Bucs Monday Mailbag: Who Wins RB2 Job?


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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 through Twitter utilizing the hashtag #PRMailbag. Listed here are the questions we selected to reply for this week’s version.

QUESTION: Who sees extra work because the RB2 on the staff – Rachaad White, Ke’Shawn Vaughn or Giovani Bernard?

ANSWER: The guess right here is rookie Rachaad White as a result of he’s the Bucs’ shiny new toy. I didn’t imagine for a second that the staff thought Ke’Shawn Vaughn was “lead again” materials regardless of assertions from former head coach Bruce Arians and basic supervisor Jason Licht. If Tampa Bay thought Vaughn was “lead again” caliber, the staff wouldn’t have spent a third-round decide on White simply two years after drafting Vaughn within the third spherical.

Bucs RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn

Bucs RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

Now, White has but to play a down within the NFL, whereas Vaughn is getting into his third season within the league. However White has gotten rave evaluations from coaches and scouts in the course of the OTAs. The truth that he’s quicker, extra athletic and higher within the passing sport makes White a extra engaging possibility at RB2 – except Vaughn actually steps up his sport in coaching camp, which may occur.

Vaughn had a breakthrough sport at Carolina final December with 70 yards and a landing on seven carries with Leonard Fournette out of the lineup. However within the subsequent three video games, Vaughn carried the ball 35 occasions for simply 110 yards and two touchdowns for a pedestrian 3.2 yards per carry. Whereas he did a greater job of catching the ball down the stretch, he solely had six catches for 35 yards. That’s a sub-par 5.8-yard receiving common.

I believe what Vaughn did – or didn’t do – in these previous few video games with out Fournette prompted the Bucs to draft White. Tampa Bay wants a quicker again with extra elusiveness, and somebody who could make issues occurs out of the backfield within the passing sport. White caught 43 passes for 456 yards (10.6 avg.) and a landing final yr at Arizona State.

As for Giovani Bernard, he’s flashed a few occasions when wholesome, and he does deliver veteran expertise again to Tampa Bay. However the way forward for the place seems to be White – first as RB2 and probably as RB1 down the street, ultimately changing Fournette, who turned 27 this yr. However first, White might want to beat out Vaughn, and he’ll have to proceed his offseason momentum into coaching camp and the preseason to perform that feat.

QUESTION: How’s Tristan Wirfs’ leg?

ANSWER: Bucs All-Professional proper sort out Tristan Wirfs didn’t want surgical procedure on his severely sprained ankle. Wirfs injured his ankle towards Philadelphia within the Wild Card spherical of the 2022 NFL playoffs. He missed the Rams sport the next week. There was some hypothesis that Wirfs might not be able to take part in on-field practices till the obligatory mini-camp in June.

However Wirfs has been a full participant on the voluntary OTAs and is doing all the pieces from particular person unit drills to full 11-on-11 intervals with no in poor health results. If Wirfs isn’t at 100%, he’s awfully shut. And he’ll have shut to 2 months off earlier than coaching camp begins in late July.

QUESTION: What sort of QB pressures can we count on with Shaq Barrett, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Vita Vea and Will Gholston? And what in regards to the linebackers and defensive backs?

ANSWER: Pewter Report’s Josh Queipo truly did an article on this over the weekend. The quartet of defenders you talked about recorded 27.5 sacks final yr. Queipo predicts a mixed enhance to 38.5 this season for these gamers. Tampa Bay had 47 sacks final yr. That was one lower than the staff recorded in 2020 en path to profitable Tremendous Bowl LV.

Bucs OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka

Bucs OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka – Picture by: USA Right now

Contemplating that the Bucs bought 8.5 sacks from the staff’s inside linebackers and blitzing defensive backs, that might put the staff at 47 sacks once more. The wild card could possibly be rookie defensive sort out Logan Corridor, who’s changing Ndamukong Suh. In a current look on the Pewter Report Podcast, Bucs defensive finish Will Gholston mentioned he may see Corridor getting six sacks or extra in 2022. Suh notched six sacks final yr, so that might put Tampa Bay’s projected sack complete at 53.

But, even the good Warren Sapp solely recorded three sacks as a part-time starter throughout his rookie season. It’s at all times exhausting for rookie defensive tackles to come back in and have quick success. Though, Santana Dotson set the rookie document for sacks in Tampa Bay in the course of the 1992 season with 10. If Corridor has six sacks throughout his rookie season, that might be thought of an incredible begin to his Bucs profession.

QUESTION: How a lot are the Bucs mortgaging their future with prorated bonuses being given in 2021/2022? It looks like there’s a mountain of lifeless cap cash coming that can go away us noncompetitive for just a few years.

ANSWER: There isn’t any doubt that Tom Brady’s return has saved the staff’s Tremendous Bowl window open yet another season. And sure, the Bucs have mortgaged their future to a level. Because it stands proper now the Bucs are projected to be $47 million over subsequent yr’s wage cap. Brady’s lifeless cap hit of simply over $35 million is the largest motive. If Rob Gronkowski returns, he’ll seemingly have at the least $5 million price of lifeless cap room hitting subsequent yr as effectively.

However there are many methods basic supervisor Jason Licht and vice chairman of soccer administration Mike Greenberg can create extra cap room. Eight Bucs will make $11 million or extra subsequent yr. And a few of that cash could be allotted into the long run to create aid in 2023. Subsequent yr’s wage cap is predicted to rise as much as $220 million-$225 million.

With quarterbacks historically taking on a lot cap house, having a yr – probably 2023 – with cheaper QB choices would assist. Having Kyle Trask on his rookie deal and probably re-signing Blaine Gabbert for just a few million would significantly assist. That situation, though not best, may go a great distance towards righting the ship on the subject of the cap.

QUESTION: If Rob Gronkowski doesn’t return, are the Bucs proud of Cameron Brate as a starter?

Bucs TE Cam Brate

Bucs TE Cam Brate – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

ANSWER: If Rob Gronkowski retires this offseason, the staff would seemingly signal one other veteran tight finish. The Bucs like their younger assortment of expertise on the tight finish place. However having 4 rookies together with veteran Cameron Brate just isn’t best. Tampa Bay has excessive hopes for Cade Otton, its fourth-round decide. However he’s nonetheless recovering from ankle surgical procedure and sure received’t be capable of go till coaching camp.

To reply your query extra immediately, I believe the Bucs could be reluctantly comfy with Brate, who will likely be 31 in July, as a starter. Tampa Bay’s offense is broad receiver-driven anyhow. So, it may function extra 4 receiver units and fewer two tight finish units with out Gronkowski. That’s one option to method it.

Gronkowski is more likely to return, although. He’s not going to depart the Bucs hanging this offseason. If he actually was going to retire, he would have signaled that to basic supervisor Jason Licht and definitely his good buddy, quarterback Tom Brady. The Bucs would have been extra aggressive addressing tight finish within the offseason if Gronk wasn’t coming again. Tampa Bay wouldn’t have waited till the fourth spherical to draft a good finish, for instance. Search for him to re-sign both earlier than obligatory mini-camp or the beginning of coaching camp.



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