Mb Nfl Lock Of The Szn Pewter 728x90 Jpg

After five years of protecting the Bucs’ former first overall pick Jameis Winston, left tackle Donovan Smith will now be tasked with keeping one of the game’s greatest passers upright heading into the 2020 season.

Smith spoke the media via a virtual press conference on Wednesday, where he talked about his workouts and preparation in the midst of a global pandemic, as well as what it will be like to block for Tom Brady while potentially seeing Winston on the opposing sideline twice per year.

“I was super excited to hear it when we signed Brady and everything,” Smith said. “Basically me and my guys are going to have the opportunity to block for the greatest quarterback of all time, in NFL history. So I was super excited about it and I was ready to go. It gave us something to look forward to with all of these things going on, in terms of the pandemic and everything, it just gave us a boost to look forward to come season time.”

When asked if there’s any added pressure that comes along with blocking for Brady, Smith insisted that he’s got a job to do regardless of who’s under center but added that Brady’s tendency to get the ball out quickly and elevate the play of those around him will help the Bucs’ offensive line as a unit.

“Any time a quarterback gets the ball out quickly it helps the offensive linemen,” Smith said. “That’s hands down, but it doesn’t change my job. Obviously you’re there to do a job and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, regardless of who they put back there, but obviously with the GOAT being back there the level of play is heightened and he brings out the best in everybody. So I look forward to it as an O-Line.”

The arrival of a new signal-caller spelled the end of the Winston era for Tampa Bay, as the quarterback recently signed a one-year deal with the division rival New Orleans Saints. While the first two selections in the Bucs’ 2015 draft class may no longer share a sideline, Smith wished Winston the best and said he’ll look forward to potentially seeing his former teammate twice a season.

“In terms of Jameis, I’m happy for him. That’s great for him,” Smith said. “We went to battle for the past five years together so I have nothing but love and respect for him and it’s just great for him to have another opportunity to go and study under a great quarterback. It’s going to be good for him, and yeah, it’s going to be fun to be able to see him twice a year.”

But while the Bucs’ offseason was a whirlwind throughout free agency and the draft process, it came to a screeching halt alongside a national shutdown. Not only has the shutdown impacted sports fans around the country, but it poses a specific problem for players who may not have readily accessible facilities or equipment to remain in playing shape, especially offensive linemen who require specific training and chemistry as a unit.

Part of the process has been alleviated by optional workouts provided by the Bucs’ strength and conditioning coach Anthony Piroli.

“You have to become a skill athlete,” Smith said. “You run, you do a lot of ladders and that’s where our conditioning comes from anyway. We do a lot of ladder work and then we just have to get out there and do football-specific movements.”

Smith continued, elaborating on how long he thought it would take to get the offensive line game-ready once they’re provided the opportunity to return to practice.

“I think a solid month, month-and-a-half maybe. Two months depending on what we’re doing. But a lot of these guys know how to maintain and stay in shape with what we’re doing. I guess the hardest part would just be finding the facilities or the space to run and do things, but it’s our job and we have to make the best of it.”

While we don’t yet have a specific timeline for when football will be gearing back up, Smith says that he looks forward to playing in front of a packed Raymond James Stadium that the addition of Brady and Rob Gronkowski will surely bring, along with the opportunity to get back to work when that time comes.

“I’m ready to go whenever they tell us what days we need to be there,” Smith said. “I’m going to be ready regardless of whether we’ve got people in the stands or not, but like I said, you want your fans there to be able to see and support you. You feed off of that.”

Share On Socials

About the Author: Taylor Jenkins

Subscribe
Notify of
42 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Buc-Up
1 year ago

Yes, Winston held onto the ball too long and took sacks. But he also shook off a bunch of sacks, so it probably evened out except when he fumbled. Just like it evens out when he was intercepted when our players ran the wrong route and didn’t catch it resulting in the ball being batted to the defense versus when Winston threw to the other team and they dropped the interception!

