The Bucs offensive line were the unsung heroes of the team’s Week 1 victory over the Cowboys, at least in the eyes of some. Quarterback Tom Brady was not sacked or hit against the Cowboys behind a formidable front five. But Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was a little more reserved in his evaluation of the offensive line on Wednesday.
“They were ok,” Arians said. “They were ok. We didn’t give up a sack. But we gave up a couple hurries. The quarterback got moved off his spot a couple times when we had guys open. So it’s still a work in progress.”
Bucs OTs Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
While Brady was only under real duress a few times, I can see Arians’ point. Tristan Wirfs allowed three pressures, which is a mediocre day for him at best. He struggled at times with Demarcus Lawrence’s power and hand usage, getting knocked back a couple times. Wirfs only surrendered three pressures or more in two games last season.
Left tackle Donovan Smith was solid, but did surrender what should have been a strip sack to Dorance Armstrong. Only Tom Brady’s strong grip kept the play alive. Together, Smith and Wirfs allowed seven of the Cowboys 10 pressures, per PFF. Both Bucs tackles can be better moving forward.
It’s hard to complain about the Bucs interior trio, however. Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa and Ali Marpet were dominant in the run and pass game. The Bucs struggles to move the football on the ground were not due to the play of the interior offensive line. That bodes well for Tampa Bay’s matchup with the blitz-happy Falcons in Week 1.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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