Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter made it clear Wednesday that he doesn’t believe injuries should knock players out of starting roles.
He was asked if injured starting center Evan Smith will find himself on the sideline watching newcomer Joe Hawley taking his reps when he gets to playing condition, potentially Week 7 in Washington after the Bucs’ bye.
“Evan’s our starter when he comes back,” Koetter said. “A player shouldn’t lose a starting spot because of injury. We’re happy to have Joe and Joe’s going to be a valuable piece. We’ll need them both.”
Smith injured his ankle during Tampa Bay’s Week 2 win at New Orleans. It occurred on the second drive of the third quarter and Hawley has taken over ever since.
Hawley came to Tampa Bay following the Bucs’ opening-day loss to Tennessee. He spent his first five seasons in Atlanta and the last three playing in Koetter’s offensive system when the coach coordinated the Falcons’ attack.
With rookies at left tackle and right guard and injuries taking their toll, the Bucs’ offensive line expects to be a work-in-progress all season.
In addition to Hawley taking over temporarily at center, Kevin Pamphile received his third career start last week against Jacksonville when he took over for an injured Logan Mankins at left guard. Prior to the regular season Tampa Bay brought in Gosder Cherilus to fill in at right tackle when starter Demar Dotson had to be placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list. Dotson will be eligible to play Week 9 at home against the New York Giants.
Tampa Bay’s offense has realized an increase in total offensive production over the last two weeks, averaging 390 yards per contest. The Bucs are now 20th in the NFL in total yards per game (340.8) after averaging up just 308 through their first three games.
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Don’t like this one bit. I get the mantra that a veteran shouldn’t lose their spot due to injury, but this offense has clearly been better without Evans in there.
I’m sorry cgmaster27. The offense coach should know about these line men. I really like the evauation of the line. Its seems that the problem is not the line men but the CB &Safety.The team is getting better. I can’t eait when bucs goes to washington and wins sunday go bucs.
All of a sudden it seems like we have a lot of depth on the offensive line.
Did we pluck Hawley off the waiver wire or did he clear waivers before we signed him
I think we plucked Hawley off if the waiver but don’t quote me.
I agree that a player shouldn’t lose their spot because of an injury. However, they SHOULD lose their spot by being out played and I believe that’s what has happened here. The entire line seems to play better with Hawley in there.
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