*Each week during the offseason, Senior Writer/Editor Scott Smith will dip into the inbox to answer questions from Buccaneer fans. This week, we start with an unusual observation from a recent visitor to team headquarters. The conversation then inevitably turns to the draft, both in terms of this year's prospects and the Bucs' efforts to navigate the first round in years past.
1. This is for Mr. Scott Smith. I have been a Bucs fan since their inception, and have been an admirer of Lee Roy Selmon since his playing days. All during the time when the Bucs were the laughing stock of the league, he stood out as an example of what could be for the team. His outstanding playing gave me hope at a time when there was none, and for that he got my undying respect.*
That's why it pained me greatly when, upon visiting the Buccaneers' lobby, I happened to notice that the helmet displayed above the iconic #63 jersey had the facemask of a quarterback or wideout instead of that of a defensive lineman. This may seem to be a trivial matter, but I couldn't help but think that a man so revered by the team and fans alike deserved better. It wouldn't be a big problem for the Bucs to rectify this, but my emails have so far netted zero results.
You strike me as a man who knows some people with the team. Do you think you could look into this? I think that all of Lee Roy's fans would appreciate him getting the respect he deserves for future Bucs fans, if not the old ones.
Thank you, Kris Russell (via email email@example.com)
Count me among those who deeply admired and respected Lee Roy Selmon. I had the great fortune to interact with Lee Roy quite a few times before his untimely passing in 2011 and he was impervious to hyperbole. That is, everything that you've heard about him was true. Selmon might be the greatest Buccaneer ever, but he was much more than that.
Therefore, I can honestly say that if I thought he was being disrespected I would not consider it a trivial matter. That said, I can't really get too worked up about this one. Let me explain what we're talking about for anyone who might not know, and also give you an idea of how that particular display came to be.
The lobby at One Buccaneer Place doubles as a Buccaneers museum, and it really is a neat place to visit for diehard fans. The most striking elements are the "Moment of Victory" statue and the encased Lombardi Trophy, both celebrating the team's victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. There are many other displays, however, focusing on such things as stadium history, Buccaneer head coaches, community involvement through the years and the like. And one display, the one in question here, looks at the development of the Bucs' uniform through the years.*
Now, this museum was already in the works when the building was opened in 2006 but unsurprisingly it has been updated at various times through the years. The uniform display has been tweaked several times, and of course it had to be updated last year when the team's new look was unveiled.
Most of this display is in a wood and glass case at floor level, designed to look like it's at the bottom of a ship mast. As the mast rises, there is a platform above head level (well, above *my head level, at least) and sitting on that platform are examples of the three primary uniforms the team has worn during its first 39 seasons. The original orange-and-white uniforms are represented by Lee Roy's #63 jersey, the first pewter-and-red combos are represented by fellow Hall of Famer Derrick Books and his #55 shirt, and the newest uniforms are represented by #93, Gerald McCoy.*
These uniforms were first added to the display in 2009, right when the team started having throwback games. You might recall that the first throwback game also coincided with the first start for then-rookie quarterback Josh Freeman, and it was a promising start at that. Using the throwback uniforms that they now had on hand, the Buccaneers originally put a Freeman jersey on that stand, along with a backup helmet that had been meant for the young quarterback.
*Not long after that
A Throwback Thursday gallery dedicated to the Original Buccaneer, Lee Roy Selmon.
, a Selmon jersey was created, as he was obviously the perfect choice to represent the orange-and-white era. The helmet remained the same, and it features a relatively small facemask with two horizontal bars, and I think Kris is right in saying it's the kind of facemask you're more likely to see on a quarterback or wide receiver than a defensive linemen.*
I looked through our photo archives and Kris is correct that Selmon's facemasks were larger. He wore several different models during his years but they generally featured at least three horizontal bars and extended farther up to cover the upper half of his face. With all the hand-to-hand combat that goes on in the trenches, defensive linemen have to be more concerned about fingers accidentally getting through their masks.
Still, I can't really say that I find the display disrespectful. It's meant to show the history of the uniform. Selmon is the perfect representative for all those who wore the orange-and-white uniform, and if there ever was a separate Buccaneer museum somewhere, he would deserve his own wing. This is not specifically a Lee Roy Selmon display, however; it's a uniform display.
*That said, my opinion doesn't necessarily speak for that of all Buc fans (a fact that is driven home every time I write or talk about the upcoming draft), and I won't dismiss yours here, Kris. You thought enough of this issue to try several ways to bring it to our attention. Well, I can tell you that you have now succeeded. As you say, I "know some people" around here and I have shared your thoughts with those who would have some say in the matter. I don't honestly know if the display will be changed, but you have put the issue on our radar. Thank you.
