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Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds solutions your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account every week within the Bucs Monday Mailbag. Submit your query to the Bucs Monday Mailbag every week by way of Twitter utilizing the hashtag #PRMailbag. Listed below are the questions we selected to reply for this week’s version.
QUESTION: The season hasn’t began but, however what’s your guess about what place will get focused with subsequent 12 months’s first-round decide?
ANSWER: That’s a superb query. Given the truth that Lavonte David’s contract is up after this season, and he’s 32, I might say inside linebacker is a large want. I might say that’s the highest want given the significance of the place in Todd Bowles’ protection. Even when David is re-signed for a 12 months a high-quality alternative must be discovered. The Bucs hope it’s fifth-round decide Ok.J. Britt, however they actually received’t know till he will get an prolonged look on protection in coaching camp and the preseason. Britt isn’t near being the athlete that David is.
Additionally value contemplating is that Professional Bowl inside linebacker Devin White will even be getting into a contract 12 months in 2023. White must step up this 12 months and grow to be a extra constant tackler and playmaker. That has to occur to ensure that the Bucs to justify paying him over $20 million per season.
The within linebacker place is just not very deep or gifted in 2023 – a minimum of not now. Clemson’s Trenton Simpson can be a wonderful slot in Bowles’ protection. Oregon’s Noah Sowell and Justin Flowe, Alabama’s Henry To’oTo’o and Texas’ DeMarvion Overshown are different choices.
If it’s not linebacker the highest want within the 2023 NFL Draft is likely to be cornerback. That might be a worst-case state of affairs as a result of both Sean Murphy-Bunting and/or Jamel Dean did not dwell as much as expectations in 2022. The Bucs hope to re-sign each of these cornerbacks – or a minimum of one – subsequent offseason. If neither performs nicely sufficient to get a second contract, cornerback turns into a urgent want for Tampa Bay.
QUESTION: I nonetheless really feel the weakest of this crew is the defensive backs. Do you agree?
ANSWER: It’s doable. Accidents actually affected the defensive backfield in a really unfavourable method final 12 months. No place was hit more durable than cornerback the place the crew was compelled to start out first-year reserve Dee Delaney for a pair of video games and play backup Ross Cockrell a bunch. The Bucs additionally needed to signal Richard Sherman and Pierre Desir off the road. Each gamers acquired 5 begins between them as cornerbacks Carlton Davis III and Sean Murphy-Bunting missed half the season.
But I really feel inspired by the additions of veterans Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal. Ryan can play cornerback, slot cornerback and security, whereas Neal is an skilled sturdy security. He’ll assist make up for the lack of Jordan Whitehead and compete with security Mike Edwards. Murphy-Bunting, Edwards and Jamel Dean are all getting into contract years and ought to be motivated to have nice seasons. If cornerback Zyon McCollum can develop and contribute on protection as a rookie that can solely bolster the defensive backfield.
Not solely do the defensive backs have to remain wholesome and play nicely, in addition they need to make performs. Davis, Dean and Murphy-Bunting must step up as playmakers and decide off extra passes. The trio solely had three mixed INTs in 2021. Dean had two, Davis had one and Murphy-Bunting didn’t have a single decide.
QUESTION: Curious if the Bucs would think about using Scotty Miller on alternative routes out of the slot? Tom Brady’s had success with two totally different guys with comparable statures and ability units.
ANSWER: I do know Scotty Miller has drawn comparisons to former Patriots receivers Julian Edelman and Wes Welker. All three had been quick, smallish, white receivers – if we’re being truthful within the descriptions. However New England’s offense differs from Tampa Bay’s. The slot receiver place with the Bucs requires an even bigger, extra bodily slot receiver. Assume Hines Ward in Pittsburgh, Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis and Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. All had been a minimum of 6-foot and over 200 kilos and really bodily.
Chris Godwin performs the slot function in Tampa Bay as a result of he suits that standards. And with Miller at 5-foot-9 round 170 kilos he simply doesn’t have that bodily make-up. He’s not a bodily blocker, and that’s why a participant like Tyler Johnson (6-foot-2, 200 kilos) is Godwin’s backup.
That doesn’t imply that Miller received’t often see some motion within the slot. However with the slot receiver doing quite a lot of blocking on the level of assault within the run recreation, that’s not the place Miller can assist the crew. He’s wanted on the skin the place he can stretch the sphere vertically. The Bucs have tried some quick broad receiver screens with Miller, however he’s extra quick than fast. Miller will want a fantastic camp to make the 53-man roster this 12 months.
QUESTION: With Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, do you assume the Bucs will retire No. 87? He solely performed two years for us, however he’s a future Corridor of Famer, and performed an enormous function for us successful one other Tremendous Bowl.
ANSWER: There’s little question that Rob Gronkowski performed an enormous function in serving to the Bucs win Tremendous Bowl LV in 2020 and win 13 video games within the 2021 common season. However the truth that he didn’t have a Professional Bowl season and didn’t set any data on the tight finish place in Tampa Bay means the Bucs received’t be retiring No. 87.
The truth that Gronkowski solely performed two seasons in Tampa Bay is a giant motive. And that will even hold him out of the Bucs Ring of Honor – rightfully so.
But it’s totally different with quarterback Tom Brady, who will play three seasons with the Bucs. He set a number of franchise data along with serving to the Bucs win the Tremendous Bowl and will certainly be within the Bucs Ring of Honor. Whether or not or not the Bucs retire No. 12 is unsure. However Brady’s Bucs profession has definitely been extra distinguished than that of Gronkowski.
QUESTION: I used to be questioning about your emotions and the gamers’ emotions on the 17-week common season and the additional playoff spot. I do know it received’t be modified, but it surely looks like extra probability for harm with no additional pay. And it’s much less probability for fringe gamers to point out their abilities in recreation conditions. What do you’re feeling the additional week has added, if something?
ANSWER: Going to 17 weeks within the common season has had three constructive advantages. The primary is an additional common season recreation for the NFL house owners and the TV networks to allow them to make more cash. Preseason video games aren’t nicely attended throughout the league by followers, and that hurts concession and parking income when much less followers are within the stands. TV rankings are way more sturdy for normal season video games than preseason video games, too.
The second profit is eliminating a preseason recreation helps the house owners and in addition the followers. The followers didn’t like having to pay for 2 preseason dwelling video games and having to observe 4 exhibition video games in complete.
The third profit is just extra soccer. The transfer to 17 video games means extra single-season data will fall throughout the league, and that’s thrilling for followers. The additional playoff spot per convention advantages the groups that make that additional playoff spot, their followers and the networks that get an additional recreation to televise.
I just like the transfer to 17 and in the end assume it’ll transfer to an 18-game common season sooner relatively than later. The gamers don’t prefer it as a result of it’s an additional week of bodily grind and punishment with out a larger paycheck. The house owners will argue that the wage cap will rise with extra tv and gate income because of yet one more common season recreation. The gamers will in the end make extra on their subsequent contract because of this. There’s some reality to that.
I believe the gamers – and the league – would profit from a further bye week, particularly if it goes to 18 video games. The gamers want an additional week of relaxation and restoration from an extended season. And I believe that can assist them recuperate from accidents and forestall them too. The tip outcome can be extra of the league’s star gamers on the sphere. And that’s not a nasty factor.