting the ball out quick, limiting chances to get to him. Maybe Smith figured he would let things happen in front of them.
And of course if you blitz and Todd Gurley is able to get past the front line and into the secondary, he was liable to break it for a long one. Sometimes, especially on run blitzes, you run yourself right out out the play. But that is all just speculation until we can talk to coach.
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
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. we have lost two games. One that we should have expected to lose and one that we did not. We still have one of the best QB’s in the league, and one of the best receivers. Martin will be back in a couple of weeks, If Ayers comes back and our Pass rush improves, this season can still end on a positive outcome.
After I got over my emotional response to the Rams loss I’m back to still hopeful. The next two games are going to be tough to win but I believe that if the Bucs can manage to win one of the two then I’ll hold on to hope. Winning both would be great but I’m not that confident in this team. But if they can put together a complete game it’s not out of the question to take one of the two. It would go a long way toward confidence moving forward. 2-3 going into the bye with another winnable game in SF would be OK with me. They’ve got to figure out the secondary scheme. I saw several players looking confused during the last game. Like they didn’t know where to line up or what coverage they were in. The offense can score. If the defense can just put together a good game they’ll have a chance.
I agree 26. Folks, look at the list of teams that are 1-2. Several elite teams on that list.
I bet the Bucs are really regretting not taking Vonn Bell when they traded up into the second round. Because Aguayo has be trash so far and was a key part in us losing that game. Also we need help at safety, cause Conte and Tandy are awful, and Mcdougald has not fully lived up to his potential. So if we used that 2nd round pick on Vonn Bell, we would have gotten the help on our back end, and could have just signed Robbie Gould and been fine at kicker.
never mind Robbie Gould…we had Connor Barth under contract who is a vey fine kicker…Chicago thanks us.
VJax has retired.
EastEndBoy, I’m not defending Arroyo and if he doesn’t get his head on straight he needs to be cut but your percepetion of Barth isn’t real good either.
I saw Barth miss a kick in a televised game recently, he missed his share of kicks last year as well, and the announcer said the specific reason Barth was on the team was a cost cutting move to which the other booth analyst said, “Well, you pay for what you get.”
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