The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the final stop in today's team-by-team mailbags.
Jesse in Trezevant, Tenn., writes: How is Roddy White the MVP of the division? The Falcons could still win without him (they did so against TB). On the other hand, more so than any other player in the division, TB needs Freeman. TB needs Freeman to win; Falcons do not need White to win. I don't care if he is the best WR in the NFL, the MVP is not about PMS (Player with the Most Stats) - pardon the acronym. Freeman is more valuable than White.
Pat Yasinskas: Believe me, I fully recognize Josh Freeman’s value to the Bucs. In fact, I think there will come a day when Freeman will be contending for league-wide MVP honors. But he’s not there yet. He’s done some great things this season and will continue to, but he also still makes some of the mistakes that go along with being a young quarterback. White is having a tremendous season and has been the best wide receiver in the league. He single-handedly has won at least a couple games for the Falcons and they are the first-place team in the division at the moment.
Tony in Lakeland, Fla., writes: Another website brought up the fact the Bucs should fire d-line coach Todd Wash, and I have to agree with this one as the d-line has really underachieved this year and they have been horrendous at times. Your thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas: The Bucs are 5-3 and you’re talking about firing assistant coaches? Give it some time and try to be realistic. The Bucs drafted defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price with their first two draft picks and second-year pro Roy Miller has been one of the starting defensive tackles. Price got hurt. McCoy hasn’t been dominant, but it’s not realistic to expect him to be dominant right off the bat. Besides that, he’s got nothing around him. The Bucs probably have the league’s worst set of defensive ends. They knew coming in that defensive end was not a position of strength and I’m sure that position will be addressed in the offseason. I can’t put the blame on a coach when he’s got nothing to work with. His job the rest of this season is to keep working on McCoy. Next season, the Bucs can bring in help at defensive end and McCoy should take a big step forward.
Chris in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: I am beginning to wonder about the defense. Do you think it is time to consider a defensive coordinator for this team and let Raheem focus on being the head coach, or is this defense just really lacking talent in a few key areas (ie DE's and MLB)?
Pat Yasinskas: I think Raheem Morris is very capable of handling the defense as well as his head-coaching duties. You can’t build a defense overnight, and the Bucs obviously have some holes. But they also have some good parts in place. As I said in the answer above, they need to improve at defensive end and I think you’ll see middle linebacker Barrett Ruud move on after the season and someone else come in. I also think you’ll see them try to upgrade the talent at safety in the offseason.