The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their first day of OTAs (organized team activities) on Tuesday, being forced into the team’s indoor practice facility due to inclement weather, with the practice open to the media.

Following the opening segment of practice where it was largely positionally-focused drills, the team moved to two separate practice sessions that both included 11-on-11 drills. One side of the field largely involved the first- and second-teams, while most of the rookies (minus recently-drafted cornerbacks Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean and outside linebacker Anthony Nelson), back-ups and former practice squad players ran their own session on the other side.

These sessions allowed the media to get a first look at where players were initially slotted prior to training camp, especially along the heavily criticized offensive line where the Bucs failed to make meaningful additions through the draft or free agency, with the exception of veteran guard Earl Watford.

Bucs RG Alex Cappa
Bucs RG Alex Cappa – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The left side of the line looked largely untouched, with Ryan Jensen sitting at center, Ali Marpet manning the left guard position and newly re-signed Donovan Smith at left tackle. The right side of the line, however, raised some eyebrows.

Many expected OTAs and training camp to be an open battle between Watford and second-year Alex Cappa at right guard, with Demar Dotson remaining safely in position to start at right tackle. But it was Cappa who took almost all of the first-team snaps at right guard while last year’s starter at the position, Caleb Benenoch, slid over to right tackle for a heavy dose of the first-team reps as Dotson, who is entering his 11th year in Tampa Bay, only took a few reps.

It’s early, and head coach Bruce Arians likely needs a lot more film to effectively judge what he’s got in Cappa and Benenoch than he does veteran players like Watford and Dotson. Arian also believes that you can get your best out of players through competition.

Arians declined to comment on what he saw from the offensive linemen in practice on Tuesday.

“Nothing,” Arians said when asked about about Cappa and Benenoch. “They don’t have pads on. We’ll go in and watch the film, but for those guys, it’s hard for them. I don’t judge anything on them at this time of the year.”

The Buccaneers are still a long way from Week 1, so Pewter Report will keep a close eye on the positional battles that develop through OTAs along the Bucs’ offensive line.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. I have hopes for Cappa to improve and compete with Watford, Holcomb, and Bailey. Not sure with Benonoch as he seems to be struggling. Time will tell.

    My prediction is when the pads go on that Liedtke is going to ascend the depth chart IMO. I hope that prediction comes true. Or I could be wrong but that is my hope.

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    Rating: +13. From 17 votes.
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    • In limited snaps last year, I felt that Liedtke was very consistent. I have to agree that he should get a better look.

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      Rating: +9. From 11 votes.
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  2. Until the pads come on I wouldn’t read to much into this. The only thing of note is Benenoch move to RT. Looks like someone on Arians staff has a brain unlike Koetter’s staff.

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    Rating: +22. From 24 votes.
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  3. It was hard to believe all last year they didn’t have another option better than Benenoch at RG. He was terrible.

    I saw Liedtke play LT I think I’m pre season and he looked pretty good.

    The defense will be better than last year no doubt, (can’t get lot worse) lol, but I feel like this season is riding on this O line and run game.

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    Rating: +9. From 13 votes.
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  4. I going to agree with you there @fredster. We are just one O lineman away from this offense being unstoppable. Kinda wish it was more of a priority going into the off season.

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    Rating: +16. From 18 votes.
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  5. Yea I would not read to much into this at all. Dotson is 153 years old in NFL years, so they dont need any unnecessary knee tweaks at this time of year. I would expect Watford and Dotson to start on the right side, with a chance that maybe Cappa can beat out Watford. But they are not in pads so it is hard for the linemen to prove anything

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    Rating: +11. From 11 votes.
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  6. This makes perfect sense – need to put Benenoch in his natural position and Cappa where he can compete. Get them reps to learn the offense and work on technique. Put it on film to start the evaluation process. Make the determination early as to whether they are the guys when the pads come on. Bring in other players as needed.

    Coaches know what Dotson can do, so no need to work him now. He gets a lot of bad JuJu on this site because he’s on the back end of his career, but I love the guy. All he does is work. He’s a boot straps player and has worked for everything he’s gotten. He’ll be able to contribute to this team whether it’s as a starter or coming off the bench.

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  7. It’s not so much last year that there may not have been anyone better. The problem last year is Koetter knew he was out if the season went South, then when it went South it was about saving some kind of face for his next gig. So at no point was he looking to try any guys that may have had potential but merely just to ride what he thought gave him the best shot into the ground if he had to… sit was not a good situation for guys like Jones and Cappa because if they didn’t show it on the first glance then there’s no way Koetter was gonna risk further downward spiral. Not to say I blame him in his situation… But now it’s time to find out what these guys really have and they will get their chance to show it and I just know there are gonna be a few surprises if not a bunch… So many people are doom and gloom already and predicting a 3-peat of 5-11 but no one really knows how we are even remotely gonna look until the first snap, and probably not yet even then…

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    Rating: +18. From 20 votes.
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  8. If Cappa, and Benenoch can’t beat out Watford, and Dotson, we’re in trouble. I don’t have the faith in Dotson most fans seem to have. I don’t see a quality guard, or tackle in this group.