EricNV
Reply to  Buc-Up
1 year ago

He took a bunch of sacks because he held the ball for too long. The ball should be coming out of the QB’s hand in less than 3 seconds, and we all know Jameis’s penchant for holding on well beyond 3 seconds. I have to agree with D Smith on this subject.

NC Greenbeard
Reply to  Buc-Up
1 year ago

Well if you calculate the algorithm of INTs that were the fault of receivers, etc and the throws that SHOULD have been INTs but we’re dropped (which I believe he lead the league or close to it), it would average out to about… say… 30 interceptions.. which is just way too much.

bucoffmatey
Reply to  NC Greenbeard
1 year ago

I’m impressed! Your algorithm calculated out his interception rate perfectly! Math genius in the house!!

NC Greenbeard
Reply to  bucoffmatey
1 year ago

Oh I’m no math genius, I didn’t create the algorithm. I just saw the results!

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  NC Greenbeard
1 year ago

Algorithms aside, 7-9 with a QB throwing 30 picks and 7 picks 6s is impressive. I was trying to look up the best overall team win/loss record with a qb throwing 30 picks or more, but no dice. I’m assuming the Bucs have one of the best records in that regard.

NC Greenbeard
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 year ago

62 Oilers 11-3 (AFL)
88 Bucs 5-11
60 Broncos 4-9-1 (AFL)
68 Chargers 9-5 (AFL)
78 Vikings 8-7-1
47 Bears 8-4
65 Oilers 4-10 (AFL)
78 Raiders 9-7
80 Jets 4-12
61 Titans/Jets 7-7 (AFL)
67 Cardinals (STL) 6-7-1

BigSombrero
1 year ago

Great interview! I have always liked Donovan Smith and I think he’ll have a great season!

Go Bucs!

Dave
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

Well it’s long overdue, seeing as he hasn’t had a great one yet. Last year was his highest graded year at 70.8. Before last year he was 67 and under the previous 4 years.

EricNV
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

He had his best season yet last year. He’s no All Pro, but he was solid last year. It was the right side of the line that sucked last season.

Dave
Reply to  EricNV
1 year ago

Oh that I won’t argue. He definitely had his best year last year. I agree 100%. That’s more of an indictment on how mediocre he was before last year though. And if last year was his peak year, I would call that a massive disappointment. So hopefully the light bulb turned on last year. I think having to protect for 4.5 seconds versus 5.5 seconds this year will make a big difference. The talent is there for sure, and hope he takes another big leap this year

FLBoy84
Reply to  EricNV
1 year ago

Believe Smith graded out as a middle of the pack OT (something like 30-33rd out of 60 or so OT’s) per PFF, yet was the 9th highest paid OT in the league last season. He was better than he had been, but nowhere near the talent he’s being paid to be. He’s 8th highest paid this year. Doubtful he earns that money either, even with Brady’s help in keeping his sack numbers down. Hoping Wirfs is as good as billed and can take over the LT spot in ’21.

bucballer
Reply to  FLBoy84
1 year ago

From ur lips to God’s ears FLBoy! That’s been my major gripe about Smith. Production doesn’t match compensation! Money spent on an overpriced Smith is money that can’t be spent elsewhere on the roster for improvements. He’s worth about half of what he currently makes. It’s that LT premium. I don’t think he’s worth it. If Wirfs can ball, and I think he can, I think he takes over at LT next year and Smith is moved over to the right side with a pay reduction or outright release when his guaranteed money is not an issue on the cap… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  bucballer
1 year ago

100% agree. He’s never been anything more than a mediocre LT. He’s been consistent if anything else. Consistently league average. His PFF grades from 15-18’ were between 62-67 every single season. He’s never terrible, but he’s just inconsistent enough to never be great. Hopefully having to hold his block for less time with Brady will make a big difference and he can earn his money. He definitely was improved last year. Let’s make it 2 years in a row

bucballer
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

Yep Dave! I agree! He needs to be paid like a consistently average player and not top ten talent!

