Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs fans and SR’s Fab 5 readers commented on the most recent column which laid out the case for a 10-win season that concludes with a trip to the playoffs. What does PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds have to say? Find out right here.
Welcome to another installment of SR’s Fab 5 Reaction where every Tuesday I take the time to answer your questions and respond to your comments from the previous week’s SR’s Fab 5 column. Due to time constraints from my responsibilities as publisher, I am unable to respond to every reader comment each week, but I do read every one of them.
Comments have only been edited for clarity and grammar. Now on to your comments.
Enjoyed your win-loss predictions and rationale, Scott. There’s no reason this team can’t win the 10 games you speculated and “shock the world” as Muhammad Ali would say.
Yes, there are areas where a better starter and greater depth is needed, but that can be said of every team. To me, the difference-maker this season is going to be the overall team psyche starting with Dirk Koetter and his staff.
The defeatist attitude that would overcome the team at times under Lovie Smith was all too common at the first sign of trouble. None more telling than Lavonte David’s acknowledgement on the very first play of last season. I sense an increased confidence and a belief in our second-year QB that will prevent the team going in the tank if the opponent makes a play.
The 20 most important players nearly noted every starter, but one key player was absent – punter Bryan Anger. Last year our rookie punter was one of the worst in the league. Anger is one of the best. That five-plus-yard increase can be, as that obnoxious Kia salesman screams, “HUGE, Tampa HUGE!”
It’s absolutely comical when folks start predicting the 2017 NFL Draft positions when at this point Carolina is on their way to picking first and Denver last. One time I’d like to see these self-appointed experts make a truly bold prediction. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if they acknowledged that Dallas just might suck? – scubog
Thank you, scubog. Getting a road win in Atlanta was a big key to the possibility of a 10-6 record, and they accomplished that feat. I hear what you are saying about Bryan Anger, and that’s a good point. He clearly outkicked Jacob Schum during the preseason and won that job. Hopefully the Bucs don’t have to use him that often this year, and I think that was my rationale in leaving him off the list. I do agree it’s incredibly hard to forecast draft positioning and players right now, but it’s entertaining fodder at the very least. – SR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Getty Images
Realizing predictions are silly at this point, I keep coming up with a range of 7-9 wins. The positives are Dirk Koetter’s passion and Mike Smith’s D, which should be night and day better vs. Lovie Smith’s not-so-lovable-losers last year, and Jameis Winston’s continued development.
But the O-line is suspect, and wide receiver is too with one potentially elite starter, one strong, but aging contributor, and little productive speed in the group. And depth overall is our Achilles heel.
We probably win one or two more games than our talent suggests because of Jameis elevating the players around him and lose one or two that were winnable because of injuries and a chronic lack of quality depth. Despite all that I have to say it’s great believing in the team again for the first time since Jon Gruden left! – matador
There is definitely optimism in the air. I think fans predicting a 9-7 record was wishful thinking last year, but forecasting 9-7 (or better) is more rooted in reality in 2016. The Bucs aren’t deep at a few spots like wide receiver and defensive tackle, and have already lost a very good pass rusher in defensive end Jacquies Smith for the season. They can’t afford to lose too many others to injury or the chance for a great season is in jeopardy. – SR
I would expect a 9-7 season. We do face several of the strongest defenses in the NFL this year. Odds are that we will have injuries to more than one important player during the season.
If we did get to the playoffs by beating Carolina at the end we may well be meeting them again after our wild card win. That would be something exciting to see. We might be called “overachievers” at that point. I remember when we had a 10-6 record and still did not make the playoffs.
I heard a lot of comments on sports radio today regarding the refs’ failure to protect Cam Newton in the Denver vs. Carolina game. I don’t know if the Broncos defense always plays that way or that they just have it in for Cam. When we play them I expect that our guys won’t let them do that to Jameis Winston. Our fans should be the “12th man” and be extremely vocal and loud if necessary! Go Bucs! – XpfcWintergreen
If Jameis Winston got hit the way that Cam Newton did against Denver I think Demar Dotson, Ali Marpet, Joe Hawley, Donovan Smith and Kevin Pamphile would have something to say about that and not let the other team get away with it. I still think Carolina is the favorite to win the NFC South, but they looked surprisingly mortal against Denver. We’ll see. Maybe it’s the Bucs’ year? – SR
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
As always, I enjoyed the read. I could have done without the draft for 2017, though. Way to early to start worrying about such matters.
Can’t argue with your player rankings, either. It is of utmost importance that Jameis Winston continues to improve if the Bucs are to have a winning season. He manipulates the safety with his eyes like no other second-year quarterback I have ever seen and if he can continue to improve on moving defenders around with his eyes and body language a la Drew Brees, there isn’t a reason in the world he can’t be a top tier QB.
