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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: The season hasn’t began but, however what’s your guess about what place will get focused with subsequent yr’s first-round decide?
ANSWER: That’s 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 big 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 yr 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 price contemplating is that Professional Bowl inside linebacker Devin White may also be coming into a contract yr in 2023. White must step up this yr 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 shouldn’t be very deep or proficient in 2023 – a minimum of not now. Clemson’s Trenton Simpson could 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 perhaps cornerback. That may be a worst-case state of affairs as a result of both Sean Murphy-Bunting and/or Jamel Dean did not stay 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 effectively 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 potential. Accidents actually affected the defensive backfield in a really damaging method final yr. No place was hit more durable than cornerback the place the crew was pressured 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 received 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 coming into contract years and must be motivated to have nice seasons. If cornerback Zyon McCollum can develop and contribute on protection as a rookie that may solely bolster the defensive backfield.
Not solely do the defensive backs have to remain wholesome and play effectively, additionally 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 completely 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 have been brief, 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 a much bigger, extra bodily slot receiver. Suppose Hines Ward in Pittsburgh, Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis and Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. All have 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 sometimes see some motion within the slot. However with the slot receiver doing plenty of blocking on the level of assault within the run recreation, that’s not the place Miller might help the crew. He’s wanted on the skin the place he can stretch the sphere vertically. The Bucs have tried some brief large receiver screens with Miller, however he’s extra quick than fast. Miller will want a fantastic camp to make the 53-man roster this yr.
QUESTION: With Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, do you suppose 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 information 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 an enormous purpose. And that may also preserve him out of the Bucs Ring of Honor – rightfully so.
But it’s completely different with quarterback Tom Brady, who will play three seasons with the Bucs. He set a number of franchise information 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 outstanding 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 as if extra probability for damage with no additional pay. And it’s much less probability for fringe gamers to point out their expertise 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 homeowners and the TV networks to allow them to earn more money. Preseason video games aren’t effectively attended throughout the league by followers, and that hurts concession and parking income when much less followers are within the stands. TV scores are way more strong for normal season video games than preseason video games, too.
The second profit is eliminating a preseason recreation helps the homeowners and in addition the followers. The followers didn’t like having to pay for 2 preseason house video games and having to look at 4 exhibition video games in whole.
The third profit is solely extra soccer. The transfer to 17 video games means extra single-season information 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 finally suppose it should transfer to an 18-game common season sooner slightly than later. The gamers don’t prefer it as a result of it’s an additional week of bodily grind and punishment with no larger paycheck. The homeowners will argue that the wage cap will rise with extra tv and gate income on account of yet another common season recreation. The gamers will finally 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 may assist them get better from accidents and stop them too. The top outcome could be extra of the league’s star gamers on the sphere. And that’s not a nasty factor.