About the author

Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

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    1. 1.1

      Alldaway 2.0

      Good post.

      This cover 3 shows the trenches are a big issue and we saw this coming a mile away.

    2. 1.2


      Haha of course it is, so sayeth the uneducated. Jameis hasn’t played well this year, we can all agree. But to put the blame squarely on him as most tend to do is a joke in itself. ZERO run game and a bad offensive line.

  1. 2


    Interesting analysis and questions, Trevor.

    My responses:

    1) A chain is no stronger than its weakest links, and an offensive line is a chain. We have a couple of weak links

    2) No to moving Dotson – don’t break what ain’t broke, in an effort to fix what is broke

    3) Donovan Smith just doesn’t seem to be progressing much … getting a new left tackle when you don’t have a reliable one is always a priority for any team. Whether there’s someone in free agency, trade, etc, or a high draft pick, it’s gotta get fixed.

    4) Leave Marpet where he is, he’s good and getting better. Again, don’t fix what ain’t broke, or it’ll all just get more broke.

    1. 2.1

      Buc 1976

      D Smith needs to change positions maybe LG?
      With the 1 rd pick do we go O LINE or D LINE? Neither Line has drafted a sure fire lineman since G McCoy. So many needs and not enough picks.

  2. 3


    Interesting how the Patriots like to spend a lot of high draft pick on both lines…

  3. 4

    Alldaway 2.0

    D. Smith to LG.

    Find a new LT.

    That is the starting point. If Benonoch, Pamphile and Lester are in the mix that is fine. Stick it out with Sweazy at RG, because RG isn’t the big worry. Finding a true athletic LT and also finding a replacement for Dotson soon.

  4. 5


    It’s always about improving the OL and DL in every draft; don’t think we’ve done that so much.. As to the OL; Smith is the weakest link as Naplesfan put it. Time to try someone else regardless of his knee situation. I would bring in an older OLT off season and draft another OLT in 2nd or 3rd round. I would move Smith to Sweezy’s ORG spot off season. I don’t believe Smith is a complet bust; he just can’t play OT and OG might be his better position.

    I definitely would n”t Marpet as he is rated as a good Center. Looks like Pamphile is going to play OLT so smith is at OLG despite both of these guys being tweener’s at their new positions.

    Meathead truely botched this past draft by not drafting early rounds DL and OL; he rolled the dice Smith, Sweezy, Spence, Gholston would all deliver. He failed miserably and is one GM who I would replace. I’m willing to give Koetter another year as HC, IF he finds new OC and DC. Of course this is based on we winning 4 out of the next 8 games.

    1. 5.1

      Buc 1976

      It doesn’t matter how many weapons you have on Offence if you can’t protect the QB or open some holes for RB’S.
      After ignoring the DL for so long the Bucs will have to pay big in FA or draft and hope.
      Also just for fun I saw that Dwight F. has 2 sacks lol

  5. 6

    Trevor Sikkema

    I actually kind of like the suggestions y’all are making about Smith going to guard, although I know there are techniques to learn and adjust to, if he did. He just doesn’t have the feet to play tackle, but there’s a chance he can still be a force, if right in front of people. Less space for him to have to block could mean some nice success.

    1. 6.1


      I seem to recall on draft day the book on Smith was “probably a better chance at guard than tackle”….should we be surprised he’s failed at tackle.

  6. 7


    This story brings up good points and helps to highlight what I believe is Tampa Bay’s biggest problem preventing them from getting wins: they cannot control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball. Their difficulties in generating a pass rush are well documented. Run defense is OK, but too many big gainers are surrendered. The pocket is almost never collapsed. They MUST find edge pass rushers, STAT. I am disappointed in the offensive line’s play thus far. Dotson has been good, but he’s 32 years old. They have to start thinking about a successor at RT. Donovan Smith has not impressed me in run or pass blocking. I don’t see effort to the whistle with him, either. A major setback for the team if Smith cannot be a reliable blind-side protector for Jameis Winston. They spent a second round draft pick on him to be that guy. They thought he was going to be that guy, and the results so far just aren’t good enough, in my opinion. Guard play has been underwhelming. There just aren’t any holes being opened between the tackles in the run game. The Bucs have way too many run plays that result in 0 or negative yardage. The Bucs’ offense does not feature a lot of short, quick passes. They run a lot of intermediate and deep routes. That means that pass protection has to hold up for these routes to develop and for the QB to go through his progressions. It simply is not happening. Too much pressure on the QB too soon.