I would like to see him give back the pregame rah-rah speech to Clinton McDonald though because I think they get him too amped up. Liked seeing Joe Hawley up there on your list. The guy has some real needed attitude and isn’t afraid to mix it up or back down. – drdneast
Thank you, drdneast. I don’t think Jameis Winston is as good as Drew Brees is at manipulating safeties with his eyes yet, but he is a very capable quarterback in just his second year. I do agree that Winston does get a little too amped up before the game, and that may contribute to some of his slow starts, such as the one he had last week in the season opener at Atlanta. Good point, but I think Winston will continue to leave the pre-game hype. – SR
That was a great SR’s Fab 5 and the last one before the season begins. Damn, I’m excited! For our record this year, 10-6 is very possible, but the pessimist in me sees about eight wins. I think we are one more year away from the playoffs, but hey, with Jameis Winston, anything is possible.
I think our defense will make a huge bounce back this year. I mean really, as a Bucs fan, isn’t it going to be exciting to not consistently see the same base 4-3 defense every damn play? Not just last year, but we’ve been seeing the same defense for like 20 years now.
I’m going to say 8-8 or maybe 9-7. Of course, as stated above, injuries to a specific player or players can derail any season.
Fab 2. A pretty solid list and I would put some of those offensive linemen a bit higher, especially Ali Marpet and Donovan smith. Our running game didn’t look great this preseason, and I think a lot of that had to do with not having the same guys out there every game, especially Marpet.
Fab 3. I’m glad the preseason is over as it’s just a horrible tease. I admit myself, I got caught up in the Danny Vitale hype a bit and was surprised to see him not make the squad.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston, LT Donovan Smith and RB Charles Sims – Photo by: Getty Images
Fab 4. It’s hard to look at next offseason already, but I hope we are picking much later than some experts have us. I could see us around the 15 -20 area. Tough to tell who will be there, but I think receiver is something we will definitely have to look at. Mike Williams is a monster but he might go top 10. Those running backs will be plentiful that’s for sure as well.
As for season guesses, here are a few.
Let me know what you guys think.
1. Jameis Winston will eclipse 30+ passing TDs.
2. Mike Evans will have 10+ TDs this year
3. Hargreaves will have 5+ Ints this year
4. The Bucs will have not one but two double-digit sack artists this year. Smith and McCoy are the two I think that will do it
5. Bucs will be top 10 in least amount of penalties this year
6. Charles Sims has 800 + receiving yards and 6+ receiving TDs this year
Just having some fun here. Go Bucs! – cgmaster27
Thank you, cgmaster27. I thought Danny Vitale would be more physical at the point of attack than he way, but the truth is that he never did much in-line blocking or lead blocking at Northwestern where he was the primary offensive weapon. I too believe the Bucs will end up picking in the late teens or in the 20s in next year’s draft. As for your predictions, I can agree with the first three, but it might be difficult for the Bucs to have two double-digit sackers this year. I too thought Jacquies Smith would have a chance to be a 10-plus sack guy, but alas, he’s on injured reserve with an unfortunate ACL injury. You just made Dirk Koetter’s day by forecasting the Bucs will be in the top 10 in the least amount of penalties, and I could see Charles Sims being a receiving force in 2016. He’s off to a good start, right? – SR
Scott, great SR’s Fab 5. I’m real excited about this season. As a Canadian fan from Toronto, I don’t get the opportunity to get to Ray-Jay like most Bucs fans, but I was down for Christmas last year and saw the defense wilt against the Bears in the second-to-last week.
Needless to say I was really disappointed – not with the defensive personnel, but with Lovie Smith’s predictable defense. As a fan of the Bucs since 1995, I was excited to see an offense for a change. That’s today’s NFL, and man, are the Bucs fun to watch again.
I’m a little more conservative with the win total, likely 9-7, but they can go either 8-8 or 10-6, too. It’s a tougher schedule than last year for sure. Hey, they’re not going to win the Super Bowl this year (statistically speaking, although we all hope so), so let’s have fun watching them improve as a team and making strides towards contention in the long term. I have my Sunday Ticket so I will be cheering from afar but my heart lies in my second home. – CDNBUCSFAN
Thank you, CDNBUCSFAN. I appreciate you accessing PewterReport.com from Canada. We love having visitors from other countries. Yes, the Bucs are fun to watch, and Dirk Koetter is a big reason for that. We’ll see if the fun continues in Arizona this Sunday. – SR
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
Still think anything above 8-8 is overly optimistic. 4-6 wins more likely. Can’t take anything away from beating a bad Falcons team.
A Division road win – gotta disagree w/ you on that…I will admit that I started to have a Washington flashback for a minute there in the 4th, though
4-6 wins, are you nuts? 8-8 would disappoint us fans. I thought a tough game would be the Rams. I’m thinking 11 wins this year. GO BUCS
We not only play Atlanta again, we play the Saints 2 times, the Rams who are terrible, SF, who has a good defense but no offense, and Dallas with a rookie QB and running back. Those are just the very winnable games. Not to mention if we steal a few against some of the top tier teams.
If they win the ones they should, and have just a couple of the close games go their way. 10 – 6 is very possible.
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