Foxsports.com and Scout.com NFL expert Adam Caplan recently took some time to answer questions from BucsBlitz.com users for the upcoming season. What does Caplan think about the quarterback situation and the Bucs' chances for a winning record? Read on.
Q: What is your take on the whole QB SNAFU in Tampa, and if Garcia is not the long term answer, what direction do you see the Bucs taking in the future to address that problem?" — ThePewterPirate
A: Once Simms gets totally healthy (he clearly is still having some issues), he should be able to seriously challenge for the starting job again. If he's still having problems physically deep into the regular season, then you can start to look for them to add another quarterback who could possibly start next season.
Q: On that note I was just wondering what is the chance of the Bucs trading (Chris) Simms next year if Garcia does well this year AND (Bruce) Gradkowski continues to develop at his current rate? Would you be for the trade? What do you believe we could get for him? And what team, if any, would want him?" — iDriveaCaddy
A: Simms won't have a lot of value if he can't prove he can still play. Gradkowski has proven that he's nothing more than a backup so he doesn't really enter into the equation.
Q: Is this the last year you foresee linebacker Derrick Brooks playing?" — ThePewter Pirate
A: He's not the player he once was and some might be surprised to know that he was moved at times to SLB last season as he seemed to lose a step. But he can probably play at least two more seasons as a starter — although maybe not at WLB.
Q: What area on the team do you believe needs the most improvement?" — iDriveaCaddy
A: The secondary was dreadful last season. Veteran CB Brian Kelly must prove he's healthy and the safety play also must improve.
Q: What area do you feel we did the best job at upgrading this season — offensive line, defensive line, secondary or linebacker?" — ThePewterPirate
A: All of those areas now have better depth but arguably the defensive line, which really struggled last season, is looking the most improved with veteran DL Kevin Carter and first-round pick DE Gaines Adams in the fold. Besides his leadership qualities, Carter can play inside if needed and he's a proven pass rusher. Adams will eventually take over for DE Simeon Rice, who may not return next season based on his free agent status. Ryan Sims has been a career underachiever, but look how Chris Hovan revived his career with the Buccaneers. Hopefully defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin can get something out of him.
Q: Do you think the Bucs would have taken (Paul) Posluszny at No. 35 in the draft if he would have been available or would they still have picked (Arron) Sears? What if (Michigan's) Alan Branch had been there?" — iDriveaCaddy
A: Probably not. They're very high on Barrett Ruud and Posluszny is seen as a MLB, which is where Rudd lines up. Sears should eventually be a starter down the road.
Q: I'd have expected someone to bring up our draft by now. How do you see what the Bucs did in the draft this year?" — ThePewterPirate.
A: The draft is all about needs and the Buccaneers did a good job of filling them. They've added excellent young depth at key positions of need.
Q: Do we have a chance to win the division? — ThePewterPirate
A: Possibly a Wild Card spot, but probably not the division. They don't match up with the Saints very well.
Q: Would 7-9 be a good record for this team in 2007?" — Woof69
A: 8-8, 9-7 is realistic if the quarterback play improves and the defense gets back to a solid level.
Q: Will Cato June be a good fit at strong side linebacker, or will he struggle until he moves and replaces Brooks at weak side linebacker?" — IDriveaCaddy
A: June is probably too small to play at SLB so we will keep an eye on his weight. We reported last season that he weighed between 210-215 at one point. And it won't help playing in the heat of Tampa this summer and fall.
Q: Will Jerramy Stevens turn around his career in Tampa?" — ThePewterPirate
A: He hasn't taken his job seriously for the most part so there's no reason to think he can be trusted. He has plenty of talent but hasn't come close to realizing his enormous potential.
Q: Will this season be a step up or a step sideways in progression? — ThePewterPirate
A: The Buccaneers should be better this season based on their additions through free agency and the draft but they also have a lot of "ifs" as well.