    I don’t think the rotation at LG is doing anything to help with chemistry on the offensive line. Choose a starter and stick with him unless his performance does not meet expectations.

    I had reservations about the team’s plan to move Marpet to center, since he was playing so well at RG. Hindsight, I wish they would have left him there and not signed Sweezy. Seattle has arguably the worst offensive line in football, and they let Sweezy go! I think the O-line played better with Hawley at center and Marpet at RG. I think Marpet is doing a good job at center, but I just think he’s better at RG. How about Hawley at center, Marpet at RG, and Sweezy at LG? Has that been considered? If the team can’t choose between Pamphile and Evan Smith at LG, why not try Sweezy over there, and then put Hawley at center and Marpet at RG? Hawley is not a spring chicken, either, so even if this lineup was tried, the team would still have to look at a successor at center in the near future.

    I would not move Dotson to LT. He’s been playing pretty well at RT. He’s comfortable there.

    Bottom line, the offensive line is in need of improved play, whether it comes from the players currently on the roster, or new players acquired in the offseason.

  7. 8


    Here is my problem with Jason Licht. (who has been one of our better GMs) He drafts flashy toys instead of dirty workers. Last year I would have taken either Bamma DT over a CB or undersized DE. This year Cam Robinson could have let D Smith move to RT. Elflein or Pocic could have let Marpet stay at G. Instead we get a TE, the least used position on offense, a WR whose played very little and a safety who’s played ok. It all starts with line play. EVERYONE knows this yet the Bucs, and other teams, just don’t seem to put draft or free agent priority to it. Fans were screaming all off season for them to fix the line. But you guys reported from the beginning, the Bucs were happy with what they had. Didn’t look great in January, looks terrible now. If fans can see it, why can’t the professionals?

    1. 8.1

      Buc 1976

      I have been saying the same thing about the line play. Some teams draft a D Linemen early 1-2 rd. Every year. The Bucs on the other hand seem to keep trying to build from the back end. With little to no pass rush NO CB OR SAFTY can cover that long.

  8. 9

    Buc-n-Philly Fan

    There were many of us after the draft and free agency that screamed from the mountain tops about how no moves were made to improve the O line. We were told the Bucs and the Media didn’t believe that was a weakness. They were very happy with the group that had. If “we” the Fans can see the lack of talent on the O line why can’t the paid professionals including a number of the Team here at PRR?

    Now Trevor, I am not calling you personally out with this post but I will say none of you were calling for more attention to be paid to the O line and the Team is paying for it. Jameis is paying for it. I believe I made a direct statement saying Jameis could be in jeopardy and low and behold….”down goes Jameis”!!! As a fan since 1976, I am so embarrassed, disappointed “to quote a Lovie’ism” and frustrated. I wait all year hoping…..just F’ing hoping our Team will finally turn around!

    Fix the damn O line! Fix the damn D line! Get that lack of work ethic Swaggy Baker out of here (Naplesfan you kept saying he was a good player!) and the Team (Jason Licht) that keeps reaching for these cast offs from other Teams and address it correctly through the draft.

    Being a Bucs Fan is hard…….

    1. 9.1

      Buc 1976

      Could Not agree more well said!!

  9. 10


    Gruden had this to say on Mike & Mike this morning. The new CBA with less contact is killing O line play around the league. He attributes the Rams success this year as having to do with the fact they’ve had the same 5 starters all season. He credits McVay for getting them properly prepared during training camp, and of course staying healthy has a lot to do with it. Hmmm, getting your team properly prepared during training camp. That doesn’t bode well for Koetter’s soft camp.

    1. 10.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I totally agree with this. The recent CBAs and contact rules have hurt a lot of teams we thought had potential.

