The perception of something may not always be what the reality of the situation is. There are varying opinions on how good the Bucs’ offensive line is, as some fear the unit could be the thing that holds back Tom Brady and the offense, while others believe the line is above average.

Bucs’ left guard Ali Marpet doesn’t put much stock into what someone’s thoughts are on the offensive line, because he has his own views on it and sees what they do each day.

“I feel much more confident in how I feel about it than whatever the perception is,” Marpet said. “I really don’t put much into that. Now I think that an offensive line coach may use that as a tool to motivate guys or something like that and that can be useful sometimes, but ultimately, no. I mean, for me, it’s about how I feel, what kind of effort we’re putting forward and how we’re preparing and are we doing everything we can possibly do to be successful and if we’re checking those boxes, then that’s what I’m gonna ask for.”

It will be a little different for the entire Bucs team whenever training camp gets started. The Bucs have become a playoff contender and the center of attention with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski on the roster. With that comes higher expectations before the season begins.

Bucs LG Ali Marpet - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs LG Ali Marpet – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

“There’s certainly more media coverage than there ever has been since I’ve been on the team,” Marpet said. “There’s certainly a lot of media coverage so there’s expectations, those you see on NFL Network or whatever and then there’s also our own internal expectations and those, for me, have always been the same. It’s always, are we going to the Super Bowl? That’s been the same conversation I’ve had with guys since being here.”

As far as what Marpet’s approach is to blocking for Tom Brady, that doesn’t change. Marpet is excited to be playing with a quarterback who’s won the most Super Bowls in NFL history, but at the end of the day, his job is to block his man no matter who the quarterback is.

“I’m fired up to be able to play with someone who’s had so much success in the NFL,” Marpet said. But I think with how I approach each game and blocking for him, it’s not like whether you’re blocking for Jameis [Winston] or blocking for Brady it makes that much of a difference. For me, I’m always doing the best job that I can and that’s what I’ll continue to do whether it’s Jameis or Brady or [Ryan Griffin] or Blaine [Gabbert.] For me, at least in pass pro, it’s how can I hold up the longest and how can I win for as long as I possibly can and I don’t know if that necessarily changes having Brady back there. That’s just my individual approach.

Bucs run game coordinator Harold Goodwin, LG Ali Marpet and C Ryan Jensen
Bucs run game coordinator Harold Goodwin, LG Ali Marpet and C Ryan Jensen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Brady is a quarterback that tends to get the ball out a quickly, which can greatly help out an offensive line. While Marpet said that it can help here and there, that ultimately doesn’t change what he needs to do.

“I’m blocking my dude for as long as I possibly can,” Marpet said. Does it help if I mess up and the quarterback is able to get it out on time so it’s something that can help you getting it out early? Yeah, that can be a benefit so sometimes it can cover up maybe a mistake that an offensive lineman has, but ultimately for us I think the approach is always how can I lock my dude down for the longest for the run game? How can I make my guy a non-factor really? And I think that will continue for all of us. It should.”

An area the Bucs will look to improve on in 2020 was the run game, which was 24th in the league with 95.1 yards per game. That’s something Marpet believes will starts with he and his teammates getting better, and in turn the ground game as a whole will benefit because of it.

“They’re guys that want to improve on themselves and get better and get stronger in better shape,” Marpet said. “So I think that you’ll see better years for everyone, Donovan [Smith] will play better, Ryan [Jensen] will play better than he did the year before, I think you’ll see that everyone will work to play a little bit better because we have that sort of mentality and approach, just always kind of improving on ourselves so I really expect better results in the run game next year.”

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Spitfire

God Bless Dotson but our weakest link was replaced with a starting quality guy in Haeg and probably our RT for the next 15 years in Wirfs. With Cappa coming back more experienced and Brady throwing behind them, Smith will look even better this year and Marpet will for sure make the Pro Bowl. This Oline is gonna shine this year.

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Rating: +20. From 26 votes.
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Hockey Duckie

We ran 70% up the gut, according to Football Outsiders (FBO). Our production from running up the gut ranked 19th overall.

Replacing Dotson doesn’t fix our run game.

FBO run blocking breakdown rankings

  • Power = 30th
  • Stuffed = 30th
  • 2nd lvl = 28th

If our iOL’s can’t get push and movement, then we’re stuck in the same place since 2016.

