BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

October 18th, 2008 analyst Steve Campbell thinks Bucs offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood should get a test from Seattle defensive end Patrick Kerney. analyst Steve Campbell thinks Bucs offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood should get a test from Seattle defensive end Patrick Kerney. analyst Steve Campbell reviews the Bucs’ offensive line play in Week 6 and projects what fans can expect against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

In the 1990s, Campbell was a NCAA Division I lineman and played semipro football (he likes to say he was a tackling dummy for a future NFL defenisve tackle). His analysis appears here weekly.

After a disappointing effort in Denver the week before, the Buccaneer offensive line got back on track with an outstanding effort against a very good Carolina Panther defense. The Bucs had proved they could run the ball against average defenses, but what they did on the ground and in protecting Jeff Garcia Sunday, will go a long way to asserting themselves as one of the top OL units in the league.

The Bucs totaled 136 yards from the three tailbacks and averaged 4.1 yards per carry. You do that every week and don’t turn the ball over, and that’s a recipe for winning more than losing.

Left tackle Donald Penn turned in another outstanding performance against one of the league’s best defensive ends in Julius Peppers. Gone are the days of 2004 and 2005 for the Bucs offense when Jon Gruden was forced to leave backs in to chip defensive ends and leaving tight ends in for max protect schemes. The Bucs have a legitimate offensive line and as a result you’re seeing improvements in league rankings in yards(11th) and points scored(13th). For what it’s worth, both Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn are on pace to rush for over 1,000 yards each.

This week against Seattle, the Bucs face a defense that has me puzzled and the rest of the NFL puzzled. I look up and down the Seahawks’ defensive roster, and I see talented players, but for some reason that is not translating to success on the field. Seattle comes to town with the 27thh ranked defense in the league. They have given up 126 rushing yards a game, and I’m anxious to see what the tandem of Graham and Dunn can do against them.

Along the defensive line, I like LDE Patrick Kerney quite a bit. He is having a productive season with four sacks, and Tampa Bay RT, Jeremy Trueblood will have his hands full with him. Kerney gave Trueblood fits last year in the season opener in Seattle, so it will be interesting to see how the improved Trueblood will handle Kerney.

Up the middle the Seahawks are very formidable. I like Brandon Mebane, the second year DT out of Cal. He and Rocky Bernard will hope to keep center Jeff Faine away from MLB Lofa Tatupu. If Aaron Sears/Jeremy Zuttah and Davin Joseph can handle Mebane and Bernard with no help, that will go a long way in slowing down Tatupu, and getting the running game cranked up. LT Donald Penn will have another tough task this weekend with Seattle RDE Darryl Tapp. He will also see a lot of LB Julian Peterson on passing downs. Peterson is a double-digit sack guy, and the Bucs will need to avoid the penalties and stay out of third-and-long to keep Kerney and Peterson controled.

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