  10. 11


    “Pressure theirs and protect ours,” the golden rule of the trenches. We’ve done neither and that needs to change before we can turn this ship around. All the weapons we have on offense in relation to our production has been nothing short of ridiculous.

    Many people point at Jameis’ inconsistency and the lack of a running game. Both would be fixed by fixing the OL. The weak link is D Smith at LT. Find us a starting LT in the draft and let D Smith enter the mix and battle it out with Benenoch/E Smith/Pamphile for the LG spot.

    Our DL is just as bad providing zero pressure outside of GMC. Getting Spence back will help but honestly, he’s undersized and more suited as a 3-4 OLB. We need a decent pass rusher in the draft as our FA pickups haven’t seemed to work out.

    Fix both lines and watch the numbers build

  11. 12


    I forgot you guys felt proud we weren’t gonna get new lineman. Tsk tsk tsk,

    Roster building is like taking an exam you’re either 100% sure on a question that you’re right or you’re unsure. And when you’re unsure it can go either way. We had questions for Smith, sweezy, pamphile. And all 3 were wrong.

    1. 12.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      You have to bet on areas with the salary cap. Problem is most team bet on positions like TE or WR or LB. The Bucs bet on DE and OL.

      Not good. Those positions are too important.

  12. 13

    Charlie C

    Don’t change a thing on the o or d line this year. Give them the full year to see where the players end up. Draft exclusively oline and dline next year. Do not bring in high priced free agents. Keep the staff intact. Show patience or risk becoming the Browns of the NFC coaching carousel. Scratch that, we already are. Tampa Bay, where coaches come to die

  13. 14


    Dotson is performing admirably at RT, moving him does not make sense. Marpet is a good C but was a Pro Bowler at G so that’s where I would return him. Finding a starting caliber C in the 2nd or 3rd round should be feasible and I’d use the 1st round pick on the kid from Texas or Notre Dame to play LT. Donovan Smith should battle Sweezy in camp for his job or become the swing tackle if he losses that competition. Sweezy isn’t the weakest link but he has not stood out either, so I’d rather give Smith a job to potentially earn while letting Sweezy know that he needs to be a difference maker if he wants to keep his job. In the perfect world we take a LT in the 1st, DE in the 2nd and C in the 3rd. Once the Glazers fire Bonehead hopefully we get a GM with a track record of building both lines of scrimmage to complete the final phase of this rebuild.

    1. 14.1


      As weak as we are in defensive ends I have to agree that the most important pick will be the left offensive tackle, if we want to protect Winston.

  14. 15


    Wow watching that film is disturbing. No wonder Jameis is getting skittish in the pocket. As for Doug, bench him, he’s done and cut him after the season. I think we’ve all seen enough. Donovan Smith is just terrible. I can’t even say average at this point. He needs to be moved next year, which sucks as we’ll now almost have to take a tackle in the draft this year when it’s sorely needed on defensive line.
    This team is just poorly coached, end of story. I saw another clip the other day of that third down early in the game, where Winston threw it 20 yards downfield on 3rd and 4 I believe. The two receivers at the bottom, had crossing routes and ran right into each other. I see this all the time with this team this year. Their attention to detail sucks.

  15. 16


    The Bucs have ignored the o and d line for too long. Bucs should have built the team from the line out, instead we draft an undersized corner when we had no pass rush . We were told better corners would allow the pass rush to get home. That hasn’t happened. Smith has been below average for years . Bucs need to load up on pass rushers in 1st and 2nd rounds as the cupboard is bare. A free agent tackle can be brought in for short term than address Tackle in the 2019 draft. I would move Marpet back to guard and look for a center in round 4 of the draft. Pass rush has to be the first order of business as Tampa may have the worst group of DE’s in the league.

