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Monday, April 6, 2009
Mailbag: Tampa Bay Buccaneers edition

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the final stop on our tour of team-by-team mailbags.

Chris in Harrisburgh writes: Hey pat, i was just wondering, if Heywerd Bey is still available at 19 when the Bucs pick, do you think they may look to trade down with a team like the Giants, who have two 2nd round picks and a need for a WR?

Pat Yasinskas: Anything is possible when it comes to trading down, especially if it gives the Bucs a second-round pick. They are without their own second-round pick because it was traded to Cleveland in the Kellen Winslow deal. Although the common belief is the Bucs will take a quarterback or a defensive player in the first round, I would not be at all surprised if they stayed put at No. 19 and drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey. I think the Maryland receiver could give the Bucs a downfield threat and a nice complement to Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton.


Nick in Tampa writes: Pat, is the new coaching staff in Tampa content with Ronde Barber remaining a starter next year? He is the only older vet on the defense who survived the purge and the team hasn't made any moves to bring in a FA to replace Buchanon.

Pat Yasinskas: Well, the Bucs did sniff around Jabari Greer and a couple of other cornerbacks in free agency and they still could draft one early. But it seems like the general thinking among the coaching staff is that Barber will be the starter. Keep a couple of things in mind here. First, new coach Raheem Morris previously coached defensive backs and he believes Barber has something left in the tank. Second, Barber is angry at media and fans who have suggested he's washed up. That should provide some good motivation for a guy who has a lot of pride.


Steve in Toronto writes: Who is going to be playing buffalo in toronto? I hear it down to tampa or new orleans, i hope its the bucs being a huge fan, i don't think it will be new orleans because there a dome team, but that will give the bucs two games out of the u.s. Who has the better chance of playing in toronto?

Pat Yasinskas: All indications are the NFL's complete regular-season schedule will come out next week. We'll find out for sure then. But the Bucs already have a game scheduled in London. I think the NFL will be hesitant to make them travel outside the country twice.


Tony in Philadelphia writes: Pat, who do the bucs start on kick-offs and punt returns week 1? Do you think it's still Smith even with him being more involved in the backfield? Thanks!

Pat Yasinskas: I think Clifton Smith will remain as the primary return man after a great rookie season. Yes, the Bucs may look to get him involved in the offensive backfield. But, with Derrick Ward, Earnest Graham and possibly Cadillac Williams, I think Smith will be a situational player in the backfield. If Smith ends up carving a bigger niche, things could change. As disappointing as Dexter Jackson was last year, I could see him getting another shot as a return guy. He has great speed and the coaching change might give him a fresh start.


Anthony in New Port Richey, FL writes: Can the Bucs still trade for a quarterback like Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson?

Pat Yasinskas: I think that's something the Bucs at least would explore if Cleveland really does put one of those two quarterbacks on the trade block. I think either Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson would be nice competition for Luke McCown. The Bucs have made it clear they still plan to bring in another quarterback. There's not much left in free agency. Not sure if they would take Josh Freeman at No. 19 because he might be a year away from being ready to start. I could see them making an attempt to trade up for Mark Sanchez, but that could be costly. Of all the scenarios still out there, I like trading for Anderson or Quinn the best.


Andrew in Boston writes: I know that summer practices without pads don't really matter, but how did Josh Johnson look during the latest mini-camp while you were there?

Pat Yasinskas: The coaches and players were singing Johnson's praises during the minicamp and I think their scouting reports are probably better than mine. That's encouraging, but I still think Johnson is a project. He also has to learn an offense that's dramatically different than last year's.


Charlene in Tampa writes: Could you please tell me if you have heard anything about Derrick Brooks? If we lose him, Tampa will be crushed..Most people would like to see him retire here, rather than go to another team! Thank you Charlene

Pat Yasinskas: Once the Bucs released Derrick Brooks in February, that ended any chance of him playing in Tampa Bay again. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of him coming back to the Bucs in an administrative or coaching role. But I think Brooks still wants to play and is waiting until after the draft to see what type of opportunities he gets elsewhere.