Busy Week For O-LineSeptember 1st, 2014
A week or so ago, Joe had a really interesting, cool chat with Bucs center Evan Dietrich-Smith about how an offensive line develops. Joe always hears about “gelling” with an offensive line and why innate knowledge of each other may be more important than in any unit on a football team.
EDS noted that when he was with the Packers, he and his linemates eventually knew each other’s tendencies so well that they didn’t need to make line calls. They developed a body language that took its place.
At that point, EDS said, defenses couldn’t break a code of audible line calls. EDS told Joe his goal would be for the Bucs to develop such a tool.
Of course, he said, that would take a lot of time and work together.
Enter newly acquired Logan Mankins, fresh from the clutches of Patriots strongman Bill Belicheat. Mankins, who in his introductory press conference Thursday night looked like someone stole his dog, mumbled out loud how he’s unsure he can master the Bucs playbook in a week.
And so begins game week. The Panthers are here in six days. Yes, Joe’s been waiting to type that phrase far too long. Mankins and his fellow starters on the offensive line are really going to have to do some cramming this week to get on the same page.
“I’m sure the guys are going to help me as much as possible, and I’m going to try my best to be up to speed with them, but I don’t know if it will happen,’’ he said. “But I’m definitely shooting for it.’’
Though Mankins has reservations, [Lovie] Smith doesn’t seem to have concerns about Mankins hitting his target. He said he could tell from watching Mankins work out Friday at One Buc Place that he’ll be ready to play at a high level for the opener.
“He knows how to get himself ready,’’ Smith said. “And yes, he’ll have to (learn) a little bit of (new) terminology, but not as much as you would assume. It won’t be an issue. That won’t stop him from playing a great game. Again, you can change the names, but he’s seen a lot of different looks, just about all the different looks and different blitzes you can see, and he played Carolina (during) his last (preseason) game as a Patriot, so he should be OK.’’
Yes, Lovie is on to something, but EDS nailed it, in that there are bigger goals than just getting the job done. It’s not a cliche to suggest an offense goes as far as the offensive line takes them. Joe’s pretty sure we all noticed that the past month.
Will Mankins be OK with a handful of practices? He should. But OK is not exactly why Bucs general manager Jason Licht traded for him. Having one of the best offensive lines in the NFC should be a goal, not just being OK.