Bucs LT Donovan Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Cover 3 is a weekly feature column written by PewterReport.com’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat writer Trevor Sikkema published every Tuesday. The column, as its name suggests, comes in three phases: a statistical observation, an in-depth film breakdown, and a “this or that” segment where the writer asks the reader to chose between two options.
SIKKEMA’S STAT OF THE WEEK
The Buccaneers offensive line was under a good amount of scrutiny during the 2016 NFL season, and that has continued to be the case as we’ve moved on into the offseason. As the draft process really started to get off the ground back in January, and the hints began to come out that the team was most likely not going to invest a high pick or big-time free agency money into the offensive line, the fans started to express their dislike for that train of thought.
Trench play is king in the game of football. If you can’t win up front, most of the time it won’t matter who you have at the skill positions or even at the quarterback positions – just ask the Indianapolis Colts after this year. But though they’ve come with struggles, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a plan, or long-term outlook, for Tampa Bay’s offensive line. Through bad timing, unfortunate injuries and just a need more for development, the 2016 performance by the big boys in the trenches left much to be desired. But let’s take a look at some of the numbers and see if it was more of just bad luck on a plan that was still developing, or if the writing really is on the wall for changes to be made.
When it comes to the offensive line as a whole, the people over at Pro Football Focus ranked the Buccaneers 23rd in the NFL by the time the season was finished. Their top-rated lineman on the team was right guard Ali Marpet, who scored in the Top 20 as a pass protector and was the site’s No. 5 overall RG as a run blocker this season. Here’s what they had to say about the line as a whole.
The left side of the Buccaneers’ line was a real problem area, with the play of LT Donovan Smith proving to be a real issue. Smith surrendered 57 total QB pressures and 14 penalties over his season, with Kevin Pamphile inside of him chipping in with 32 pressures of his own. Second-year player Ali Marpet continued his development with solid play, especially in the run game, while Joe Hawley and Demar Dotson were capable starters at center and right tackle, respectively. The line wasn’t helped when injury forced them to bring Gosder Cherilus into the lineup at right tackle, as he was beaten for three sacks and two hurries in just two games starting before being sent back to the bench to end the year.
Marpet, now going into his third year in the NFL, has proven to be not only versatile, but also dependable in whatever position he’s asked to play. He’s not just a guy who is masked as a “he can play guard or center” in the sense that he can’t play either at a great level so the team just labels him “flexible”. Marpet is not only good, but is great at any of the three interior spots on the offensive line, and is a player who metrics guru Ethan Young considers to be one of the more underrated prospects in all of football.
“I haven’t seen that level of play strength [very often]. He just flashes it at times and you can tell he can really move people. It’s really impressive, and he has the feet, too, for someone who can develop to pass protect. I really like him a lot. I think he’s one of the more underrated players in the league.”
Expect Marpet to be the focal point of this offensive line when it really starts to take shape for future years. What the team decides to do with Marpet, whether that’s keeping him at guard or allowing him to play center with J.R. Sweezy’s hopeful return, will speak towards where they go in acquiring offensive line talent for the future.
PFF rated Marpet as one of the best offensive guards, not only on the Buccaneers but in the NFL, but they also said Kevin Pamphile was one of the worst in Tampa’s starting five. However, at least on run plays, the statistical averages didn’t exactly line up with that. Since PFF is just one type of grading scale, I’m going to try to give as much complete information as I can to balance any kind of human grading or statistically grading there is.
On the interior, the success rate of run plays to Pamphile’s left side of the line were much more consistent than Marpet’s right side. Pamphile also had more attempts to his size, so that avoids any kind of skew in the stats. Averaging nearly 5 yards per attempt over the right guard on second down is great, but overall, running the ball to the left side proved to be more effective, for whatever reason.
PFF noted Pamphile’s struggles as a pass protector, and those concerns are still there (especially in the form of penalties), but knowing the kind of success the team had running the ball to his size, it’s clear that he’s not as much of a project offensive lineman as they portray him to be.
