Ask Gary: Flowers’ big night improved his status

by Gary Shelton on December 2, 2017 · 0 comments

in College Sports in Florida, Florida State University, general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Rays

Scouts should have found plenty to like in Flowers./CARMEN MANDATO

Scouts should have found plenty to like in Flowers./CARMEN MANDATO

Each week, the readers take over GarySheltonsports.com and play Ask Gary. They send in a question, or a couple, on Thursday night or Friday morning and we all talk about the world of sports.  Think of it as a radio show where you don't have to be on hold. Join us and ask a question, make a comment or be funny. Send the questions to GarySheltonsports@gmail.com).

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Do you think Quinton Flowers' amazing performance against UCF last week might have pushed him up several spots on NFL draft boards? How good do you think he can be in the NFL?

Larry Beller

Larry, I don't think it could have hurt, right? The knock on Flowers has been that he had great legs but his arm didn't quite match up. Against UCF, it did. He was a star. I don't think it's going to take him from the late rounds to the early ones, but it may make him worth a training camp look.

Flowers is a bit short for the position. But he's a great playmaker. I'd think of him in a Kordell Stewart-Slash type of role for an imaginative team. Maybe some time in the slot and returning kicks while serving as a backup quarterback.

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Over the years, there have been a lot of players who were great college quarterbacks who weren't the right fit for the NFL. That's not a bad thing. It's just square pegs and round holes. Remember Tommy Frazier? Jamelle Holieway? J.C. Watt? Even Tim Tebow. There was Pat White and Jerry Tagge and Jack Mildren.

Still, if I was a scout, I would have been impressed enough to move his grade up for maybe a full round. Flowers can do some things, can't he?

When are the Rays leaving Tampa Bay?

Scott Myers

Hah. From the tone of your question, I'm guessing that you don't believe it will work out in either Tampa or St. Petersburg. That's certainly possible. For all the posturing, I'm unconvinced that either will want to put the coin in that the team will require. We can debate all day whether the taxpayers should pay, or how much, but in the end, I think the team will want more than either town will pay.

So if negations break off completely, that leaves the Rays with an agreement that they'll be here until 2027. No one expects that they'll be here on the last day; the penalties lessen over time. So our question is how many years the team will be willing to eat to get to a new home.

Obviously, that depends on when the team and the politicians throw in the towel. I think they'll play last-tag for a while. Maybe until there is two years to go. Maybe three.

Of course, much of that depends on possible relocation cities and their willingness to build. We're close to 2018 now. I would think it would take until 2020 to get a vote in the new city. It would take four years to build a stadium. So I think, at the earliest, the team would relocate in 2025, never to come back.

I say it happens, it happens on a Tuesday, late in the day. Maybe February 17. It will be raining.

Last Sunday against the Falcons, I thought it was ok for Koetter to go for it on 4th and 1 on the drive following the forced fumble in the 4th quarter.  After the drive stalled and the Falcons took over on downs, Mike Smith played Julio Jones 1-on-1 with Ryan Smith on 3rd and 8.Looking at the formation, I'm thinking Koetter will call a time out. Mike Smith has the safety help too far from ones! Everyone knows Matt Ryan will look there first. Pass complete, game pretty much “done”.

Later, I thought, maybe that “2-year” contract at the beginning of the year for Mike Smith came with an understanding he has the final say on his play calls. Still, I think koetter is responsible for not “overruling” that particular call. The Falcons still probably beat the Bucs,  just let it be by someone else.

So you think Koetter can freely overrule Mike Smith’s play calling?

Carlos Ubinas

There are a couple of questions implied in your question, Carlos. One is whether Koetter has the power (I think he does) of a normal head coach. The second is whether he would use it.

Almost all head coaches have veto power. It's hard to imagine any of them signing off on that. Eventually, a coach has to make the big decisions: going for it on fourth on one, kicking a field, throwing more, running more, etc. It would speak ill of Smith and worse of Koetter, to suggest otherwise.Shame on the Glazers if they created a situation where no one is in charge.

I think Smith has a great deal of autonomy; most coaches specialize on one side of the ball and leave the other side to their right-hand man. But if Koetter wanted a blitz, or a rolling coverage, in that situation, I think he has that power. But would he leave it to Smith or interject? We don't know.

I remember when Tony Dungy was here once, and he lamented over the team not using Karl Williams enough as a punt returner. Clearly, he could have insisted. But he had been an assistant. He was going to delegate to the last down.

