After revamping the Bucs offensive line in the offseason, the results have been a total disaster. While it is clear the Buccaneers need a quarterback for the future, the biggest the priority this offseason should be upgrading a porous offensive line, especially after Sunday’s 34-17 loss at Detroit. Tampa Bay’s offensive line gave up six sacks and 14 quarterback hits to a ferocious Lions defense.
“They got after us pretty good,” Bucs quarterback Josh McCown said of Detroit’s defense. “That’s a really, really good front. Maybe the best front four in the league. They were pinning their ears back and coming.”
After watching last season’s film felt team’s coaching staff and front office needed to upgrade the offensive line, and rightfully so. Unfortunately the money spent appears to have been a waste as this year’s group is even worse than the 2013 Bucs’ offensive line.
During the 2014 offseason, right guard Davin Joseph and left tackle Donald Penn were released and center Jeremy Zuttah was traded to the Baltimore Ravens for a fifth-round draft pick.
The Bucs added Oniel Cousins as a free agent and then gave Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins – who never started a 16-game schedule during his career – a five-year, $30 million deal to be the starting left tackle. The Bucs then added former Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith to replace Zuttah at center, and during the preseason traded a fourth-rounder and tight end Tim Wright to New England for Logan Mankins, who looks like a shell of his former shelf.
The results have been underwhelming to say the least.
While the Jeff Tedford debacle hurt the chances for offensive success, along with inconsistent quarterback play, the biggest issue isn’t who is calling plays or the person under the center. The main problem is the inexcusable play of the offensive line.
The Buccaneers must revamp the offensive line in the offseason, or it doesn’t matter if Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston or even Peyton Manning is under center. The Buccaneers can’t pass protect (six sacks) or run block (26 yards rushing) and won’t see any improvement in 2015 without a major overhaul.