Floating over to the right side of the line now, right tackle Demar Dotson graded out as a top 10 right tackle in the league by B/R’s NFL1000 project. In this grading scale, writers watch every player from every team at a certain position each week. They score offensive lineman on scale that includes: pass blocking, run blocking, strength and mobility. The only right tackle in the NFL who scored a higher mobility score than Dotson was the No. 1 player, Lane Johnson. Dotson’s pass and run scores were reflecting of his lower position, but a lot of that has to do with offensive line chemistry as well – keep that in mind any time you talk about both successes and failures of players on an offensive line. Overall, at 31 years old, Dotson is certainly a serviceable-to-preferred right tackle in this league.
But now on to the important part.
PFF’s report reflected the main gripe fans seem to have with the offensive line and that is that their left tackle, Donovan Smith, is the team’s worst starting offensive lineman. In the NFL1000 project by B/R, Smith graded out as the 31st ranked left tackle in the league – which, if you’re any good at math, you know means he was one spot off being the worst at No. 32. Smith’s pass protecting and run blocking skills actually weren’t too bad, but his strength and especially mobility scores killed him.
Not only that, but Smith was the most penalized offensive tackle in the entire NFL in terms of calls against him. However, it’s worth noting that one of the best offensive tackle in the NFL, grade wise, Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan, was only one penalty behind Smith, and had even more yards from penalties than Smith did.
On the flip side, Smith is only 23 years old and Buccaneers general manager, Jason Licht, has referenced many times when asked about the criticism of Smith that, in reality, he should’ve been a rookie either last year or even this upcoming year because of how young he is. Instead, he has two NFL seasons under his belt. Smith also hasn’t missed any time due to injury, playing and starting in all 32 of his professional games. That’s pretty unusual for an offensive lineman. With availability being a key component of playing offensive line, that’s an area of Smith’s game (durability) that has to be seen as a positive.
There are many Bucs fans who are ready to give up on Smith after his two years, but the fact of the matter is the team is not in agreement with that. Smith is going to continue to start at left tackle going into the 2017 season, and that’s just the way it is. He has to be better, plain and simple, no one is saying that he doesn’t. Not the team; not the staff; not even himself. But, the Bucs are betting on his athleticism, durability and development to all catch up in his third year and see his performance jump from that bottom tier of left tackles at least into the middle-of-the-pack, serviceable starter grade – hoping that he can become a Top 10 left tackle in the league in the years to follow that. If he doesn’t progress, they’ll move on. We’ve already seen they’re not afraid to do so with other positions.
And that’s the last point about Donovan Smith: There’s a plan. The reason the Buccaneers have had the cap space to bring in players like Brent Grimes, Robert Ayers, DeSean Jackson and Chris Baker is because three of their starting five offensive linemen are currently playing on their rookie deals, and not to mention their quarterback is as well – left tackle and quarterback are usually the two highest paid players on payroll. The Bucs know that being in that situation is rare, especially for a team that is competing for the playoffs. They’re not going to be as quick to ruin that plan as fans might be. They’re going to let this play out another year, make sure they really know what they have, then make big changes next year if improvement isn’t made. There is a plan in place, and there is an escape route if it fails.
Until then, it’s just being smart financially and hoping patience in scouting and development pay off because of it. If it does, this team has set themselves up to be healthy in their cap space and in their performance on the field for years to come.
But, as that old Tom Petty song goes, the waiting is the hardest part.
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]
LT: Don Smith
Back-ups: Benenoch, Wester, E. Smith
LT D. Smith
LG K. Pamphile
C A. Marpet
RG J.R. Sweezy
RT D. Dotson
I believe in the plan the Buccaneers have and that you explained, perfectly.I think Hawley can be a great mentor for Marpet at center. That may be the reason he was brought back. Plus, Coach Koetter has said that he wants the best five on the field and these are the best five. But, if they don’t develop this year, that have a plan to fix that.
Last year’s draft field for OL was stronger than this year’s draft field. Licht knew that and picked up Benenoch. Licht has drafted to the strength of the draft field.
One question for you Trevor, what do you think of Webster, Benenoch and Gottschalk? I thought Gottschalk did well before he got hurt. Thanks for another great column. I think there is a little too much hysteria on the OL. I hope your column will alleviate that. Go Bucs!
I wish I had a more in-depth answer for you. The only time I watched those guys was live.
I know Ethan Young, the metrics guy I quoted on the first page, was not a fan of Benenoch at all. He thought his functional strength was limited in college and was still a problem when he came in. Wester and Gottschalk were the better of that group, though.
Thanks for a quick reply!
Trevor, very good. Based on what you have written, who are the back up’s and why?