Either way, it's a head coach's responsibility to get his team into the right situation to win. If Koetter is hands-off in the big moments, that's a problem for the Bucs.

It was interesting to me to read Julio Jones' comments in the Atlanta newspapers. He was surprised the Bucs didn't change. Tampa Bay's coaches, meanwhile, talked about using 14-15 coverages.

You know what that tells me? It says that no matter what coverage the Bucs used, it wasn't very good.

I think 2017 has been one of the more dismal years for Tampa Bay sports teams in my recent memory. Can you recall any other years that might compete with this year's ineptitude? To reverse this theme, what would you say are some of the highlights from this area (individual, team, pro, college, whatever)?

Barry McDowell​

Great question. Barry, for the most part, this season does seem glum, doesn't it? I think a lot of it is just the wear and tear on fans. It's been a long time since the playoffs, hasn't it?

But to be real, Tampa Bay has suffered much worse seasons than this one. Usually, the worst of those seasons was the failure to measure up to expectations.  In 2003, after winning a Super Bowl, the Bucs fell to 7-9. In 2005, after the Lightning won the Stanley Cup, the NHL canceled the season. In 2009, after the Rays made the World Series, they won 13 fewer games the next season and finished 19 games back. We cannot do a sequel, can we?

This year, USF had a good year, and the Bolts are off to a great start. That's not bad.

1976 was tough with no wins by the Bucs. You could argue that 1986, with two wins, the team was even worse. But I'd argue, too, that 1998 was bad. The Bus fell back to 8-8 and didn't make the playoffs. The Rays lost 99 games in their first season. The Lightning won only 17 games.

How about 2006? In 2005, the Bucs were 11-5, but the next season, they fell to 4-12 in the season of Bruce Gradkowski. The Rays lost 102 games that year, the last time they would lose 100. The Lightning made the playoffs, but they were one and done in a loss to New Jersey.

And the flip side? Each championship seemed special. But all three at the same time? How about 2010. The Bucs were 10-6 and seemed as if they were on the rise (they weren't). The Bolts started a season in which they would finish by losing by a goal in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. And the Rays went 96-66.

Success doesn't come here often, and it doesn't last for very long. We don't deal in dynasties.

Who would be your dream hire for FSU?
Jim Willson

If we weren't subject to time, I'd say Bobby Bowden, who is still the best dad-gummed coach the Seminoles ever had. You didn't hear about Bowden getting in scuffles with fans, or in having his goons shove one repeatedly as they threw him out of the radio show. You didn't see him chasing big money every darned year. No coach has ever fit Tallahassee like Bowden. Fisher, too often, acted as if he was too big for his job. Bowden never did.

I'd start by looking at USF's former coach and their present one. Willie Taggart hasn't had enough good seasons, but he has an eye for offense. Strong hasn't been back long enough to rebuild his resume, but he's close.

I'd call Scott Frost and see if he answers, but I think the deal is done for him to go back to Nebraska.

I'd think about Justin Fuente at Virginia Tech or Mike Norville at Memphis. Both are up-and-coming coaches.

It's a shame that Mark Richt landed work so fast. He was always a favorite of the media when he was at FSU as the offensive coordinator.

Regardless, I think FSU will get someone who's good. Someone who can make you forget Jimbo in short order.

Aaron Rodgers is on my candidate list for this year’s MVP. I'm not completely serious, but without him Green Bay = Tampa Bay. I think Dirk Koetter could get 10 wins out of Rodgers, too, if he was his coach.

About next Sunday, I like how hard the Bucs have played recently, and they a have better pass-offense talent than the Packers. With that said -- in a “matchup of the mediocres -- I pick the Packers, 27-20. Any NFL offense can score 27 against the Bucs defense. It's hard to think the Bucs offense can reach 30. Packers, 27-20 (and I hope I'm wrong!). 

Carlos Ubinas

Let's be honest. The Bucs have held teams to less than 27 points six times this year. So obviously, it's possible.  And if the Bucs are going to win, I think it's imperative.

What would concern me is this: The top five quarterback performances, the top five receiver performances and the top five running back performances of the season against the Bucs have all come on the road. The defense has struggled too, giving up 30 points or more in five of six road games this year.

I wouldn't say that "any offense" can score 27, but I think the Packers have a lot of weapons.

 

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