Bolstering The Offensive LineFebruary 9th, 2014
Last year was a nightmare for the Bucs offensive line. It started when turf-toe-sidelined guard Carl Nicks got hit with the MRSA and lost his season. At times, Demar Dotson struggled at right tackle, especially against bull-rushes; David Joseph was not his pre-surgery self, and Jeremy Zuttah sure seems to be a better left guard than center.
A one-dimensional offense didn’t help, either. Teams simply weren’t scared of Sybil-like Rip Van Freeman, Mike Glennon or receivers not named Vincent Jackson. Essentially, defenses knew if they stopped the run, then the Bucs turned impotent.
This is not to excuse the offensive line, which is growing old and overpaid with poor results. That’s why Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com believes this area is the No. 2 need of the Bucs.
This unit was supposed to be one of the team’s biggest strengths in 2013. Partly because of injury and partly because of inconsistent play, the offensive line ended up being a weakness. The run blocking was horrible, and the pass blocking wasn’t a lot better.
The new regime undoubtedly will be looking for better play from the offensive line, and that could mean some major changes. The biggest question on the line is guard Carl Nicks. When healthy, he might be the best in the game. But Nicks rarely has been healthy since joining the Bucs, and there are questions about whether or not he ever will return to full strength.
Joe can’t dispute the offensive line needing an upgrade and NFL analyst Joel Klatt of Fox Sports also thinks the Bucs desperately need an influx of new blood up front. Klatt believes the Bucs will draft an offensive tackle at No. 7 and his name is not Jake Matthews nor Taylor Lewan.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected pick: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Quarterback Mike Glennon needs some protection, and Tampa is loaded up the middle of its defense. Robinson has things he needs to work on in pass protection, but he is a terrific get for Tampa at No. 7. Most believe he will be off the board before this pick, but his lack of pass blocking experience is going to scare teams away, which is to the Buccaneers’ gain.
Now why in the world in a pass-happy league a team would take an offensive tackle who struggles on the college level pass blocking? What, all of a sudden he will be able to block full-arse grown men as opposed to having trouble tangling with children?
You damned right that fact ought to scare away teams, especially teams with a top-10 pick. That is, unless a coaching staff believes Robinson’s faults can easily be coached up. This, in Joe’s eyes, is a major red flag.