Since being named head coach of the Buccaneers, Bruce Arians has raved about the talent on the offensive side of the ball with the caveat that the offensive line needs to improve.

Tampa Bay selected eight new players last week in the NFL Draft, but none were offensive linemen. So how will an under-performing line improve, without an influx of new talent outside free agent Earl Watford?

Bucs run game coordinator Harold Goodwin, who works with the offensive line alongside Joe Gilbert, spoke at the podium on Thursday and thinks they will get it figured out.

“Obviously as a coach, you want to try and improve the competition in the room,” Goodwin said. “But from the couple months I have been here, I think highly of the room. It is a tight-knit group. Those guys are competitors. They help each other and work off each other. It is what it is. Those are my guys. No matter who is out there as the starting five, you will get the most out of them, I will get the most out of them and the fans will get the most out of them. We are going to do the best we can.”

Leadership is key on a football team at all positions, but really important on an offensive line according to Goodwin. While Ali Marpet was a team captain last year and regarded as the team’s best offensive lineman, but there are some others that can emerge as leaders.

Bucs run game coordinator Harold Goodwin
Bucs run game coordinator Harold Goodwin – Photo by:

“I think you have to have one head of the household,” Goodwin said. “But there can be a couple coming up behind him. I think right now, Ryan (Jensen) is. leader, Ali is a leader and I think Evan (Smith) is a leader in that room. I don’t really care who it is. But I think you have to have someone that is going to push everybody, hold everybody accountable. Because at the end of the day, B.A. [Bruce Arians] has always preached, ‘It’s not my team, it’s your team.’ So with that being said, somebody has to be director of the O-line room, somebody has to be director of the running back room, someone has to be director of the whole offense. I see some potential in some guys. And I think once these guys come to the forefront it is going to help this team be that much better.”

Gilbert also spoke to the media on Thursday and shared his thoughts on what he has liked so far.

“For me, the two things that have been really really refreshing, the guys in the room are very intelligent, cerebral, and really understand football right across the board,” Gilbert said. “From the standpoint it has been really positive. And I think overall, their athleticism. I think when you look at the guys across the board, we have guys the move very well, can bend, good redirection. So I am very pleased with the group of guys from those two things.”

Bucs LG Ali Marpet - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs LG Ali Marpet – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Wrapping up his time with the media, Gilbert shared with what he wants his signature on the offensive line to be.

“I think No. 1 if we have all five guys on the same page with being smart being No. 1,” Gilbert said. “And then No. 2 being physical and tough. And No.3, finishing. We aren’t putting a guy on the moon. But if we can get all five guys blocking the right people, being on the same page, with Jameis and everybody else, and then being physical and tough at the point of the attack, and then finish.

“In my opinion, watching the tape from last year there were times guys just weren’t finishing. They were there, but they just didn’t finish. Where from a quarterback standpoint he may hold it a little bit longer and we think the ball is off upfront and you give up a sack, or a hurry or a pressure when there was an opportunity to make a big play. So for me those are the three things that we emphasize inside.

Gilbert continued.

“Someone has to win a one-on-one block. We can’t double team every guy inside. The same thing in pass protect. You are going to slide, take into account who are their great pass rushers, but at the end of the day someone has to win a one-on-one block. Me against you, who wants it more. It might not always be pretty but I have got to instill my will over you, to beat your ass. Those guys up front, there aren’t any shortcuts.”

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]


  1. All of that that Amazing… Sounds like these guys are gonna get a re-education on how to punch people in the mouth and be on the same page doin it… It always sounds good in theory so let’s see how these guys actually execute it!

    Rating: +21. From 21 votes.
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  2. I like Arians is saying o line stunk because they did. Koetter would never say that just stupid coach speak like we all have to get better. No the right side of line and particularly Benenoch flat out sucked. They couldn’t run block for shit either.

    Marpet needs to be leader Jensen is a penalty machine and Smith is lazy on some plays.

    Rating: +11. From 15 votes.
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  3. Don’t get me wrong I liked Jensen’s toughness and nasty streak, but continuing after whistle and getting a penalty is flat out stupid and lack of self control.

    Hope they can light a fire under Smiths ass keep hearing how he has potential to be one best LT and every year he underwhelms other than his ability to stay healthy.

    Rating: +10. From 14 votes.
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  4. Yet the failed to draft any OL…….