[UPDATE: Thanks to the heads-up from Kris, the display in question was reviewed and the facemask on the helmet on display above Lee Roy Selmon's jersey was replaced with one more representative of what he would have worn. A big thanks to Mr. Russell for pointing this out.]
2. Hi Scott. Just a random thought, with Winston thought of as a big body QB, able to shrug off tackles like a "Big Ben," does Winston lose value to scramble after he lost weight (I think 17 lbs)to run the 40 at the combine but was still relatively slow and not as athletic as Mariota? Is that a bigger issue given our current situation at offensive line? Also, thoughts on possibly waiting on offensive line in the draft until the 3rd and/or 4th (assuming we take a QB at 1st overall) because an outstanding ILB like Eric Kendricks or Stephone Anthony slipped. Thanks. - Billy L (via email to
Hey, you slipped two questions in on me there! I wasn't planning on working this hard today.
Not a big deal, really, because I don't need to spend much time on the first one. Honestly, I think we're to the point now that anybody who doesn't feel comfortable with either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, for whatever reason, is looking for reasons to knock them down. This one isn't even a blip on the radar.
Winston has said that he played at 235 pounds last year at Florida State, and that his ideal playing weight is in the 230-235 range. He added some weight after the FSU season ended and then took it back off when he started training more rigorously. At the Combine, he weighed in at 230 pounds, so he was right where he wanted to be. He wasn't really expected to run a sizzling 40-yard dash – in the speed category, it's obvious that Mariota has the edge – and I don't think anyone particularly cared when, in fact, he did not.*
Here's the thing: If Winston is indeed able to shrug off would-be tacklers a la Ben Roethlisberger, he's probably not going to need to run 40 yards away from them. He just needs to stay upright, get some separation and buy some time to make a throw. He has demonstrated that ability in college and I imagine that's an important part of the scouting report that every team is putting together on him prior to the draft.
Look back at QB Jameis Winston's performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.
I reiterate this pretty much every time our mailbag conversation takes us to Winston, Mariota or the draft: I'm not saying the Buccaneers are or are not planning to pick either of those two quarterbacks. The opinions in this mailbag are mine and not meant to reflect those of Lovie Smith or Jason Licht. Still, I think most people would agree with me that Winston's 40-yard dash time in Indy was of little consequence.*
As for your second question (and again, this is my opinion alone), I think that makes a lot of sense. If Mason Foster, a pending unrestricted free agent, does not return in 2015, you'd have to consider middle linebacker a significant need for the Buccaneers. I recently mused that Stephone Anthony could be a player that makes sense for the team at pick #34.
Obviously, offensive line is a group that needs to be addressed, too, and there's a sense that some plug-and-play starters could be available at the top of the second round. If the Buccaneers' scouting of this class indicates that the O-Line depth is such that players of very good value would still be on the board at the top of Round *Three, then, yes, it might make sense to wait. Another possibility for pick #34 if the O-Line can wait is defensive line, which also has enough depth to potentially push impact players into Round Two.*
3. Hi Scott.*
The guy the Buccaneers pick at #1 this year will hopefully be a great player for a long time in Tampa. Of coruse we know from guys like Tim Couch and JaMarcus Russell that there's no guarantee of that whether the pick is a QB or not. The last time the Buccs were anywhere near the #1 pick was when they took Gerald mcCoy, which was good, but there have been some real first-round bummers for this team too. Why don't you give some of the younger Buc fans out there an idea of the team's draft past and tell me your ten best and ten worst first-round picks we've made.
- Thanks - Kevin M. (via email firstname.lastname@example.org)
You ever go to a place that is known for its great desserts, and then end up NOT getting dessert, to your great regret, because you filled up on the rest of the meal? Invariably somebody says, "Next time, we're just going to start with dessert."
Well, I should have started with the dessert here in this mailbag. I put this one third and when I started in on it I realized that not only was it the tastiest question of the lot but it also was going to lead to a lengthy response. See, you asked for the top 10 and the bottom 10, which actually accounts for 57.1% of the 35 first-round picks in Bucs history, so I just decided to rank them all.
*So, the good news, Kevin, is that you're going to get more than you asked for. The bad news is that you're not going to get it until Friday. I made an executive decision and decided to come back tomorrow and start with dessert. I hope you'll come back too and check it out.
Fans can submit questions for upcoming mailbags via Twitter to @ScottSBucs (#BucsMailbag), through a message on the Buccaneers Official Facebook Page or via email at *email@example.com. The One Buc Mailbag runs every Thursday and is not necessarily meant to reflect the opinions of the team's management or coaching staff.*