Mailbag: Tampa Bay Buccaneers edition

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the final stop in our series of team-by-team mailbags.

JRozz in Tampa writes: Josh Johnson is the real deal if you look at the game and how many drops Clayton and Bryant had he would of had an even better one he stayed in the pocket as long as he could to find open guys and scrambled when he needed to. Please don’t give us the same story about Dungy years and give Morris and Dominick time. They blew by reaching in the first round for Freeman when no one in the NFL had him rated that high. Call them out on their mistakes instead of the oh give them time story. This is the NFL people pay money lots of it to go to the game not to hear reasons why their team can’t make smart football decisions.

Pat Yasinskas: Hey, I also like some of the things I’ve seen out of Josh Johnson. But, seriously, what have you truly seen out of him to make you think he’s the starter for this team for the next decade? I think he’s shown he can be a very nice backup quarterback and he may even develop into a quality starter down the road – somewhere else. How can you judge Josh Freeman before he’s ever taken a snap? And I strongly disagree with you that no one else in the NFL had Freeman rated that highly. I know one general manager told me his team had Freeman rated ahead of Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford. The Bucs have been very upfront about Freeman from the moment they drafted him. They said they didn’t want to play him right away and they’ve held true to that, but I think his debut is coming pretty soon. I’ve criticized the Bucs plenty, but I’m not going to hop on the bandwagon that’s saying Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik should be fired right now. Maybe they’ll end up being a total disaster and maybe they will be fired some day. But I think you’ve totally missed the big picture. This is the NFL and the Glazers are paying Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen a ton of money to not run the team this year because they wanted to get younger and actually have a long-term plan. Anybody that realizes that getting younger was the decision this franchise made, realizes the Bucs had to take a step or two back before they move forward.

Diego in Sarasota writes: Pat, Do you think the bucs will ever give Stroughter an opportunity to be a starter ? this season perhaps ? Unlike Bryant and Clayton he hasn’t dropped many passes and he’s made a couple of good catches.

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, Sammie Stroughter could be a starter before too long if Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton continue to struggle. It’s already a good story that he’s contributing this quickly as a seventh-round pick. The Bucs are high on him. He’s been one of the few bright spots so far.

Ranjeet in Tampa writes: Hey Pat! First of all, love your stuff, keep it going man.But my question is, what do you think is the bigger need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? A defensive lineman (tackle or end) or a defensive back?

Pat Yasinskas: If you’re talking about next year’s draft, a lot depends on where they pick. If there’s a top five cornerback, they’d almost have to take him over a defensive tackle. But I think the need is big at defensive tackle as well. Although I just sort of defended Josh Freeman, I thought the Bucs should have drafted defensive tackle Peria Jerry this year.

Danny in Tampa writes: Pat, first off, great job with the blog! I follow it religiously! Anyway, the Bucs are playing awful and it looks like we may end up with a top 3 draft pick this year. I know we drafted Freeman but, PLEASE tell me that if we have a shot at McCoy, or Bradford that the Bucs brass will have the sense to draft one of them. Moving Freeman won't be that difficult and this team stinks like garbage, so doesn't it make sense to draft the best player available instead of drafting to fill a need? A big DT won't change this franchise. We already passed on Adrian Peterson for Gaines Adams. PLEASE tell me that won't happen again?!?!?!?

Pat Yasinskas: I’m not convinced Josh Freeman is the answer either. But, slow down. The Bucs invested a first-round pick in him. They’ve got to at least see what they’ve got in him and they’re probably going to give him a few years. They’re not going to trade Freeman before next season and they’re not going to draft a quarterback next year. Let’s say they get a top-five pick, and the odds of that seem, pretty good. Why not trade that to a team that wants a quarterback? The Bucs could get a couple picks for that choice. Wouldn’t it be nice to maybe get a defensive tackle and a cornerback? I think those needs are pretty glaring.