Couple ways you can go with this. All depends on what you do with Marpet.
I would say Gottschalk and Hawley would be the main interior back ups and Wester would be the OT back up. Pamphile’s mobility and agile scores were pretty low, so I’m not one of the people calling for him to take Dot’s place at RT. If anything, he’d start at a guard spot.
Any starting five line up is almost surely going to change with injury, either in the preseason or regular season. I’d really like to see better depth in this group.
Lt: Donovan smith
LG: J.R. Sweezy
Center: Evan smith
RG: Ali Marpet
RT: Kevin Pamphile
I think Pamphile needs one more year of development. During TC and preseason you rotate to make sure, but I think you keep Ali at his current position and Sweezy to theleft. Only one player learning a new position, not two.
LT = Smith
LG = Sweezy
C = Hawley
RG = Marpet
RT = Dotson
freddy – that’s the lineup I’d start out with, injury allowing.
Trevor – as I replied above, I’m with freddy on his starting lineup.
I’m not with those who say the offensive line is broken and needs an overhaul, as long as Sweezy plays well. I don’t doubt that Sweezy will play well, but the line is a unit so it remains to be seen how well he plays with the others we have.
I am with those who say that the offensive line is never a finished product (like Scott Reynolds). I believe it takes at least a little new blood every season, just to deal with injury and to avoid having to do complete overhauls every 3 or 4 years, which usually amounts to a lost season. The Bucs are reportedly working out offensive linemen for the draft, and Licht may still be looking at a free agent or possibly trade deal, just to freshen the line up a bit this season.
correction – meant to insert the word “unlike” before “Scott Reynolds”. He has been adamant in saying no OL talent will be added this season. I don’t know how he could say something like that except as a point of pure pride in being right on something he keeps saying over and over again. There’s no pride in something like this – just stuff we know (very little) and stuff we opine on (most everything). Unless Jason is whispering his entire draft board and veteran plan direclty into Scott’s ear, there is no way he can be that definitive.
Naplesfan, I had similar concerns too with our OL. After watching the analysis Trevor did so expertly on Sweezy, I have reservations he still has all those attributes Trevor showed after missing a complete season. It appears to me the Bucs have an issue since they don’t really know where Sweezy is at this point in time as to actual football ready before the draft. There’s got to be a back-up plan but I sure don’t know what it is?
Nice analysis Trevor – I am one who is quite concerned about the OLine, and the resultant health of our star QB.
Just to be different – and because I want a new LT desperately (although I think Smith could actually be a descent OG):
Sweezy if he ever gets healthy could spell Smith, and Smith could spell Pamphile….but I would start camp like this and see how they do. Most of all, I would line up in 2 TE sets A LOT to give the extra help.
I agree with your starting five on the O-line EEB. You beat me to it! I don’t think Sweezy or D. Smith deserve to start for the Bucs. In addition, I think you placed our best 5 O-linemen in the best position for them and the offense to succeed.
I would go
But I’m really considering putting marpet at center an pampline at LG our 3 interior linemen gives us some really nastiness to our line also gotts I hope can improve to be our center I really think smith will focus an it will all come together for him this yr we should be improved everywhere with jackpot coming in will make all aspects of offense better
In all fairness to Benenoch, he missed OTA’s due to college graduation rules, then got injured in training camp. So the kid was behind the 8 ball to begin with. I think he could be a P.R. sleeper pick this year, and might end up as Dotson’s air apparent.
We shall see!
Nice work Trevor! Any chance we could get you to do a complete OL breakdown like you did with VHIII?
Tough call on who to switch to which guard position. Neither of them played guard in college so both are capable of switching positions. I think I would error on the side of continuity and replace Pamphile with Sweezy. So going with what we have now:
I’m on the side of this line needs better players and I’ve posted before on PR about my desires for day 1/2 picks to go to the OL. I get that the Bucs arent ready to give up on D Smith, I can live with that. Marpet is the stud of the group and lets assume Sweezy will be back to form. Pamphile is a back up, plain and simple. No way he can be viewed as a starter and then with a straight face say “We are happy with the OL as is.” I love Brawling Hawley’s style of play but he is often rag dolled by DTs. Dotson is old and often injuried, IMHO, he should be replacing Cherilus as a backup, not starting. If Marpet moves to C, that leaves a hole a G and no matter what, more talent is needed at RT. I’d love for that to be fixed with Cam Robinson in the 1st and Pocic or Elfein in the 2nd. Yea I know, about as much chance of that as me being named the Bucs new Director of scouting.