    Rating: +1. From 9 votes.
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  5. I wouldn’t describe Dotson as being athletic.

    Rating: -5. From 13 votes.
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  6. PFF had some great things to say about the Bucs fourth round pick.
    They believe he was vastly underrated:

    Nelson combines plus athleticism with prodigious size and elite production over his career at Iowa. The 6-foot-7, 271-pound behemoth ran an absurd 6.95-second three-cone and had a 35.5” vertical. Over the past two seasons, he earned a 91.2 pass-rushing grade.

    Rating: +9. From 11 votes.
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  7. “Squeaky wheel gets the oil” Harold Goodwin and you got screwed on this one. Maybe you will do a Jedi mind trick and then suddenly Benenoch gets stronger, Dotson knees become like hardened steel, D Smith’s feet began to move like hinds feet or Jensen grows a brain and stops committing stupid penalties. Harold I am in all seriousness rooting for you because If this doesn’t work you will become the new whipping boy for the Bucs just ask Warhop he’ll tell you. Oh you might want to tell Leftwhich to design short quick routes so Winston isn’t killed this season.

    Rating: +6. From 10 votes.
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  8. Cut down the penalties on o-line and the offense improves easily.

    Rating: +7. From 7 votes.
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  9. Biggest disappointment so far is not “adding competition” to the O Line “room”. Let’s see how this shapes up between now and training camp. Have to bring new talent in to upgrade.

    Rating: +1. From 7 votes.
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  10. “Looking for leadership, toughness.”
    Passes on Dalton Risner. Unreal.

    Rating: 0. From 2 votes.
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  11. My opinion, the Bucs draft player strategy was flawed.
    My take:
    Bucs took a gamble on Smith and McCoy. Smith hopefully works out, McCoy will still be a quality DL for at least one year.
    Bucs chose to take a pass on Alexander, and that is where I would have put my money, along with Humphries. Especially with Beckwith not coming back, and losing Jackson. It would have allowed Bucs to take Josh Allen in the 1st round.
    Bucs drafted 3 defensive backs and passed on Greedy Williams in 2nd which made him a steal after we drafted at 39. This is a very obvious statement that Bucs look to turn over all of the Cornerbacks, and are not thrilled with Whitehead either. Hargraves is on the bubble. Bucs not taking an OL in the draft means that essentially they are stuck with last year’s OL for the foreseeable future. I predict that Licht’s career will rest on the last two drafts. If they become successes, Licht stays, if they stumble, or underperform he is toast.
    My measuring stick:
    Cappa has to start or be in the rotation for last year’s draft to be considered a success. Rojo has to succeed for last year’s draft to be a success.
    Vita Vea has to dominate from game one to be a success.
    At least one of last year’s DB’s has to stick. I am going with Davis even though rumor would suggest he is not their guy.
    Devin White has to be Rookie of the year and our Defense has to be dominating from day one Or Licht will be shown the door.

    Rating: -1. From 3 votes.
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  12. For those who are concerned about the O-line I offer the Scubog injection of hope. Let’s look at it another way. Let’s see how a drastically improved Defense aids the O-line.

    Last year the secondary, then later the linebacker corps, was in shambles. Opponents could basically pass and score at will. Teams rarely were forced to punt. As DrD pointed out, we were giving up 35+ points per game on the road. Guess what that inability to stop the enemy in its’ tracks does. It forces our Offense to constantly play from behind, making it one dimensional……….pass, pass and pass. Sure put that O-line at a serious disadvantage. Especially in the Red Zone, the other team ignored the run and headed straight for the QB without hesitation. The question for me; is the O-line as bad as it looked at times or was it simply put in a no-win (pun) situation? I do think Big Dot has seen better days, but I’m not ready to give up on Benenoch and Cappa just yet. Confidence is all they need. Coach sees it.

    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
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  13. Benenoch moves to tackle from what I have heard. I cannot see how he starts. Right Guard will be interesting. I have my fingers crossed that Smith stays healthy and limits penalties and false starts. My priority was Defensive Line and Offensive Line going into draft. I think we flunked on that measure. But if we keep McCoy and he performs at last’s year’s level and Vea has a break out year, It could be a lot better. The pressure is everything. DB’s perform better when the QB is running for his life. 13 Million for McCoy is going to be tough.

    Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
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  14. Sounds to me like Cappa should start at right guard. He’s a tough SOB.
    You can not be an offensive lineman without being, well offensive,

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