“It’s Not Just Guards”August 25th, 2014
Joe felt bad for Tampa Bay fans watching the opening minutes of the Bucs-Bills game Saturday. The offensive line was bad, Jacksonville bad, Sean Mahan and Keydrick Vincent bad. Perched in the Buffalo press box, Joe swore he could hear the screams of agony.
Thankfully, it got better in the first half. But how much better?
Former Bucs tight end Anthony Becht, an analyst on the Buccaneers Radio Network, weighed in on the offensive line this morning during an appearance on WDAE-AM 620. Becht said time and snaps will help the line immensely, but it will only take them so far because he still sees no “every down NFL guard” on the field. But Becht says the trouble is more widespread
“There’s something about it that’s not quite there, you know, across the board it’s not just guards,” Becht said. “Guard play are the two spots that obviously need the most work. Just everybody else getting their game readiness, their focus ready to show, really, if I’m a coach watching tape, just let me know I’m going to feel comfortable into Game 1.
” I don’t think I’ve seen their best effort yet. Obviously, being that third preseason game, that’s where you want to see it. There’s just some small details, some technical stuff you want to get cleaned up. And that’s [Anthony] Collins on the outside. That’s the guards just kind of getting their technique cleaned up. You don’t like to see a strip getting to the quarterback early in the game.”
Yes, the O-line was good enough for a first-half shutout Saturday and two offensive touchdowns. Absolutely. But there were bad gaffes. And at the rate they’re going, Josh McCown could land in a body bag by November. Joe was most distressed by a rough game for Evan Dietrich-Smith, who wasn’t his usual self. Buffalo’s Pro Bowl front likely was the cause, but opening-day opponent Carolina has one as good or better.
Becht suggests a September remedy.
“Run the football early. Let them come off the ball and punish the defensive line you can get them kind of confident,” Becht said. “Get some of those quick pass going where they’re not having to defend and protect the quarterback as long and build their confidence in a game.”
Joe’s still hoping for an infusion of new talent. As Joe wrote this morning, Rishaw Johnson is a likely in-house fix. And then there’s all those offensive linemen who will be cut soon.