BigSombrero
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

troll comment

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

The Bucs knew what they were getting in Smith having watched him play for 4 years. They had to give him over market value as he was set to hit free agency and would have likely gotten more from a tackle needy team. Jensen was the highest paid center in the NFL at the time of this contract, I believe. Free agency is terrible. It’s why hitting on picks in the draft is such a necessity. At least both positions are stable now, even if they don’t live up to their contracts. Bucs will hopefully draft oodles of linemen in… Read more »

NC Greenbeard
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 year ago

Spot on

bucballer
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 year ago

The Bucs did not HAVE to give him over market contract! They choose to do so! They could have offered a lower contract with just a slight increase in pay. He could take it or sign elsewhere. That’s the game! He CAN be replaced! Penn was replaced! Now in retrospect, that might have been a mistake as he continued to ball out with the Raiders. It’s a judgement call. And usually GM’s job is on the line if this happens with frequency. The basic point is this, the Bucs cannot continue to give thoroughbred salaries to just average horses! That’s… Read more »

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  bucballer
1 year ago

To my recollection, the Bucs drafted Penn’s replacement. I agree Licht has needed to prioritize o line and the pass rush in the first for years, but I think one thing about Smith has been forgotten. The guy hardly misses games. No one is saying the o line isn’t overpaid. What I am saying, is that Smith, while average, has been a rock for 6 years. He’s a proven commodity, while his drafted replacement would not be. To me, it’s easy to rationalize the signing. Overpaying for talent is what happens in free agency, and one could make the case… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 year ago

When you pay $5,000 over sticker price on a car you like before the guy standing behind could offer $7,000 over, you’re not getting a bargain. You’re simply overpaying for a car. The reason they overpaid though was because they left themselves without any fall back options at the position and would’ve have to overpay even more on the FA market. Paid what they had to to give themselves a another 2-3 year window to find a replacement.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  FLBoy84
1 year ago

The craziest part about the overpaying argument is, there are a bunch of players still on rookie contracts consistently outperforming their salary. It all evens out. Chris Godwin, Vita Vea and others aren’t paid yet, but will be soon enough. Hell, JL got 19.5 sacks for 4 million bucks last year! I am with you in hoping we can find cheaper replacements with higher ceilings for Jensen and Smith.

BigSombrero
Reply to  EricNV
1 year ago

troll patrol

Dave
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

It’s a troll comment because most of us realize that Donovan Smith is a league average LT? Lol That’s what he is. Nothing special. Our QB’s constantly get sacked left and right, and our running game is always near the bottom. You can keep blaming the QB and the RB’s all you want. But D.Smith has played a part in that, whether you choose to ignore it or not. PFF grades by year. 2015) 62.5. 2016) 63.9. 2017) 64.9. 2018) 66.4. 2019) 70.8. Outside last year, he’s been remarkably, consistently, league average at best. Nothing troll about that. Now you… Read more »

BigSombrero
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

Its trolling when I say Wirfs is overrated and Brady is over the hill, but its NOT trolling when you bash a top 10 LT in the league by most accounts?

Hypocritical Bullshit.

CrackerBall
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

… but Donovan Smith is NOT a Top 10 LT by ANY measure (*except salary)

tnew
1 year ago

Anyone bother to look up the time to throw stats between slow as molasses, too dumb to read defenses quickly Winston and Mr. Quickdraw, greased lightning, All-World GOAT Brady???

I’ll go ahead and post it for you…according to NextGen Stats

Brady was a respectable 13th at 2.75.

