Reunited with a familiar offensive coordinator and staying the same division he’s been in for the past five years, new Buccaneers offensive lineman Joe Hawley said Monday he’s healthy and ready to go.
Tampa Bay signed the 26-year-old center today after he was cut by Atlanta last week, the team that selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Hawley, nicknamed Joe Brawley because of a penchant for getting into fights, missed the final 12 games last year suffering tears to the ACL and MCL in his right knee.
The veteran out of UNLV said Monday his rehab has been progressing well and he’s ready to get to work in Tampa Bay. “The knee’s 100 percent. I should be ready to basically as soon as I can get the playbook down, which hopefully should be quick.”
When asked if the change in scenery came as a surprise, Hawley said he didn’t see getting cut coming at all.
“I was very surprised,” he said. “I kind of got blindsided. But if they don’t want me there then I’m ready to move on and I’m excited about a new opportunity here. I’m looking to help this team any way I can.”
His familiarity with the NFC South could be valuable during divisional games and Hawley said he’s especially ready for Nov. 1 and Dec. 6.
“I’m excited I get to play Atlanta twice,” he said. “I know these guys, I’ve been playing against all these teams twice a year for the past five years, so that’s nice and not too far from home.”
From 2012 to 2014 Hawley worked in an offensive system led by current Bucs coordinator Dirk Koetter and said he should be able to fit right into Tampa Bay’s line schematically.
“I talked to Dirk a little bit. He said he’s keeping it mostly the same stuff. Obviously he’s going to adjust it to the personnel he’s got but most of the terminology is the same. The O-line calls and stuff, I’m going to have to get used to that because I’ve never worked with this O-line coach before.”
The Bucs’ offensive line continues to be a cause for concern and Hawley said he thinks his versatility and experience can serve as instant assets.
“I’ve played a lot,” he said. “I’ve played left guard, right guard, center, I’ve played against a lot of different guys, I’ve played for a few years now, so I think the experience is a good thing I can add to the room. I’m just trying to help this team any way I can. I know they have a lot of young guys so hopefully I fit in really well, get to know them and can teach them a few things.”