Breaking Down The Offensive LineApril 2nd, 2014
Bucs fans ragged about the offensive line last season almost as much as the putrid amount of sacks the defensive line racked up. It got so bad, bartenders in the area threw patrons out of their establishments for using what they deemed a profanity, “Ted Larsen.”
So Bucs fans got their wish when Bucs general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith gutted the offensive line. With the exception of Demar Dotson, no regular starter on the offensive line returns from last season.
In a roundtable discussion yesterday on “Pro Football Talk,” which Joe is confident his readers enjoy daily seen on NBC Sports Network, host Erik Kuselias asked panelist and former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker to describe if the Bucs’ offensive line was better, worse or a push.
Tucker was adamant with his answer.
“Oh, they are better,” Tucker said. “Donald Penn had a rough year. He gave up the second-most sacks all year. He gave up 12 altogether. Anthony Collins is a pass pro whiz. I am surprised Anthony Collins hasn’t been starting earlier and playing more for the Bengals. He is the ideal fit to protect Josh McCown’s backside.”
Tucker went on to show on film why Penn struggled and why Collins was sharp. Tucker showed that Collins is strong against both speed-rush guys and bull-rush guys.
This comforts Joe somewhat but it doesn’t yet make him want to crack open a beer. Collins not only has never started a full season — or a half season — it is still an open book how well he run blocks. Same with Dotson, who is one of Joe’s favorite players to talk to. He does fine in pass blocking. But he gets bull-rushed way too often for Joe’s liking and rush blocking, because he is so tall, is a challenge just due to leverage.
This is why Joe seems to be like his neighbor’s dog who barks non-stop night and day for no good reason. The offensive line, as it now stands, is thin. If, as Licht will have people believe, he is going to draft the best player available, and if Johnny Football is already drafted, how he could pass up someone like Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews?
By drafting Matthews (or even Michigan’s Taylor Lewan), you have a rock of a starting tackle for the next decade.