Winston was a lowly 15th at 2.77.

uhh…. wait a minute.. um ok… nevermind….

geno711
Reply to  tnew
1 year ago

So many think the time to throw stat is the most misleading of the passing stats. First the next generation stats time to throw stat excluded the times the quarterback was sacked. If anyone has ever seen one quarterback try to extend every play and then take a sack where another quarterback throws a ball away. The 2nd issue is it is a stat that ranges from 0.5 to well over six seconds, looking at simple averages can give undue weight to outliers and lose context of the entire passing game. I am with the group that thinks this is… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  geno711
1 year ago

100% agree. Very misleading stat. And keep in mind too, Winston was holding onto the ball too long with Evans, Godwin, Howard, and Brate running routes. Brady was throwing to J.Edelman, P.Dorsett, J.Meyers, Sanu, and N.Harry. So too many times he had to buy time, buy time, and buy more time for someone to get open. Finally dumping off to White. So not every release time is the same.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

Beat me to it Dave lol

43 Is Only Old in Human Years
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

Another consideration is the offensive attack. Much of the Patriot attack was to get the ball to Edelman in space in a shorter controlled passing game and depend on yards after catch. These routs take less time to develop than the down field passing attack featured by the Bucs. Doesn’t matter if you the GOAT or not it still take a receiver longer to run 20 yards than it does for him to run 5. Unless the Bucs change their attack Brady will have to hold the ball longer. I am interested, and I will look it up when I… Read more »

geno711
1 year ago

Brady’s tendency to get the ball out quickly and elevate the play of those around him will help the Bucs’ offensive line as a unit.

Donovan is a smart man and he makes me excited for the season. But I am a biased Brady fan!

danielob
1 year ago

Hope Donovan doesn’t take a few plays a game off like he has been known to do this season. I admire his durability, he is a lunch-pail type of player. I remember last season he got hurt and had to come out, his fill-in started to get Winston killed and he came back in the game to protect Jameis, that took guts. Hope he has a good year.

Spitfire
1 year ago

Winston did hang onto the ball too long at times but he also extended plays with his feet. Hopefully after all that time the Oline had to hold defenses from getting to Winston, and now that they hopefully won’t have to do that anymore, it will make them even stronger. Hopefully whatever they do at this point will feel like a piece of cake to them. Smith obviously cares about Winston but he said it himself, Brady gets rid of the ball quicker. They know they had to do extra with Winston. It got them 5,000 yards in the air,… Read more »

drdneast
Reply to  Spitfire
1 year ago

Tnew, Excellent stat.But don’t try to convince these anti Winston haters of anything with logic. Like our moronic President, they think with their gut.
Brady also was tossing the ball in a lot different offensive scheme as wel which centered around getting the ball out on shorter routes.

43 Is Only Old in Human Years
Reply to  drdneast
1 year ago

Maybe we can if we stick to the facts. Like yesterday when the vindication of the President started with the release of the Intelligence Committee files. Facts my friend, stick to the facts.

BucRy
1 year ago

I have learned to appreciate smith after he got injured last year and had to go on the sidelines for a few plays (can’t remember who they were playing) but when he was sitting out for those few plays, our offensive line really struggled without him and it showed…he isn’t the best but he is a solid tackle overall.

Pick6
1 year ago

In a messed up offseason like this one, I feel like the big bodies are the ones most primed for a letdown. It’s a fine line between giant athlete and big strong fat guy, it’s never been harder to condition, work with trainers, or manage a precise diet than now. Hoping everyone shows Brady-like physical discipline

HOF63
1 year ago

Was he asked about about the new 1st rd pick?

Captain Sly
Reply to  HOF63
1 year ago

Some of you are down on D Smiths’ play based off his salary, when in reality he never demanded that $$. Licht paid him based off market value for the position…
Truthfully D Smith has been a serviceable LT and the Bucs made the right move in resigning him. Some of you need to think before you post about life without Donovan Smith because at least he’s consistent even if that’s “Average”…
Cheers!

bucballer
Reply to  Captain Sly
1 year ago

Some said the same about #3! We will see how that change works out! Nobody said he was not serviceable. In fact, it was said he is a serviceable LT. He is just overpaid. He is not a top ten LT! His new contract was based on future performance and that he would continue to get better. He has improved his play… a little bit. He is now consistently average. We need him to be even better this year and continue to improve. I think he can. He better. With the GOAT behind center it is crucial that we keep… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  bucballer
1 year ago

Perfectly said!

Mb Nfl Lock Of The Szn Pewter 728x90 Jpg