BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

September 11th, 2008 analyst Steve Campbell wasnt overly pleased with Jeremy Youngbloods play Sunday, but thought it was serviceable. analyst Steve Campbell wasn't overly pleased with Jeremy Trueblood's play Sunday, but thought it was serviceable. analyst Steve Campbell reviews the Bucs’ offensive line play in the opening week of the season and projects what Bucs fans can expect against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday.

Campbell was a NCAA Division I offensive lineman and played semi-pro football in the 1990s (he likes to say he was a tackling dummy for a future NFL defensive tackle). His analysis appears weekly.

While watching the Bucs/Saints game Sunday, I heard a color analyst talk a lot about the “pressure” the Saints’ pass rush was getting. And it did appear that Jeff Garcia didn’t have much time to throw.

But after further review, the Bucs’ offensive line had a decent game. They could have fared much better had Bucs coach Jon Gruden did them some favors with his play calling. Calling 41 passes and 19 runs is an absurd ratio when you’re not two touchdowns behind the whole game. The game was either tied, or the Bucs were winning. And as well as Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn were running the ball, it should have been simple. RUN THE BALL!!! Not the best day for Chucky.

That said, after rewatching the game twice, Garcia was in a word, AWFUL.  There was typically a nice pocket for Garcia to stay in, but he had happy feet and wouldn’t set his feet when he threw which led to balls behind and at the feet of the receivers.

I think Griese may be the better option right now.

There’s a common misconception in football that a less mobile quaterback will be sacked more. But think back to the Bucs championship season of 2002. Brad Johnson had cement blocks for feet and Rob Johnson was one of the best athletes to ever play the quarterback postion for the Bucs. But Rob was sacked much more than Brad. It’s all about reading the defense and getting rid of the ball. Expect the Bucs to employ their “death by a thousand papercuts” offense and run the ball and throw short three-step passes this weekend. It’s boring but can be effective.

Now on the grades for the Saints game:

Donald Penn: Penn isn’t going to overwhelm you, but I was really surprised on how he graded out. He gave up the late sack to Bobby McCray, but that was defintely a coverage sack. He did a great job on Will Smith. Penn seemed to wear down late, and the Bucs resorted to helping him out with some chip blocks by the backs or tight ends. B-

Arron Sears: This wasn’t one of Sears’ best games, but he wasn’t bad either. Still struggles a little in pass protection. There are times where he just blows people up in the run game, but he needs to do it more often. C+

Jeff Faine: Faine was solid. Not an overpowering player, but his technique makes up for it. B

Jeremy Zuttah: As I expected, Zuttah struggled in his pass sets. Sedrick Ellis was giving him all he could handle. But I like what I saw, and you certainly couldn’t tell it was his first game. C

Jeremy Trueblood: Trueblood gave up an awful sack early to Charles Grant and committed two horrible penalties that killed potential drives. I like his aggresiveness and mean streak, but he has to be smarter than to set his team back 15 yards during a nice drive. Still, the Bucs ran right most of the day, and the results were over 10 yards a carry when they went that way. C-

The Bucs will see an active front this week for the Falcons. Atlanta right defensive end John Abraham recorded three sacks in the Falcons’ win againts Detroit Sunday, and the Bucs would be wise to give Penn some help this week. Zuttah will have his hands full with mammoth 340-pound Grady Jackson.

The other side of the Falcons’ line doesn’t scare me. Jonathan Babineaux and Jamal Anderson don’t bring much to the table. Anderson was a first round pick out of Arkansas last year, and has yet to make an impact in the league. Expect the Bucs to run away from Jackson and right up the hip of Jeremy Trueblood on Sunday.

3 Responses to “BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line”

  1. crackerick Says:

    Nice to read intelligent analysis. Really enjoyed this and agree. Do more of this kind of stuff Joe and you’ll have a really popular Web site. I imagine you do already. This team needs to back to Garcia. Gruden’s only goal every year is the Super Bowl, or so he says. Then if he’s true to that then Garcia has to be under center. Please don’t sell me Brian Griese as the savior.

  2. Chris Says:

    Nice analysis!

    B- for Penn? OK but I gave him a D. He was out on his feet deep in the 4th quarter. No stamina and it showed.

    My boy Sears did awful! D+. He got rag dolled a few times and I hate to see that!

    Faine played as expected. Also gave him a B. He does get pushed around but major upgrade over “sweaty pants’ Wade

    Zuttah played like a rook at times but man he does have an upside to him and we got a taste. B- Did get pushed around a lil.

    Stiff’blood played exactly how I thought he would. C range.

    Overall C

    If you want to watch a real O-line peep the Gmens!

  3. TeacherGal Says:

    Great analysis! What is Gruden’s problem lately? I used to really like his play-calling, but I wonder what he’s thinking. He doesn’t seem to get along with anyone lately.