I’ve thought about doing a complete O-Line film breakdown like you referenced. Might even turn it into a series and bring in so guests to give their point of view as well. Guys I know in the industry who boast trench work as their expertise.
All in the works, but if you guys want it, I’ll make it happen one way or another.
Start the best 5:
LT D. Smith
LG K. Pamphile
C A. Marpet
RG J.R. Sweezy
RT D. Dotson
I’m one of the ones that thinks it starts up front and our O line stinks. Not going to sugar coat it. They sucked last year.
Smith was second worst LT in league and we are just hoping his third year hecomes around? Hmm don’t know about that. Not holding my breath.
I think they should possibly try Dotson at LT until we can draft one. Also not expecting much from Sweezy. The guy hasn’t played In a freaking year with untested surgery fixed back and now he’s our savior? Lol.
Pamphile may come around and is big guy and cheap. We also need an upgrade at center weather we draft one or try Marpet. Hawley and Evans both are below average….
Starting OL I hope to see opening day.
I’m still not sold on D. Smith at LT, but he’s the only option we have. Just needs to be consistent. I think Pamp will be fine with a stronger C beside him. Marpet I believe can be the key to our line becoming really solid. Smart. Tough. Nasty. Quick. Sweezy is the wild card. He’s a natural RG, so let him slide back into that spot. If he cleans up his pass pro a bit, we’re solid. I think Benenoch supplants Dot at RT this season. He was hampered last year by starting training late because of UCLA. I think the kid is going to be good. If after camp Dot is still RT, then fine. Just no more TD reversing, momentum sucking, drive killing, holding penalties please.
I do not think of it as an overhaul but looking for upgrades.
Just because you have Martin, Brate, DJAX on the roster doesn’t mean the Bucs are not looking to add upgrades at TE, WR, and RB. So, the same can be said at OL.
The best five right now is this configuration:
The Bucs have interest in two centers in this upcoming draft. Not only that but they have more centers on the roster currently than any other OL position.
LT – D Smith (he’s young, let’s pray)
LG – Sweezy
C – Hawley / Pamp battle
RG – Marpet
RT – Dot
Swing tackle for Jumbo – Pamp
It looked like Hawley was banged up most of last year. If he enters the season healthy and strong, keep him at center. With Marpet’s development at RG, I think it would be unwise to move him. Let Pamp battle Hawley at center. If Dot gets banged up again, i think you put Pamp there.
These guys have to gel this year and get better. Coach em up!!! I would still draft a lineman in the later rounds to compete.
I pay little attention to some statistician and prefer to go with what I see. I believe a lot of the supposed offensive line issues had to do with trying to have an effective running game and passing game with guys off the street. Doug Martin and Charles Sims could hardly have digressed more from their 2015 season.
Outside of Logan Mankins at LG, it was the same group, but with another year experience and working together. I just don’t see the O-line as the main culprit here.
As Alldaway noted, there are five centers on the roster plus Marpet and Panphile who may be cross trained there. That’s a lot of center candidates. It tells me that Licht and Warhop are not satisfied with the starting center and hopeful one of them emerges.
Being a best player proponent, if an offensive lineman is the top ranked position when we’re on the clock, take him.
It does not matter what variation we go with, this unit should have been upgraded. Relying on a guard who graded out poorly the season before we acquired him then missed all of last season with a back injury is a recipe for disaster. We needed to acquire either a starter at G or C which would have alleviated a lot of these concerns. Paying a Zietler, or acquiring Zuttah would have been the best options to improve. Now we are stuck shuffling the same deck chairs from last year and hoping for better results, sounds like insanity.
As usual – well said. My post had the same intention – it mostly sucks (apart from Marpet) so why not try it a little differently until you find something slightly better than last year…and then actually do the upgrade that is needed.
I do think that a team can get away with not having 5 studs on the OL like Dallas had (that’s nice for them) – try the New Orleans model for example, where they had studs at OG and C but mostly left the OTs to lower tier guys. It created a smaller pocket, but a solid one for Brees to step into…worked well for them year after year. We have Marpet, we just need the Center and OG (I wonder if D Smith could become that OG if he was given a chance?)…there are a few Center upgrades possible in the draft too…maybe, just maybe we’ll get one.
