Trust The Offensive LineOctober 18th, 2013
If there is one area of the Bucs that has played woefully below expectations, it’s the offensive line. Once thought to be a strong unit, it has been anything but.
First, there is the MRSA foot/turf toe of stud left guard Carl Nicks, who just had surgery and no one knows exacly when or if he will return in 2013. Then there is the right guard, Davin Joseph, who simply isn’t his old self since having major knee surgery. He claims his knee is fine, but something is awry.
Because of Nicks’ absences, the Bucs have juggled the line and now are toying with returning Jeremy Zuttah to left guard and Ted Larsen to center. It’s just a mess.
If Joe could point to one area that is the problem for the Bucs 0-5 start (there are many) it is the line. It can’t run block, and as a result, defenses are loading the box with eight and nine men, confirmed by Bucs All-Pro running back Doug Martin. Defenses are daring the Bucs to pass by loading up the box, which is why Mike Glennon is second all-time in NFL history for most pass attempts in his first two starts.
“Trust” is a word tossed around a lot of late at One Buc Palace and Bucs commander Greg Schiano asks that people trust that the offensive line, as a mess as it is, will eventually get the job done for Martin, and the floodgates will open.
“Every play’s designed to go in a certain area with a certain scheme, but then, once you trust the play, you’ve got to trust your eyes then,” Schiano said. “So, trust the play to get it going and then trust your eyes, and [running back] Doug’s [Martin] got as good [of] vision as any back I’ve ever coached, so we’ve just got to keep trusting it. It’ll pop.”
Here’s the thing: Rarely has Martin been able to break a good run through five games because of the instability of the offensive line. After five games, how much more can Martin, or any Bucs running back, trust that the offensive line will magically turn into the Hogs of the 21st Century?
Getting the offensive line turned around may be the key to getting the Bucs turned around. But after five games of being unable to flip the switch, Joe must be frank and ask, why should anyone expect the line to suddenly blast open holes?
Isn’t five games, nearly a third of the season, enough of a sample size to suggest with some authority that the play of the offensive line may just be what it will be for the remainder of the season?