NFC South: Micahel Clayton
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Here's the final installment of today's series of team-by-team mailbags. This one's on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
jak from hudson fl. writes: i dont recall not even 1,3 and out for carolina Monday nite.something tells me if m.kiffin leaves,as he should for his son,its tb becomes a 5-11 team.
Pat Yasinskas: I'm not sure that the departure of Monte Kiffin, which I do still expect to happen, will make the Bucs completely crumble. Kiffin is a great defensive mind and there's no doubt the Bucs will miss him. But I think there's plenty of talent on that defense. Young guys like Barrett Ruud, Tanard Jackson and Gaines Adams are emerging as young stars and will take the baton from the likes of Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and Kevin Carter whenever they leave. I also think the Bucs will stay inside when it comes to replacing Kiffin as defensive coordinator. My guess is defensive backs coach Raheem Morris. He's a rising star in the coaching ranks. If he takes over, I don't think he'd totally blow up the defensive system. It's something that's worked for well over a decade and I don't think a bad performance Monday night is reason enough for Tampa Bay to just fall apart.
Daryl in Springfield, NJ writes: Hey Pat. Love the NFC South blog. Keep up the good work. Have there been any rumblings about Tampa Bay making a move for a top flight WR in the offseason? With Bryant emerging as a threat, the need may not be as great, but Tampa does have a ton of cap room. I'd love to see Anquan Boldin in the pewter and red next year. Or maybe Houshmandzadeh.
Pat Yasinskas: First things first. I strongly suggest they give Antonio Bryant a new contract before he can become a free agent. He's earned it with a very strong year. That would give them one sure thing at receiver. It's pretty obvious Joey Galloway is done (at least with the Bucs) after this year. Michael Clayton's had a decent year, but he also can become a free agent and I wouldn't be surprised if he seeks a fresh start somewhere else. That said, I'd be in favor of the Bucs going out and getting a proven receiver to help jazz up the offense. Not sure that they've had time to think about it in the middle of a playoff race, but they do have plenty of cap room and the guys you mentioned make plenty of sense.
DJ in Tampa writes: Hey Pat- Love the blog, hate the way the Bucs defense performed last night. So here's a question that's on every Bucs fan's mind. Let's say the Bucs win out and the Panthers lose to New York. What does the division championship picture look like then?
Pat Yasinskas: Yep, you're right -- I'm getting this question from a lot of Tampa Bay fans. All right, there are some variables involved if the Bucs and Panthers each finish 10-4, but it happens in a different way than you present. But let's stick with your scenario for now. The first tiebreaker when two teams are tied in a division is head-to-head play and that gets tossed because the Bucs and Panthers split. The second is record within the division. In your scenario, they'd both finish 4-2, so that's out. Third on this list is win-loss percentage in common games. The Bucs and the Panthers have 12 opponents in common. In your scenario, Tampa Bay would win the division because of an 11-1 record in those games. Carolina would be 10-2. Anyway, I don't like to get too far ahead of things. But I know there are people already thinking of the hypotheticals. With that in mind, here's the link to the NFL's rules on tiebreakers.