  16. 17


    Put Smith at right guard. Move Dotson to Left tackle. Bring Benonoch into RT. Evan Smith needs to play more than Pamphile. We are a mess on that line. Marpet is a stud though. On the defensive line, we are clearly not putting enough pressure on the QB. For some reason teams are running on us, too. Our tackles are just fine. We have no pass rush talent on the DE. Gholston is a run stopper, not a pass rusher. But he is injured now. Spence is our only positive, but he is smallish, and injured. How about this on the line: McCoy, Baker, MacDonald, and whoever can provide some speed rush. Occasional blitz from David or TJ Ward.
    Then again, why are we trying to figure this out? Isn’t the coaching staff supposed to have these things tweeked and worked out by the mid-season?

  17. 18


    Dotson is the only player capable of playing left tackle on the roster. I would move him and then let Pamphile and Smith fight it out for the right tackle position but I agree with the idea of moving Smith to left guard, as he has never played on the right side this should be an easier transition for him.

    Another part of the problem is coaching. Warhop is not a good coach. Regardless of talent what we should see on passing plays is a pocket develop around the QB. This is something that needs to be coached. Too often I see the tackles kick back while both guards and center stand flat footed creating rushing lanes in the B gaps. Then they struggle to get into position and they are not in position to take on the ends in case they stunt inside and there is an outside blitzer. Denver for example is not a great OL but at least they are in the proper positions. Our players look like they have never had a single day of NFL caliber coaching

  18. 19


    please remind me why we just cut D. Penn??? wasn’t that one of meathead ‘s first move?

    1. 19.1


      Penn is still a starter for the Raiders.

      1. 19.1.1
  19. 20


    So many things have gone wrong on the OL since the 2015 season. Licht has addressed the OL needs for the last 3 years. But, almost every player they needed to excel and move they’ve made hasn’t panned out. Sweezy, D Smith, Pamp, Caleb haven’t come good.

    -Dot: Playing well after an okay 2016 season. But he’s also 32.
    -Sweezy: Disaster of a signing as he’s not great in pass pro AND not the run mauler we expected.
    -Marpet: Great draft pick. Stud G & getting better at C. I love the grit of Hawley, but he got pushed around too much last year. Moving Ali to C was a good move, even if Sweezy is lacking at RG.
    -Pamp: Another player Licht was counting on to be solid this year. But, for some reason this stupid rotation with E Smith is happening and I believe it’s screwing up the line chemistry. One player has to be better than the other. Stick with one!
    -D Smith: The ultimate player Licht was betting on to come good this year. I didn’t like pick in 2015 and I hate it even more now. Feet are too slow for LT & I’m surprised it took him 2 1/2 years to get Jameis injured. He has to be a LG only as his size alone inside should mask his bad feet/indecision.

    Dirk has no choice but to revert back chipping the DE on Donovan’s side if he stays in a LT. People praised his play at the end of last year and it was mostly a smoke screen. Hump, Brate, Stocker, Sims, Doug, Quizz, all gave him help. I don’t know why Dirk didn’t implement that after Jameis reinjured his shoulder in Bills game. (Thanks Donovan) More poor coaching decisions.

  20. 21


    Trevor, I agree with most others thoughts on here about moving Smith to LG. As you pointed out, while he is athletic and strong, he doesn’t have the feet and awareness necessary to play on an island. Some of that could be potentially mitigated by putting him in a box at LG, reducing the space that he would have to cover. On the same note, I vote to then try Pamphile at LT. I think his issue, at LG, is a lack of strength and aggressiveness. Trying to take on DTs without is tough, but moving him to LT could better take advantage of his athleticism and hide his deficiencies. Its about playing to the strengths of the players you have and attempting to mask their weaknesses.

    Just a side thought….what do you think Winston would fetch in a trade? High 1st and more? I ask because, while I think Winston has potential, his consistency with regard to his accuracy isn’t there yet. I wondered if we wouldn’t be able to trade Winston for a high pick (it would have to be a high 1st plus at least a 2nd) then come back in free agency and sign Kirk Cousins. While Cousins certainly doesn’t have the potential that Winston does, he would do a much better job of utilizing the weapons that we currently have in place on offense. We know he can connect with Jackson and would probably love to have Evans, Brate, Howard, Humphries, and Godwin to throw to as well. Overall, that would give us an upgrade at QB in the short term (ignoring the question of whether Winston ever reaches his potential) and, we wouldn’t be that far off in terms of salary considering Winston is due a raise soon. Then we could turn around and select a LT and DE high in the draft (or even Saquon Barkley) help shore up both lines, while still potentially having additional draft capital later in the draft from the trade to address other needs. You have to think Cleveland and/or the Giants would consider making the trade.

