Is Offensive Line Overrated?February 7th, 2014
There is no surer football axiom than “it’s all about blocking and tackling.” And that starts in the trenches.
It’s simple offensively: If you cannot block a cool breeze, then your offense is going to stink out loud.
Yes, the Bucs stunk out loud.
Oh, sure it didn’t help that Doug Martin and Mike Williams were lost for the season with injuries, and quarterback Rip Van Freeman was lost for the season by going all Sybil on his team. But simply put, the Bucs were damaged by an inconsistent offensive line.
Carl Nicks got them with the double-whammy of both a nasty case of turf toe and then MRSA. David Joseph struggled to regain his form after knee surgery the previous season. It seemed like a domino effect from there, writes Andrew Astleford of Fox Sports Florida.
The potential is there, but the Bucs’ offensive line has failed to live its promise the past two seasons. It’s easy to think this collection of talent should be one of the best groups in the NFC South – if not the entire NFC – if Nicks and Joseph played to their potential and stayed on the field together for extended periods of time. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, that goal has been elusive, for reasons outside the former regime’s control. (Who could have seen Nicks’ toe and MRSA injuries coming? Who could have predicted Joseph’s knee problem?) Still, unforeseen issues are part of NFL life. This offensive line must be better in 2014.
Right now, though the Bucs claim Nicks is a daily participant at One Buc Palace working out, but after what has happened the past two years, one cannot bank on Nicks being able to answer the bell. Demar Dotson is a great story, but at times he gets bull-rushed so badly he looks like a tackling sled. Joe thinks Donald Penn is unfairly and harshly treated by fans but Penn isn’t exactly a spring chicken. Drafting and grooming his future replacement wouldn’t be such an awful thing.
As much as Joe would love to see the Bucs grab Johnny Football in the first round, Joe sure wouldn’t mind if the Bucs grabbed his teammate, Jake Matthews, a beast of an offensive lineman.