Mailbag: Tampa Bay Buccaneers edition

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are next in our series of team-by-team mailbags.

Tek in Tampa writes: What should I feel as a true and faithful Buc fan right now? Upset or excited?

Pat Yasinskas: Can’t really say the Bucs have shown anything to get excited about. But I think you’re wrong if you get too upset, like a lot of fans are right now. Let’s face it: We all knew this was going to be a rebuilding year for the Bucs. That decision was made at the highest level (I’m talking about the Glazer family). Yes, the early results haven’t been pretty and there have been lots of questionable decisions. But you don’t just panic and fire a coach and scrap a rebuilding project after only four games. There might be more growing pains ahead. But keep an eye out for progress as the season goes on and that’s where you might find some reasons to be excited. If there’s not much progress and the Bucs go 0-16 or 1-15, then you consider finding a new coach. But, right now, that makes no sense.

R.J. in Land O’ Lakes writes: Hey Pat, any word yet about Aqib Talib possibly getting suspended? He's had a quite season so I'm thinking the NFL has forgotten about him but now that he had those 3 interceptions last week the league might all of sudden remember. Any inside information?

Pat Yasinskas: I talked with someone in Tampa Bay’s administration about that this week and there still remains a possibility Talib could be suspended. In fact, I think that’s a good possibility. It might not happen right away, though, because the NFL is still waiting for the legal process to play out on his offseason incident.

Ricky in Naples writes: Hey Pat, is Arron Sears still technically part of the Bucs? I've heard no news on him at all.

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, Sears remains property of the Bucs. He’s on the inactive list and doesn’t count against the roster. He has not returned to the team and there are no indications that’s close to happening. Sears is dealing with what the team calls a “private matter’’ and we’re not going to get into speculating on the details of that. If Sears or the team discusses the matter, then we’ll report it. For now, it’s wait and see. If Sears rejoins the team, he’ll have to notify the league of his intent and he can be added to the roster. The Bucs would like for that to happen, but their first priority is that Sears deals with this matter in a productive way.

Chris in Harrisburg, Pa., writes: Now I know this may be too early to ask, but what happens if Josh Johnson, over the course of the season, proves that he can be a starting QB, heck even a franchise QB for the Bucs. I mean, he looked solid against Washington for his first start, but I think the coaching staff limited the play calls for shorter yardage throws. In that case, what would the Tampa Bay do with Josh Freeman? Reports are the coaching staff isn't pleased with his worth ethic and study habits over the first couple weeks of the season, which led them to start Josh Johnson instead. Is this all true?

Pat Yasinskas: First off, that would be a nice problem to have. If Johnson plays well, he’ll start the rest of the season and the Bucs would use the offseason to figure out what that means for Freeman. But I think we’re getting way ahead of the game. My guess is Johnson will start the next few games and Freeman will take over at some point during the second half of the season. I haven’t heard any knocks on his study habits or work ethic. The plan all along has been to let Freeman sit for at least the first half of the season because the Bucs don’t want to ruin him by playing him before he’s ready.