I certainly hope we are wrong and these 4 guys turn the corner and drastically improve their game but I just don’t see it happening. Licht gets a pass on this website because people think he’s a genius for selecting Jameis and Mike Evans but I view those as obvious decisions. Last year when it wasn’t a top 5 slam dunk pick he selected the CB who gave up the most yards in the NFL in the first round, a rotational DE in the 2nd and a kicker with our top 3 picks and this from a guy who hung his hat on being a film/draft guru. I think Spence has a chance to be very good but the other two picks leave a lot to be desired. We absolve him of the free agency blunders early on because we claim he was just doing what Lovie wanted but praise him when he brings in Grimes and Ayers. Grimes was an Atlanta guy, Jac. Rodgers was an Atlanta guy, Hawley was an Atlanta and granted they all improved the team when we needed the help but let’s not be stupid Im sure Koetter and Mike Smith had more to do with those guys coming than Jason Licht. I love the Desean Jackson addition but if we dont get improved play on the OL I think the eyes should be firmly focused on Licht since it’s his responsibility to improve the team. We find these silver lining stats that say it’s not so bad but the eye test and our players production tell a different story.
You’re cherry picking, guy.
The CB he picked up also was named to the All Rookie Team by the PFWA, was the third leading tackler on the Bucs, and was the second leading tackler amongst all CBs in the league. He was targeted far more than veteran Grimes because, well, that’s what every NFL offense is going to do to a rookie starting corner. Rookie corners always get schooled by the league, every time, without exception. Yet by the end of the season VHIII was effectively the quarterback of the defensive backfield, calling plays for his teammates and assisting them with PDs and INTs.
As a die-hard Bucs fan, I hope you’re right about our GM. I hope that he really is a great judge of talent and that we’ll start to see that very soon. I would happily eat that crow.
I am not saying his job is easy, or that anyone could have done so much better in FA and the draft (although I suspect many of us (including PR)have better records over the last 3 years, for what it’s worth).
What I am saying is, I don’t see the rationale for all the praise – what are the fantastic decisions he’s made (are we pointing to Cameron Brate as the decision that has made our GM praise-worthy)? Kwon was Lovie; the ATL guys Smith/Koetter; GMC and LvD pre-date his time.
I want to see all of his choices become all-pro too, but what do I have to base that optimism on?…it seems, as @stlbucsfan suggests, all we have (as clearly his own choices) are a few top-10 picks aligned with ESPN (and Ali Marpet) that say more about how bad we’ve been on the field, than how good our GM is at finding talent in the draft.
I’m just wanting to understand the case for optimism in our GM.
Thanks Trevor- I enjoy how you break down the video each week.
If Sweezy has shown the ability to transition, starting him on the left should not be a problem. I can also appreciate the “best 5 on the field” and moving Market to C.
Hoping Gotts/Bene continue to develop and think that bringing Hawley back provides that veteran leadership the young guys need.
Would be happy with a BPA addition in the draft too
From my mind to your keyboard….well said again.
Eli Apple, who we could have drafted if not for trading back, was also a rookie and did not give up over 1000 yards receiving. I could careless what All Rookie team he was voted on when he was the only CB in football to give up 1000 yards receiving. Again you are very good at finding excuses rather than just accepting the facts presented. You make it seem like VHIII was targeted so much because Grimes was on the other side and not because he was giving up the most yardage in football. But again you prefer excuses while I look at results.
It’s not “making excuses” – it’s recognizing reality. I’m applauding VHIII as a really good rookie cornerback who was playing extremely well by the final month of his rookie season.
I also find it funny that you mention him among the leaders in tackles for a CB as if the massive yardage and completions going his way had nothing to do with it. If you give up that many catches you are probably in a position to make more tackles, its a crazy theory.
McDougald, who easily outperformed Chris Conte, just signed a 1 year deal with the Seahawks presumably for backup money since he’s not starting over Thomas or Chancellor. A smart GM brings in Wilcox to challenge McDougald in camp for his job and let’s the best man win. It’s small moves like that make the difference over a 16 game season. We preach quality depth all the time but this is a perfect example of quality depth walking out the door.
