BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

October 4th, 2008 analyst Steve Campbell is very impressed with the play of Jeremy Trueblood. analyst Steve Campbell is very impressed with the play of Jeremy Trueblood; not so much with Arron Sears. analyst Steve Campbell reviews the Bucs’ offensive line play in Week 3 and projects what fans can expect against the Green Bay Packers on 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.


The Bucs offensive line had some regression last week but still put together a pretty solid effort against the Packers. The running game was slow to get going, but props to Jon Gruden for sticking with it and allowing the Bucs put the game away on the back of Earnest Graham.

Graham and Warrick Dunn are proving to be quite a 1-2 punch at running back. A lot of that credit should go to the big guys up front. Oh, by the way, they aren’t doing a bad job protecting the passer either. Quarterback Brian Griese hasn’t been sacked in his last 97 pass attempts. On to the grades:

Donald Penn, LT: Penn came back to earth a little against the Packers. He seemed to have trouble on passing downs with Green Bay defensive end, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamilla. KGB used his speed several times to get around Penn. He also struggled in the running game with Packers DE Cullen Jenkins. Still, not a horrible game for Penn. Grade: C

Arron Sears, LG: Speaking of horrible games, I’m not sure what is wrong with Sears. He was beaten numerous times by the pass rushing legend Johnny Jolly, who has one career sack. He hit Griese too often just as he released the ball. I’m not certain when Davin Joseph will return from this foot injury, but I would not be surprised to see the Bucs give Jeremy Zuttah some of Sears’ reps at LG if this type of effort continues. Grade: D

Jeff Faine, C: To steal a line from Dennis Green, Faine is what I thought he was. He’s pretty good in space and getting to linebackers on the second level. But he’s not so good moving a big DT off the line of scrimmage. But again, some of the credit for these blitz pickups by the line need to go to Faine, because he’s making the line calls 100 percent of the time. And the Bucs have been outstanding this season at picking up A- and B-gap blitzes. Grade: B-

Jeremy Zuttah, RG: Another solid effort for the rookie. Zuttah is proving to be a steal for where the Bucs drafted him. The coaches obviously have the confidence in Zuttah, because the Bucs are running right about 75 percent of the time. Grade: B

Jeremy Trueblood, RT: I realize the season is only a quarter of the way over, but I’m going to be the first to state if Jeremy keeps this level of play up, he will find himself in Honolulu in February. For the second week in a row, Trueblood absolutely stoned a premier pass rusher. Two weeks ago it was Adewale Ogunleye. This week it was Aaron Kampman. Solid, solid effort. Grade: A

The defense the Bucs will be facing this Sunday at Invesco Field is a much maligned unit. Consider these numbers: The Broncos are giving up 29.2 points per game, 409 total yards per game, which includes 276 yards passing and 133 rushing. Opposing QB’s are completing 72.6 percent of their passes against them. They are led up front by former first round bust of the New York Jets, Dewayne Robertson. I recall when the Bucs played the Jets in the Meadowlands in 2005, Robertson was a terror in our backfield all day long. Then I remembered our OL consisted of Anthony Davis, Dan Buenning, John Wade, Sean Mahan, and Kenyatta Walker.

Quick question, how in the hell did the Bucs go 11-5 with that unit blocking all year?

Back to the present, Robertson and fellow defensive tackles, Kenny Peterson and Marcus Thomas will play on the inside for the Broncos. Peterson is a journeyman player who has never had much of an impact and Thomas has tons of potential, but has never had his head screwed on straight going back to his days at the University of Florida.

At defensive end, veteran starter John Engelberger is questionable this week. If he is not able to go, Trueblood would probably face a platoon of Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder. Moss and Crowder were early round picks last year out of Florida and Texas respectively. Penn will face the small but speedy Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil had 12.5 sacks last season, but has none this year in four games. And at 5-11, 260, he is useless against the run.

More good news for the Bucs this week, considering the Bucs are a right-handed running team. According to Football Outsiders, the Chiefs ran right with great success last week. Chiefs RB Larry Johnson had 28 carries for 198 yards and 20 of those carries went to the right side.

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