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Rating: -1. From 19 votes.
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DerLutz

The Problem was that the Bucs were predictable, because they could not run outside of the tackles. Hopefully that will Change now for a better total result. Also the inside run

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Rating: +11. From 11 votes.
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Hockey Duckie

Are you making an excuse for our iOL??? How does not being average or above average have anything to do with running in a different direction???! Carry water for Licht much? Funny to identify this. In 2018, the Bucs didn’t have a problem running outside of the tackles. Of course, the 2018 Bucs didn’t have a starting center nor starting RG either. What you’re trying to say is that the 2019 Arians offense doesn’t utilize it’s in-line TE’s much in the running game to make a difference? Back to the iOL. Either our Oline group was good or it was… Read more »

geno711

Offensive lines typically get attacked by fans around the league. When do we notice them the most? When they give up a sack, fail to get a 1st down on 3rd or 4th and short or one commits a penalty. Tennessee was one of the best at running the ball last year. When I went to Tennessee to watch the Buc’s last year, one of their offensive lineman got hurt in the 1st quarter. I asked around the stadium to fans was he a key guy. They said does not matter, the whole offensive line sucks it could not get… Read more »

Dave

That’s true man. Perception is the Titans line was bad in 2019. But as a run blocking unit, they were a top 5 unit. So depends on how you look at it. In the first 7 games with Mariota at QB, he was sacked 25 times, which is over 3.5 per game. Tannehill was only sacked 31 times in 12 games. Which is 2.5 per game. And even than, Tannehill has been known in his career to take a ton of sacks by holding onto the ball too long. Can’t blame the line when the QB won’t get rid of… Read more »

Hockey Duckie

The offense produced fewer yards on the ground and in the air in 2019 than in 2018. The 2019 offense gave up 47 sacks, six more sacks than 2018.

Marpet’s PFF rating dropped in 2019 compared to his first year at LG in 2018.

Sure, the effort could be there, but if your effort doesn’t produce, then you can’t ignore that something’s wrong.

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Dave

Interesting, seeing as the other 4 members of the line(Smith, Jensen, Dotson, and Cappa) all went up in PFF grades. So your point is…..? And Marpet went down a whole 3 points lol. 75 to 72. That’s your best argument? Or is it the 47 sacks allowed because our TO heavy QB would NOT get rid of the damn ball, dump it off to the RB, or throw it out of bounds. But sure, it must have been because Marpet dropped 3 points in his PFF grade

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Rating: +7. From 11 votes.
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Hockey Duckie

Simple point. You said everyone’s PFF grade save Marpet went up. Let’s accept that idea. If they went up, then our run and pass productions should also increase, right? The offense produced fewer yards rushing and passing than 2018’s group, that was missing a starting center and RG. Also, gave up more sacks than 2018’s OLine. Remember, Winston’s been here since 2015. It wasn’t Winston’s first rodeo in Tampa in 2019. You can’t have it both ways, bruh. I’m saying our OLine sucked last year despite it being improved individually. On that note, if our OLine improved outside of Marpet,… Read more »

TBChucky

While I highly doubt we’ll have a dominant group up front, I expect to see a lot of improvement. I think Cappa will continue to elevate his game. Wirfs will have rookie moments, obviously. Particularly early on. But I have a ton of faith in that young man. If this unit clicks early, watch out!

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Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
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Hockey Duckie

I’m more afraid of what the league can exploit after the first few games. Remember, our OLine looked like it clicked early in 2018. Then they knew they could exploit C Jensen and RG Benenoch all season long after the first three games.

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Rating: -2. From 2 votes.
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Dman

‘Perceptions’ don’t manifest out of thin air. This O line has not been good for a while. Among the league leaders in QB sacks, among the league leaders in our RB’s getting hit in the backfield. Oh, and among the league leaders – $$$ – they were one of the Top 5 highest paid O lines in the NFL.

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Rating: -1. From 7 votes.
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Dave

Blaming the running game failures on the line is false. The problem wasn’t the line not opening up holes, the problem was wasting 150 carries on the worst RB in the NFL by every single metric humanly possible. If Rojo didn’t split carries the whole season with Barber, our running game numbers would be middle of the pack or even top 1/3. Barber dragged down the numbers so bad it’s not even funny. Rojo 4.2 YPC, Barber a league worst 3.1. Rojo catch % 78. Barber’s – 66. YPR for Rojo – 10. Barber’s was 7.2. Rojo’s longest run 49… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
Dman

Hard to understand defending this O line. Being among the league leaders in guys getting hit in the backfield is relevant. Barber carrying the ball in predictable short yardage situations versus Rojo carrying the ball on 1st and 2nd down when the defense has to defend both run and pass in a pass heavy offense is relevant. And Barber has consistently been among league leaders in yards after contact – especially important when you’re getting hit in the backfield with a porous line. I agree splitting carries is stupid. Look at my posts all last season and I advocated picking… Read more »

Dave

No He is the worst RB in football. Pick a stat any stat. He’s not ever been a consistent YAC leader. In 2018, he was 32 of 38 qualifiers at 2.1 YAC/carry. This year he’s 5th worst in the league at 2.0 YAC/carry. Name your stat, and he’s bottom 5 in the whole league. Rojo was 17th in yac this year. How about broken tackles. Rojo this year -23. Much bigger Barber -8 lol. 8 friggen broken tackles. First downs(should be Barbers stat seeing as you claimed he only comes in for short yardage, yet Rojo comes in for 1st… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
Dman

Throw all the stats you want, but again, Barber lasted a week in FA. It’s either Jameis, Barber, whomever. But the O line’s solid. Got it.