If you were starting a team from scratch, or if you walked in as the coach/GM today there is only one OL on the roster you’d absolutely want as a starter:
Sweezy could be our second best lineman or he could never be what was hoped when signed, none of us know the answer right now;
Unsure how much longer Dotson can hold down the fort, I suspect this will be his last year as a Buc;
Both the stats and what I saw with my own eyes suggests Smith was a reach and is miscast at OT, especially LT, and might be better off inside (nice to finally see an acknowledgement of his poor play by PR);
Both of our true C’s are placeholders until we draft their replacement;
Pamphile and Benenoch are still development stage prospects Who may work out but have yet to prove anything
Go ahead and boo me for being objective but IMO it begins and ends with the line – on both sides of the ball.
Overall I like Licht, but using just one pick, and a 5th rounder at that, on OL last year in a draft that was heavy in that area was a significant tactical blunder. Imagine the team with a starting caliber C drafted in the 2nd round last year and Barth kicking for us.
Licht definitely has failed to address the OL, we can get as many playmakers as we want if Jameis can’t stay upright it wont matter. This team is supposedly a power run team but our C is undersized and Sweezey is light and also struggles against bull rushes. Licht has improved in some areas but he still has too many brightest guy in the room moments for me which hinders his ability to bring in competition for positions that obviously need it. Continuity is no replacement for talent and the OL needs more talent.
Trevor the article was informative, but 2-3 years ago.
I really have?? About Sweezy now and the change from RG to LG another ?. I know the Bucs have good money invested in him. If the Bucs were going to move Marrpet to Center why did they bring back Hawley? Maybe to mentor him. I personally think we could have upgraded in FA this year. Also I watched Practice Squad C play in p season game and he looked good but never called up.
Josh Allen was his name.
I will not confirm nor deny that this was told to me from a credible source, but let’s follow the clues with Hawley.
He was signed as a free agent when they brought him in, he had been in competition and rotated at the center position all year (some due to injury), he was praised for his locker room presence last year as stability for a lot of the young guys, when his UFA status kicked in the Bucs waited almost a week to bring him back under contract.
Follow the hints, the picture of perception will get clearer.
Per Jenna Laine at espn.com:
“Source tells me Bucknell offensive tackle Julien Davenport is meeting with Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop tonight for dinner and has a private workout with him tomorrow. He’s got upcoming private workouts with the 49ers, Cowboys and Giants and met with the Chargers before his pro day last week. He’s 6-foot-7, has an 87.5 inch wingspan and is a former basketball player. Great footwork.”
Second offensive lineman worked out in the last week by the Bucs.
I’m glad that PR isn’t putting a spotlight on it, but the Bucs are clearly looking to upgrade their Tackle position, which they well should be.
LT Brad Seaton
LG Donovan Smith
C Ali Marpet
RG JR Sweezy
RT Kevin Pamphile
What can Sweezy bring to the team? How about 32.5 million dollars in duffel bag? How about an analysis of how many O linemen come back from back surgery and perform at a high level? Did the same talent evaluator get us Aguayo and Sweezy? How about the team’s doctor who signed off on his condition?
We got seriously played on this deal.
I’ll reserve judgement until we see him line up in Pewter, but there is a good chance your right. I think Watt is a guy who will come back strong from back surgery, so maybe Sweezy is too.
I’ve been waiting to see a Cover 3 analysis on the O-line. Pretty good stuff TS. I really liked Cover 1 but didn’t care for Cover 2. I thought Cover 1 was well balanced (you didn’t seem to be biased towards getting us to believe any particular player was good or bad), well researched (referenced other analysis websites as well as including your own analysis) and well explained.
Cover 2 on the other hand seemed a bit more biased. There was more text describing his run blocking than pass blocking even though this is reputed to be a passing league. There were no references to other analysis websites. PFF scored Sweeny poorly in run blocking and worse in pass blocking. There were no references to Sweeny’s penalties in Seattle, which he made a ton of them there.
I will say that after reading Stlbucsfan’s post above he doesn’t care for excuses and I gotta tell you I hate them myself. Reference D. Smith’s age or Sweezy’s chemistry with the rest of his O-line are both excuses, no matter the source that was referenced. What did D. Smith do, lie on his resume about his age before he was drafted? If Licht knew it then it’s all part of a packaged deal when he drafted him.
