How Long Will It Take To Gel?March 15th, 2014
Joe’s been around football long enough to have heard offensive linemen and coaches talk a thousand times about how critical it is — and how long it can take — for an offensive line to perform well together.
Continuity is everything.
Throw in a new starting quarterback and a free agent tight end (and eventually a new fullback), and the Bucs will be almost an expansion team in the offensive trenches.
It’s understandable. As much as Lovie Smith wants to and plans to win now, the offense is going to take a while, and Joe gets that Lovie looked at aging Donald Penn and Davin Joseph and couldn’t envision them as key cogs in his next Super Bowl team. New left tackle Anthony Collins, 28, and new center Evan Dietrich-Smith, 27, are not only younger additions but they have very low mileage on them. Collins has never started a full season (scary) and Dietrich-Smith just completed his first full season at center for the Packers.
Carl Nicks remains a massive question mark along with the guard positions. One would think Demar Dotson is safe at right tackle, but if the Bucs draft one of the three blue chip tackles with their No. 7 overall draft pick, then Dotson could be relegated to backup duty.
Joe can surely envision a scenario in which the Bucs draft, say, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and insert him at right tackle for a year or two and then flip-flop him with Collins, who made his name in the NFLon his versatility.
So much is up in the air, but Joe finds a few facts very intriguing. Both Collins and Dietrich-Smith are known for their pass blocking, not run blocking. And the new tight end, Brandon Myers, nobody will confuse him with a blocking tight end.
That’s got Joe thinking Jeff Tedford’s mysterious offense is going to look nothing like Bucs fans have ever seen.