Browns vs. Bucs: 5 questions with The Pewter Plank

Jul 30, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) works out at One Buccaneer Place. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 30, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) works out at One Buccaneer Place. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

We caught up with James Yarcho of The Pewter Plank to get some background on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before tonight’s game against the Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tonight, but the Bucs aren’t a team often seen by Browns fans.

We here at Dawg Pound Daily wanted to get some more information on the team before tonight’s game, so we caught up with James Yarcho, co-expert at The Pewter Plank, to answer a few questions about the Buccaneers.

1. The national focus on the Bucs seems to be around rookie kicker and second-round pick Roberto Aguayo. Is the story surrounding him being blown out of proportion, or should the Bucs be worrying about his play?

JY: There should be a small level of worry, but not panic yet. We’ve seen recently the rookie year struggles of the likes of Adam Vinatieri and Sebastian Janikowski, so the freaking out by Bucs fans is a bit much this early. The focus on his early struggles are magnified by his draft position, which Aguayo had no control over.

I wrote a piece today about some potential reasoning behind his struggles which you can see here:

This was some great information from Colts’ punter Pat McAfee that most fans have really no clue about.

2. Is new head coach Dirk Koetter a major upgrade over Lovie Smith?

JY: Dirk Koetter is an absolute upgrade and it goes beyond him personally. It’s his entire staff. Lovie brought in “his guys”, including his sons, which obviously didn’t work. Koetter, as offensive coordinator, helped orchestrate – statistically – the greatest Buccaneers offense ever.

Lovie, meanwhile, saw his defense regress in year two. I hate the constant coaching carousel we’ve had in Tampa since firing Jon Gruden, but I think they finally got this one right.

3. Who are a few Bucs players who could surprise fans on the national level with their play?

JY: Kwon Alexander began getting some justified attention last year before his suspension, so there is no reason to think he won’t be even better in year two. He and Lavonte David have a great rapport as the main linebackers and could be a dominant duo in this league.

Another defensive standout, I believe, will be rookie Noah Spence. He’s going to be a rotational player, but he provides that edge presence the Bucs have not had since Simeon Rice left. From an offensive standpoint, Charles Sims will be in for another good season under Koetter.

Doug Martin will of course get the lion’s share of the carries, but Sims is a dangerous weapon in the passing game that Koetter will lean on for explosive play potential.

4. After a 6-10 season last year, are the Bucs a playoff team in 2016?

JY: The NFC is a crap shoot after Carolina, Green Bay, Arizona, and Seattle. The Buccaneers can certainly contend for a wild card spot if the team stays healthy. The schedule isn’t too kind on paper, but they have the advantage of Seattle, Oakland, and Denver coming to Tampa.

Three of their toughest opponents will have to come west to east, which tends to favor the east coast team. If I had to bet, I’d say they’re still at least a year away from true contention, but they very well could surprise some people.

5. Is Jameis Winston a franchise quarterback and the team’s quarterback of the future?

JY: Undoubtedly, Winston is the franchise quarterback this team has never had. The Buccaneers have started more quarterbacks than any team in NFL history. It took no time at all for Winston to take over that leadership role. That’s how he is. We saw games the Bucs should have lost last season that Winston willed them to a win. He’s an impressive kid.

Next: 4 players to watch against Tampa Bay

That was a pivotal reason Koetter had to stay. Winston’s development is crucial and we can’t afford to have him bounce from system to system like we’ve seen so many other quarterbacks on this team do. Jameis has the talent and drive to wind up in the elite class in the NFL.