Fans can submit questions for upcoming mailbags via Twitter to @ScottSBucs (#BucsMailbag), through a message on the Buccaneers Official Facebook Page or via email at email@example.com. The One Buc Mailbag runs every Thursday and is not necessarily meant to reflect the opinions of the team's management or coaching staff.
I love how optimistic everybody is this time of year!! Lol! Your pointing out articles about
- Todd Walters, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Man, I was torn on including this one. I can’t tell if I’m being clowned here, or if Todd’s just having some good-natured fun. In the end, I went with the latter because that’s actually a decent Browns joke, and the way he used “we” makes me think we’re talking about a true Bucs fan here. I hope I’m not giving him too much credit.
Plus, it’s a good set-up. I’m not going overboard by suggesting five potential Buc Pro Bowlers (and a handful of “honorable mentions”), because that’s exactly what Todd asked for. I know I’m adding to the “sunshine and happiness” vibe of this time of year – and, yes, it’s true that right now there are probably 20 fanbases that think their teams are going 10-6 in 2014 – but what’s wrong with a little sunshine and happiness? Can we work puppies and ice cream into this discussion, too?
Alright, Todd, if you were setting me up for another overly optimistic article, you’ve succeeded, because I am now going to respond to your question with five possible 2014-15 Buccaneer Pro Bowlers, in order of likelihood. You want odds? You’ll get odds.
(1) DT Gerald McCoy (80%)…Yeah, I know, tough choice. But he checks all the boxes. The best indicator of whether a player has a chance to go to the Pro Bowl is if he’s gone to the Pro Bowl before, and McCoy is coming off two straight trips. He’s young, he’s dominant, he’s considered possibly the best in the league at his position, he’s stepping into a defense that appears to be perfect for him, he’s charismatic and he now has a household name among NFL fans and his peers. Really, I’d like to put him even higher than 80%, but the NFL is too fickle for that. Injuries or a bad Buccaneer season or a sudden burst of production from three or four other defensive tackles could throw a wrench into the gears. Beyond maybe Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, J.J. Watt, Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson – they’re going to get bushels of votes whether they’re healthy or not – I don’t think anybody is a 90% lock for the Pro Bowl.
I would be enormously surprised if Gerald McCoy is not a Buccaneer well past the 2014 season. Surprised, shocked and appalled, actually. Stunned. I can’t see it happening.
@ScottSBucs The Bucs currently have over $10m in cap space, would you be surprised if a McCoy extension does not happen before Week 1?— GoBucs!! (@Slagter38) June 18, 2014
That said, I can’t say I’d be overly surprised if a new deal wasn’t in place by Week One of the regular season. It just seems like an artificial deadline to me. McCoy has already made it clear that he will not hold out from training camp over this issue, and Lovie Smith has been saying since March that a new deal for his prized three-technique tackle is a huge priority. Gerald McCoy is not the type of player to let something like that lessen his focus on football, if for some reason the process bleeds into the regular season. I’ve never seen him fazed by a pack of cameras. He would handle it just fine.
I just don’t see the obstacles to getting this done (says some guy who doesn’t have to fork over a single dollar or battle to make all that he is worth, but still.). Where are the red flags? McCoy seems to love being the Buccaneers’ number-one leader, and the Bucs obviously love him back. He’s not only a great player, still entering his prime, but he’s as solid of a citizen as there is. Even the salary issue doesn’t seem like it could turn into anything insurmountable, as McCoy has already been among the highest-paid players at his position in the league.
Have you liked what Lovie Smith and Jason Licht have done since arriving last January? I have. Can you imagine them taking all of that and then stunting it by losing a young Pro Bowl player at the most important position on their defense? I can’t. No, I wouldn’t be surprised by what you propose, but neither would I be worried by it.
Why the late-afternoon practices during training camp? Uh…rain?
Mike D., via email to email@example.com
I know I’m a child of the ‘80s because there are probably five million people out there who can abbreviate their names as “Mike D.” and I still started singing “Paul Revere” as soon as I read his signature. (And, yes, I chose this one over a number of other emails asking about the same issue for that very reason.)
Which is neither here nor there. Apparently, Mike here is worried that the Tampa weather will “sabotage” (couldn’t help myself) this year’s camp because a good number of practices are going to start at 4:30 in the afternoon. Yes, there are many days when it rains at 4:30 in the afternoon in Tampa in July and August.
Lest we forget, Lovie Smith has been to training camp in Tampa before. Furthermore, he is capable of reading weather reports. And, let me tell you, he and his staff are meticulous planners, the kind who had a mid-June practiced scheduled out to the minute during a meeting in February. My point is, Smith and his staff are just as aware of the potential weather issues as you and I. Even so, they think late-afternoon practices are the way to go, and Smith gave two reasons during one of his mini-camp press conferences.
One, the Buccaneers will be playing their first two games of the season at about that same time of the day. That might seem oddly specific to plan for that, but why not? They can’t really simulate playing a night game in a dome, which is what they will do in Week Three, and their next two games after that are also on the road. The Bucs won’t play a 1:00 p.m. game at Raymond James Stadium until October 12, and they won’t play their second one until five days before Halloween. I’ll admit that I found this explanation a bit odd when I first heard it, but it makes more sense after taking a closer look at the schedule.
Two, Smith really does want to make training camp more accessible to a greater portion of the fan base. If you can get out of work a little early to see a Yankees spring training game in March, you might be able to do the same to get you and your kids to a Bucs’ training camp practice. The Night Practice at Raymond James Stadium (this year scheduled for Friday, August 1) is always the most heavily-attended camp workout; holding more practices that fall in the early-evening hours could offer those fans more opportunities to see their team being shaped for the regular season.
The Bucs won’t escape the rain every day for the three weeks of training camp, and they might have a few more drops to dodge by holding a series of late-afternoon practices. But rainouts have been a part of the team’s camp experience every year, whether at Disney, UT or a cramped hotel by old One Buc. The team will deal with it, and hopefully end up giving its fans a better camp experience.