Winston has gotten a lot of flak because of his poor performance in his rookie debut. So I thought I would look at the numbers from last year. First I will set the scenario. Last year we had the worst OL in all of football. After cutting Donald Penn, and Davin Joseph, letting Ted Larsen walk in free agency and trading Jeremy Zuttah, we were unable to find the players we needed to fill those spots. We paid big money for EDS and Collins and started SFs practice squad player Omaneh to fill those voids. The results were disastrous. We were teleported back to the last time we had to completely rebuild the OL.......1976. We were by far the worst OL in all of football last year and the results were similar. We got two wins all year and our offense never got off the ground. We also started a rookie WR, who turned out to be the best player on offense. We traded for Mankins prior to the season and he quickly went from top 10 OG to bottom of the barrell. The lack of cohesion on the OL was obvious.This year we let Omaneh go and cut Collins. We drafted two rookies to fill in those spots and picked up a terrible player named Cherilus to inexplicably start ahead of Pamphile who has been here for all of OTAs and was number one on the depth chart at LT coming into TC, highlighting the complete incompetence of our front office/coaching staff with regards to decisions about our OL. Compounding our incompetent staff is the injury to our best OL Demar Dotson. He is by far our best OL.So, this year for our season opener we have two rookie OL starting, our best OL out injured and our best WR out injured. Our RB situation unfortunately, is identical to last year.Last year our QBs threw for 3297 yards and 21 TD and 20 INT combined. In case anyone missed it, we are a terrible football team on offense. The root cause of our problems is highlighted in the paragraphs above. Our OL is bad. Really bad. Despite the issues, Evans and Jackson both topped 1,000 yards receiving. Our QBs both looked horrendous outside of a few games. That is what happens when your QB does not have time to throw the ball. This year we hired Dirk Koetter to be our OC and while that is great in my book, the whole offense is brand new and everyone needs to learn it. This is a work in progress that is going to take time. It will take at least a few weeks of film review to get everyone on the same page, possibly longer. Enter Jameis Winston. The No.1 overall pick comes in with high expectations from the fans. He has a horrendous first game. He threw for 210 yards and 2 TD and 2 INT. The passing game reminded me of last year. Winston did not have a clean pocket to work from and had to scramble to keep plays alive. After re-watching Winston I am a bit relieved that he looked better than our QBs last year in his very first start. He was better avoiding pressure and he was better improvising.By all accounts, Winston struggled in his rookie debut. Going against Dick LeBeau's defense doesn't help him any, but with our OL it wont matter. He will be facing the same kind of pressure all year long behind this OL. So, what am I expecting from Winston? Steady improvement. The measuring stick for him is our offense from last year. As bad as he played, especially the two bad INTs he is still on pace for more yards, 1/3 more TDs and roughly the same TD-INT ratio as our QBs had last year. Something I want to point out. I am hearing the exact same grumblings that I heard last year about our QB. But the commentators are seemingly failing to realise that we are not a good football team. Especially on offense where we have no continuity on the OL. We are a disaster. There is a possibility that Dotson will return and mid-season our OL could stert to gel, but it is also possibly that we will be awful upfront for the remainder of the year and beyond.Blaming everything on the QB is not the answer. McCown looked better before he got here and he looked better after he left. That is not coincidence. Glennon could be a .500 QB on a decent team. So, lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Focus your blame where it belongs. At the front office for their mishandling of the OL since day one.
IMO, in retrospect we should have started thinking “O’line” in the 2nd round of last year’s draft. After that there was a serious dropoff in talent. We could have gotten decent TEs in FA, but instead went for the “home run”, bedazzled by Jenkins’ athleticism, ignoring what was (and wasn’t) between his ears and which other teams clearly saw… Not only was Kadeem Edwards cut this year, but the guy who was generally rated ahead of him, David Yankey from Stanford, was also cut this year by the Vikings. This season I'll give the Bucs credit, as both Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet seem to be playing pretty well, given their rookieness. Could they have played better? Of course they could have. But having your top 4 picks all starting in year 1 game 1 of their careers is very unusual in the NFL. Winston at least has a fulltime NFL veteran OC. He was clearly confused and distracted by Dick Lebeau's defense. Dissecting a D that is CHANGING after you get the snap is a lot tougher than doing it on a chalkboard. Not saying he won't get better at it, but dealing with it while maintaining his footwork was too much for him in game 1. We'll all be checking in on his progress as the season unfolds I'm sure...
I appreciate this post. I never understood the hate towards Larsen or Zuttah. Larsen I can see a bit more as he had a habit of drawing penalties. The ironic thing is that Dotson was more penalized a year later after Larsen’s departure. When you have so much turnover at the OL position and offensive coordinators it can bring down even good players like Dotson and Mankins.Continuity for OL units doesn't matter much when you have five competent guys you can plug in a play that have been in the system for at least 2-3 years minimum. However, when trying to install a new offense it does matter. Gruden's first year the offensive line looked bad but improved. Raheem's first year the offensive line looked bad but improved. Schiano's first year the offensive line had hickups but looked like a top fifteen unit by the end of the year.As for Pamphille he has seen action at both LT and RT. I think the thinking was that Pamphille missed a lot of game time in pre season and theyd decided to go with Cherilus. Honestly? I liked Fragel but Cherilus looked more competent in pre season than Fragel and he has regular season experience too. However, if Pamphille is to be the future at RT you probably are better off playing him; as you are right he was here all off season learning the new offense. Cherilus is an experienced player, but he is still learning as he even admitted to this as much when he first signed off the street over the summer.Right now EDS is the lightning rod for the hatred of the fanbase but he isn't the problem. The tackle spots was a problem last year but people ignored it far too much to look at the interior play. From what I see, the Bucs interior is fine and I wouldn't mess with it. Mankins-EDS-Marpet will do fine over the long haul. My concern is at both tackle spots.Donovan Smith will be tested in the coming weeks and will probably determine if his future is at LT. I am skeptical and I don't buy it given footspeed is very important for LT's However, we have to see this play out.Cherilus is going to be given another chance, but I think Pamphille will be ready to go if he falters again.
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