    What are your thoughts?

    1. 21.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Even if you got beyond the problem of trading a potential franchise QB, Winston’s current situation off a bad season with a bum shoulder would mean no price would add up to his foreseen potential. Just not something that you would do at this point, if at all.

      Realistically, if you’re trading Winston you better be getting multiple first round picks for him.

      1. 21.1.1


        Agree completely you would have to get a lot in return and have everything in place to do something like this, not to mention win fast because if you don’t, as a GM, you’d be fired quick. But, at the end of the day, while Winston has potential, that’s all it is right now. He is excellent under pressure, but inconsistent when not (which makes me think it’s a combination of footwork and overthinking) and his slow starts to games have, at times, put us in holes we can’t climb out of. I’m not saying I want this to happen, nor do I think it will, just wondering what your thoughts were.

        So 2 questions:
        1)Do you think another team would give up 2 1st Rd picks plus some for Winston?
        2)Do you think the Bucs would be a better team with Cousins at QB and the infusion of talent that would come form the multiple picks you could get in a trade for Winston or by keeping Winston?

    2. 21.2


      Trade Jameis? Haha that’s a good one. And what exactly has Kirk Cousins won? Yes let’s trade a 24 year old for a 34 year old. The density of some of you is astonishing.

      1. 21.2.1


        Question from the dense one here….where did you get that Kirk Cousins is 34 years old? There’s a thing called Google now, don’t know if you heard of it, but a quick search will show you he is 29. Just wondering, since I’m the dense one.

    3. 21.3


      Wow…I really can’t even comprehend this as a legitimate option. I think any QB would be shaky in his accuracy when he’s being pressured more than 80% of the time. Jameis is a young gunslinger and along with that comes some bone head decisions, but also some good ones. Shore up the OL and give him some time to make good decisions and he’ll make them more often than not

  21. 22


    Nice Article Trevor. I have a question, rather than have Smith continue to struggle at LT, why don’t they move him inside to guard? His size and strength would be great for the interior and his footspeed would be less of an issue. What are your thoughts?

  22. 23


    I’m confused by this article.

    Yes, the OL has struggled in run blocking. But the same grades you’re using show the OL has been very strong in pass blocking. Yet you primarily criticise pass blocking in this article? And don’t mention how good the OL has been (outside of Smith) in pass blocking?

    1. 23.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I would say I primarily criticize communication and chemistry along the offensive line and then Donovan Smith’s play in particular.

      Dotson has been good, which I pointed out with the grades. Marpet hasn’t been as good as he was at guard (understandably so with his first year). Evan Smith has been decent. But my whole point was that players are playing well enough for individual grades, but never all at once to actually be good as a unit.

  23. 24


    Love the article. One thing that I have been wondering about is the mish mash of styles. We seem to have some guys that are better man blockers, some that are better zone blockers. I was initially excited about Marpet. Marpet can man or zone block very well but I thought they would use his athleticism and short area quickness to be more creative with the blocking schemes. The problem is Sweezy and Pamphile have struggled. Sweezy looks to be a power/man blocking guy. Pamphile looks to man block better while E. Smith is a good zone blocker. Donovan Smith, flat out lacks the athleticism and aggression to do either well this year. My right guard can be ok as a pass blocker if he is dominant as a run blocker in either zone or man scheme. This season, Sweezy has not. My left tackle can struggle as a run blocker if he is exceptional at pass blocking. D Smith can’t do either well this year.

    He has to be tried out at left guard. I would, while Winston is out, try a totally revamped look to see what I actually have (sorry Fitz)

    Left tackle — Dot
    Left Guard — E Smith, until D Smith got back
    Center — Marpet
    Right Guard — Sweezy, with Benenoch spelling him for 25% or so of the snaps
    Right Tackle — Pamphile

    This way, we would know. How much should we pay Pamphile? Right now, splitting time with E. Smith, not much, but Dot isn’t getting younger. We need a long term solution at Right Tackle. If Pamphile is that guy, that would be good to know.

