Opening the mail: Tampa Bay edition
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Here's the Tampa Bay version of the mailbag. If you have more questions on the Bucs or about any other NFC South team, send them along.
Roger in parts unknown writes: My question is as a Bucs fan I have been very upset with the lack of playmakers on offense I know this probably a question asked frequently but how come Jon Gruden seems like he is so stubborn when it comes to getting offensive playmakers even when I watched the draft I just knew we were going to draft Desean Jackson but we passed on him and drafted Dexter Jackson who can't even keep his KR job and now look at Jackson he is quickly developing in to a major weapon for the Eagles I know Gruden says he believes in his receivers he has now but at some point you have to realize that alot of the time it just takes one playmaker to take you over the top if you are already a playoff caliber team.
Pat Yasinskas: Jon Gruden obviously wanted a playmaker and thought he was getting one in Dexter Jackson. That clearly isn't working out so far. Not sure if Gruden deserves all the blame, though. The scouting department has to take some blame on this one.
Ray in Norfolk, VA writes: Pat, Great blogs on the NFC south and I enjoy reading it everyday while at work. I only have one gripe...why aren't the Tampa Bay Bucs getting any love? They are having a great season (for them; as they are highly exceeding my expectations as a fan) and even mounted a huge comeback of a 21 pt. deficeit before the by week...still no love from you guys...I can't wait for the Bucs/Panthers re-match so then ESPN can claim how good the Bucs are and they are going to win the NFC South. Keep up the good work and I'll be on the look out for those Bucs blogs!
Pat Yasinskas: I do my best to spread it around. I was out at Tampa Bay's practice Wednesday and had several items from there. I'll have a lengthy column on receiver Antonio Bryant on Friday. I got to sit down with him yesterday and talk about how he has emerged as the No. 1 receiver after being out of the league last year. If your Bucs keep winning, I think Bryant's got a shot at the Pro Bowl. I'll also be covering the game between Minnesota and Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Brad in Denver writes: Who do you like to win the NFC south? I personally think the Bucs are the best team, with impressive wins over Atlanta and Carolina, they should be the clear-cut favorites.
Pat Yasinskas: The Bucs, Panthers and Falcons all have a chance to win the division and get to the playoffs. I don't think there's a clear-cut favorite because they're all good. But I think the Dec. 8 game between Tampa Bay and Carolina might decide an awful lot in this division.
Noah in Lakeland, FL writes: I think the NFC East is slightly better than the South. Simply because its best team (Giants) are better than the South's best team (Panthers/Bucs) and its worst team (Eagles) is better than the South's worst team (Saints). Plus the South gets to play against the NFL's weakest division, the AFC West.
Pat Yasinskas: I'm with you on that. All very valid points.
Mike in Edmonton Alberta Canada writes: Pat, how do you like the Buccaneers chances of winning this weekend against the Vikings in Tampa after the Vikings big win against the Packers last weekend? What are the keys to victory for the Bucs?Pat Yasinskas: The Bucs have a chance against anybody because their defense is good enough to keep them in any game. That defense will be one of the keys to this game because, obviously, Adrian Peterson presents a huge challenge. The Bucs have to contain him and I'm sure Monte Kiffin will use defensive backs in the box to help out. On the flip side, I think it's real important for the Bucs to have some effectiveness in the running game against a very good front four. If fullback B.J. Askew is able to make his return from injury, that could help the running game a lot.