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  9. Got to agree with surfer dudes. Bad O-line play and the lack of any acknowledgement from the GM has always been my beef with Licht. You don’t have time to pick out WR and TE’s when you are on your back all day. Very simple but Licht doesn’t seem to get it.

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    Rating: +4. From 6 votes.
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  10. Actually Licht has spent some high round picks on the OL qnd also mid round picks which he hasn;t done as much of on the DL side of the ball but until last season, Vea was the first player on either side of the line to be a No. 1 pick.
    I am praying Watford can come in and at least be a serviceable RG but i also know the Cardinals had the worst rated offensive line last year so what does that tell us.

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    Rating: +3. From 5 votes.
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  11. ATL signed different FAs on OL and doubled down in the draft with two first rounders. IMHO there is no way they can keep all this players on their roster, so new bodies may come from a rival.
    Bad part is, theses players were coached by our former staff..

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    Rating: 0. From 4 votes.
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  12. Licht has drafted, re-signed draftees and signed free agent offensive linemen. To suggest he has ignored the position is inaccurate. The problem may be that he made the wrong choices, but it’s also in the realm of possibility that the youngsters simply haven’t been developed fully just yet. Let’s give the small college Cappa a chance to learn before writing him off just yet and let’s put Benenoch in the right spot before declaring him a 5th round “bust.” Plus I think we all can agree that Warhop was doing a poor job with his group. Throw in the fact that the defense made our offense too predictable when having to constantly play from behind. It all ties together. Too easy to blame the O-line and of course the QB when in reality, the root of the problem was that putrid defense and “misplaced” kicking.

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    Rating: +7. From 9 votes.
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  13. I often agree with Scubog but not this time.

    Saying BL ignored the OL is factually inaccurate. But focusing on the word ignore to defend BL’s actions distorts the argument, the way the Orange Man often does.

    The point and problem is that he failed to consistently invest high picks in the line on both sides of the ball. That is undeniable and that is what people are frustrated about.

    As a result we have a LT we were reluctant to lock up long term because his play was so inconsistent throughout his initial contract, a handful of young, mid to low round pick hopefuls who haven’t shown or even flashed starting caliber play yet on the right side, a FA (ie, another team was willing to let him go) Center, a RT with little tread left, and only one draft pick who is a no questions asked starter playing at LG.

    Ignored? Of course not. Under invested in for over a half decade? Absolutely.

    Did he do the exact damn same thing to the DL? Absolutely. Does this core weakness undermine the best efforts of the rest of the players on both sides of the ball? Absofreakinlutely.

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  14. @matador: It’s true that Licht has not used a 1st round choice on an offensive lineman, but he has used what most would categorize as “premium” choices (rounds 2 and 3). It’s too bad we missed out on Nelson. I don’t see the O-line, in and of itself, as big of an issue as some do. I believe it would be much improved simply by not always becoming one dimensional, especially in the red zone.

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    Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
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  15. Sorry Scu, I agree with your general point that BL’s picks have been disappointments (to this point, five seasons in). But you’re parsing words to support an opinion the facts don’t back up.

    How many premium picks has he invested in OL and DL combined during his reign of cellar dwelling? He has systematically underinvested in the lines.

    Ironically to your earlier comment about him picking the wrong players that’s in part because he has had to keep redrafting for the same position as the busts piled up at multiple positions.

    For example Sims and then maybe Rojo maybe not, ASJ and then adding OJH when we had Brate, two examples where a first and second rounder could have made so much more impact at areas of high need like OL and DL.

    The combination of the players he picks combined with his allocation of resources has been abysmal. I’m open to continuing this dialogue but personally I think the picks speak for themselves.

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    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
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  16. Most NFL teams have at least one first rounder on their lines with the rest being mid tier picks, free agents and undrafted free agents.

    The Bucs are interesting as they have not drafted a first round OL since Davin Joseph. Davin Joseph is a guard and most first round picks are more often OTs.

    This is because the Bucs lucked their way into finding Donald Penn IMO which has caused the franchise to avoid the position for far too long.

    If the Bucs are serious about building an o-line investing a first round pick at LT or RT is usually high recommended.

    Now, if D. Smith pans out at LT then the Bucs don’t have to use a first to find a new RT. Maybe the RT candidate is already on the roster. But the Bucs will still need to invest a 2nd/3rd round pick for the new RT if no candidate emerges.

    Had Licht had more success with unrestricted free agent/undrafted free agent o-linemen that he has brought in the scrutiny with regard the lack of drafted OL would be diminished IMO.

    There is no way to slice it but the Bucs need to invest more in their lines. They simply haven’t done enough IMVHO.

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    Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
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