    Can Benenoch play? How much worse can he really be than Sweezy. Sweezy has been really lost this year.

    Marpet is the center for the future, we need some athletic guards on his shoulders tho, maybe D Smith is that guy. I mean if Seattle is willing to move a former #2 overall pick, Luke Joeckel to guard, I think the Bucs can swallow trying to move D Smith there.

    Left Tackle.. Dot.. can he stop gap or swing tackle if we draft one in next year’s draft.

    Also, we need to see how they can do without OJ Howard staying in to pass block so freaking much. He gets ISO’d on an end too much IMO. He’s just too valuable as a receiver. Otherwise, put 40 pounds on him for the off season and turn him into the most athletic Tackle ever.. or better yet, put 20 pounds on him and let him be a DE. (that was all a joke about OJ, but please start using the kid as a receiver more, can he please be set up to get 1v1 on a linebacker or saftey in the seam)

    Lastly. How important was Logan Mankins to this team? It can not be understated.

  24. 25


    Also, how much of this lack of chemistry can be attributed to what, Pewter Report and others called “the softest camp they’ve ever experienced”?

  25. 26


    Ok.. One last point.

    Other sites have reported that the Titans and the Bucs run similar offensive schemes. I took it upon myself to do some serious film study on the Titans. Watching Taylor Lewan vs Donovan Smith just isn’t fair. It is like they are playing two different sports. No big knock on Smith. He just can’t do what Lewan does.

  26. 27


    Hey man… long time.


    Donovan Smith was thought to be a guard prospect. I think he would be an ideal left guard. He’ll always get help and can use his strength in a phone booth a bit more. It keeps him on his left side so he’s not having to relearn the same techniques and flip them due to being on the right. He would provide depth at the left tackle spot too.

    With that said, a team is usually graded talent wise on the premier positions : LT, edge rusher, Cornerback, QB, and wide Rceiver. The latter two are set, barring criminal activity, but the first three aren’t. As bad as the pass rush has been, Left tackle is the biggest need bc it allows an upgrade at multiple spots, improves the running game and edge pass protection.

    Center is a cerebral position. Physicality is a luxury. If your right guard isn’t bringing physicality then there’s a big problem. Marpet would flourish with a transition back to right guard. He returns healthy, more aware & Knowledgeable and happier. It also allows the team to take advantage of his strengths more, while still providing depth. Lastly, it would be nice to see Donovan Smith and Marpet, very close friends playing as the two guards and increasing that bond.

    The Center is the the mind. Hawley or Evan Smith are more than capable of taking on those duties now that both are healthy. Long term you gotta address it, but it’s not the reason we can run the ball or we can’t. They are 9/10 times the seal or the move man.

    Demar Dotson is doing his thing. Until otherwise, leave him the hell alome.

    Our Backups are backups and we let Pamphile walk as a jack of all trades is how you get away from having real talent. Take the compensatory when he’s overpaid or resign him for depth and the heir to Demar Dotson. Leonard Webster would move to the #3 Left tackle if you want that and Caleb benenoch is the #3 right tackle. Clearly the team would be light at guard, but Pamphile is clearly the #6 offensive lineman at all positions except Left tackle and center so depth is solved with him.

  27. 28


    This is an interesting take. Potentially leaves us with two strong Guards, a good RT if we can get another year out of Dot, some cap space if we dispatch Sweezy, serviceable play at C unless a high quality prospect falls to us in the 3rd round (if not take one in the 2nd round the following year) and spending our 1st round pick on LT this coming draft (which we have to do any way with Licht’s gamble on Smith not panning out, and as others mentioned that has a reinforcing effect helping both pass pro and the run game. The followIng year you pick up a RT (and a C unless you get lucky on one in the 3rd this year).

    This approach lets you go DL and CB in the 2nd and maybe 3rd next draft and hit ‘me again in the 1st and 3rd the following year. No more relying on late picks on the OL and no more reaches

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