1. What do you make of the situation at quarterback for the Bucs? Josh McCown clearly isn't the long-term answer, and it sort of feels like the same goes for Mike Glennon. Are the Bucs going to draft a QB next year?
They're almost certainly going to draft a quarterback next year, assuming there's one they actually like to be had. I would be shocked if either Mike Glennon or Josh McCown were still starting next season, in any case. McCown has proven himself to be incapable of being anything more than a very borderline game manager, if that. And the fact that they actually went back to McCown after starting Glennon tells you that they really don't like Glennon as a starter, though they'll likely hang on to him as a backup.
2. Just how impressive has Mike Evans been this season?
Very. Significantly more impressive than I expected, in fact. Rookie receivers tend to take a while to acclimate to the NFL, and Evans came from a very limited offense. This is just his fourth year of playing organized football, so I expected him to take a while to get going. The fact that he's this good after just half a season is more than I could have hoped for, especially given the fact that basically all of his supporting cast is horrible.
Evans isn't and probably will never be a great route runner, given his size, but he's consistently made tough, contested catches and has a knack for getting his feet inbounds in seemingly impossible situations. Making him more dangerous is the fact that the Bucs line him up all over the formation, looking for quality matchups. He's just a very, very good player.
3. What are your thoughts on the contract extension that Gerald McCoy received earlier this year? Good deal or too expensive for a defensive tackle?
It was actually slightly cheaper than I expected. McCoy can convincingly argue that he's the best defensive tackle in the NFL, and he's crucial for this defense. The Bucs talked him up as the face of the franchise prior to re-signing him, so he basically held all the cards in these negotiations. While it's certainly a very expensive contract, it's not too expensive given his consistent production and disruptive ability, as well as his importance to this style of defense.
You really can't run a Tampa 2-style defense without a very good three-technique, and that's exactly what McCoy is.
4. It feels like the Bucs have managed to keep most of their games competitive despite being 2-10. What has gone wrong for the Bucs at the end of games?
What hasn't gone wrong? The Bucs have lost in the most comical and/or frustrating ways imaginable. They lost one on a clock runoff because an injured Mike Evans couldn't line up in time. They lost two overtime games. They lost several games because the offense couldn't get a single field goal at the end of the game. It's just been a complete disaster, and everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong at some point this year.
5. Based on what you've seen so far, how would you evaluate the first year of the Lovie Smith era in Tampa?
A disaster with a few silver linings for the future. The defense took much too long to acclimate, but it's actually played well over the second half of the season. The offense, though, is a completely different story. That particular unit is completely hopeless, and that mess started in the offseason with the way the Bucs tried to rebuild their offensive line and approached the quarterback position.
Which means we're seeing classic Lovie Smith (and classic Bucs): good defense, terrible offense. A solid starting point for the future, but not nearly enough to be a consistent contender.
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