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Dave

Now it’s throw all the stats I want. They’re not my stats, they’re HIS stats. Every single one of them the last 2 years was in the bottom 5 of all qualifying backs. Let’s not pretend like it’s a personal bias. The guy isn’t any good. He’s a bad RB. And just because he got picked up in FA right away means absolutely positively nothing. So because he got picked up before Freeman, is he better than Freeman? Or because Nassib got signed before Clowney, he must be better than Clowney? That logic is ridiculous. I’m not saying the line… Read more »

IDGABuc

You are picking stats and saying all of them are lower.. He’s saying that they were running in different situations.. I’d be interested to see who got hit a higher % o f the time in the backfield and what the down and distance was to go. You’re just throwing kut stats. Then, how is the team blocking for one.guy vs another. I saw Barber get hit a lot in the backfield is all I know and he STILL always fell forward or got more out of it. That said, ROJO was starting to do the same even when hit… Read more »

Dave

He always got hit in the backfield and fell forward? Guess you watched a different Peyton Barber. And now that you asked. Barber got 1.3 YBC per carry(yards before contact) Rojo got 1.8. Both are at the bottom of the league. So neither got very much before contact. Big difference is the YAC where Rojo got twice as many yards per carry. This isn’t cherry picking stats. This is, there isn’t a single stat humanly possible that Barber was NOT terrible at. I mean Jesus, let’s be real here for 2 seconds. Not one stat was he even remotely decent… Read more »

Dave

Oh and your argument that Rojo is getting all the 1st and 2nd downs, and Barber got all the 3rd and short carries, which is why you say all his stats were bad. Yet the year before when he was the only RB to get more than 50 carries that season, also sucked in every single stat possible. He was getting most, if not all the 1st and 2nd down work. Yet his horrible numbers remained the same as this year. Weird huh?

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Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
Dave

I did some research. Rojo had 93% of his 172 carries on 1st and 2nd down. Barber had 91.5% of his 154 carries on 1st or 2nd down. Rojo had 7% of his carries on 3rd and 4th down. Barber had 8.5%. As far as short yardage(4 yards or less to go) Rojo actually had the exact same amount of carries as Barber 29 to 29. Which comes out to be 17% for Rojo, and 19% for Barber. The short yardage totals are as follows: Rojo 29 cry for 86 yds(3 ypc) and Barber: 29 cry for 50 yds(1.7 ypc).… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave

Brady fire will get them right as the season progresses. Hopefully the Inj. bug doesn’t bite too hard. Brady will get us in the right play at the line. His command & knowledge will have big impact.

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I’m more worried about the Corona bug hitting them this year. If guys test positive they’re out 2 wks. In a vacuum that seems fair as all teams will be effected but IRL different parts of.the country got hit harder based on how many people are coming in from China, then in our case it seemed, from New York to FL or to Mass. then FL. Hell, maybe it was direct from Wuhan on a direct flight, Idk. I DO know different teams will have different %’s of their players get it, at least at first. Then by the end,… Read more »

ScottC543

The predictability of our offense had a huge impact on the (lack of) effectiveness of our line last year. Brady’s play action skills and his skill with making pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage will help tremendously in that regard, as will the further development of BL’s play-calling.

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Hockey Duckie

Brady doesn’t perform well with playaction compared to shotgun. That pre- and post-snap is done easier when your eyes are always looking at the defense. In playaction, Brady isn’t seeing the post-snap right away and is relying on his primary to be open or he throws the ball away.

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BrooklynBucsFan

I think last season teams just stacked the box to stop the run and force Jameis to throw because teams knew he’d give them opportunities for picks. This year I suspect teams won’t be able to do that as much because Brady will be better at protecting the football and using his check downs. And before anyone gets upset, I’m not trying to trash our former QB, just pointing out that teams preferred to stop our run game and take their chances with Jameis throwing the ball.

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jrwilson85

The Bucs line with the addition of Joe Haeg and Tristan Wirfs should be greatly improved. You can’t support every argument against the O-line on the RBs. Their averages were brought down by O-line penalties that took away some long runs that would have upped those averages. The Bucs had an outstanding receiver group and they may have gone to the pass too many times. Jameis held the ball too long on many plays and he used bad judgement on way too many plays. Jameis’s refusal to dump the ball off when their was no play is probably why he… Read more »

surferdudes

Second season in the same system, and we upgraded at RT which will make a difference. Brady’s making all the line calls, Jensen did that for Jameis, that now seems odd for a fifth year pro. With Brady making the calls, you’ll see the difference in the run game with his ability to check to, or out of a running play.

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buclover1988

Exactly. That’s why Brady is here. He’s not here for stats. He’s here to make checks at the line and make the correct plays. His mental capacity is still the best in football. He is probably the smartest football player in the game. Definitely could make an argument for Rodgers as well, but the focus here is on Brady. I laugh at people who say Brady is done. all he had was Julian edleman. That’s it. There was no other real threat and his ol was bad, yet they still made the playoffs, still took care of the football having… Read more »

nobita

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