As for Cover 3, see EastEndBoy’s post. I agree with his starting O-line to the letter.
I just get sad when I piece together a starting 5 with our current personnel, so I’m instead going to build it how I would have if we could go back a month in time.
LT: Donovan Smith (he doesn’t belong here, but I don’t see an alternative I like better)
LG: Kevin Zeitler – yea, I would have paid his price in a heartbeat.
C: Ali Marpet – he’d be a truly dominant center, which is worth every bit as much as a great RG
RG: JR Sweezy – effort makes you happy to see, but I still see a physically deficient player. Nonetheless, I think his skill set is a better fit on the right side.
RT: Demar Dotson – his 2016 wasn’t as bad as some think, but it was a disappointment, I think. I really expect him to rebound in a big way this year.
By signing an OG in free agency, we could have both moved Sweezy back to RG, where he played in Seattle, AND upgraded that LG spot in a very big way, while also taking a huge leap forward at center. We would have immediately gotten much better at two spots on the line, and enabled Sweezy (the third guy in this equation) to play his best position.
Obviously, the list I just posted above isn’t possible. So here’s what I’d do:
C: Pat Elflein (OSU) or Kyle Fuller (Baylor) – either would be an enormous upgrade over Hawley, IMO. Both are quite different from Hawley stylistically. Fuller might not be able to start immediately due to technique shortcomings, but I like his skillset a lot. Elflein would likely have to be a second rounder. I think Fuller could be had in the third, maybe even the 4th.
My goodness some Bucs fans are so used to having a team and players that suck we just keep wallowing in the cesspool of gloom we apparently find so refreshing. No, the O-line isn’t where we would like it to be, but I sure don’t think it’s as gawd awful as you folks are bemoaning. It’s a work in progress. Put a legitimate RB in the backfield instead of on again-off again # 22 or Bobby Rainey 2.0 and a WR group that isn’t made up of Mike Evans and well……………Mike Evans who can’t get separation. You guys want to blame the O-line as if none of that matters. Only one game (Dallas when Cherrilus went down), did I see horrendous O-line play. Other than Dotson, the group is really young and hopefully developing.
Nowadays we expect instant stardom and if not, the player (Gerald McCoy) becomes the latest whipping boy (Donovan Smith). Perhaps we should get Tee-shirts. Instead of Seattle’s “12th Man” we could have one titled “Marked Man”.
Clarification: It’s the other receivers who can’t get separation, not Mike Evans. He doesn’t need separation.
We are not wallowing in a cesspool of gloom we are highlighting an area that needed obvious improvement from last season and observing that nothing has been done. I have never stated that players can’t develop I did however show that believing Licht knows whats going on and to blindly trust him is foolish given his track record. Failing to address the OL when there were so many talented lineman available this offseason is stupid given our cap space, but that’s my opinion.
I believe Licht makes more reactive moves than proactive moves which is why we didn’t capitalize and make the playoffs last year. I said all offseason last year that Vincent Jackson was done and that we needed something else on the outside, what did he do. Stood pat and watched him succumb to another injury with nothing behind him except for an already injured Louis Murphy. He claimed Kenny Bell was developing behind the scenes but we see how that turned out. Last offseason we stated that the DT position needed an upgrade next to GMC but did we add anything? Nope we thought Akeem Spence was the answer and yet again injury struck and we were signing guys off the street to play on Sunday. Last year upgrading the secondary but neglecting the DL cost us a playoff spot, I just dont want to see history repeat itself where we upgrade the skill position but the OL is still inadequate. My skepticism is well deserved and Licht shouldn’t be above second guessing.
Stlbucsfan well said. Not sure what O line Scubog is watching. Lol.
Without Winston scrambling like he did we would been screwed last year. So many games he was running for his life and making plays. Much better scrambler than I thought he would be. Bears game was killer. If Glennon was QB last year because Winston was injured teams would tee’d off on that statue.
Also we could not run the ball period. This was not because all the RB’s sucked. I watched the games. Went back and watched some again just to look at this in particular. There were no holes! The O line and center especially were being pushed backwards. They were the problem not the WR’s getting separation or the RB’s.
Just think the O line needs/needed upgrading. We had cap room and didn’t address. Not crying or all doom and gloom just stating the obvious.
I look at Dallas and what a very average QB can do with a run game and protection…..
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