BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

November 29th, 2008 analyst Steve Campbell was horrified as some of the play on the Bucs offensive line in last weeks win at Detroit. But Campbell loved Jeff Faines play. analyst Steve Campbell was horrified by some of the play on the Bucs offensive line in Sunday's win at Detroit. But Campbell loved Jeff Faine's effort.


The Bucs overcame shaky performances by some key members of its offensive line to post a 38-20 victory on Sunday in Detroit. The six sacks the Bucs allowed were alarming, but it’s not all as bad as it sounds. Two were on naked bootlegs which is not the fault of the offensive line. Another sack happened when Jeff Garcia’s feet got tangled up with one of his linemen.

With such a young line, you sometimes have to take the good with the bad. They opened up some nice holes for Warrick Dunn, especially in the first half. Don’t be alarmed with the offense in the second half. After Clifton Smith’s punt return made the score 28-17, it was obvious to anybody who was watching that Detroit had no chance of coming back. The Bucs defense had found its groove, and Jon Gruden went ultra conservative in the second half. He was content to slam Cadillac Williams into nine-man walls, and when you do that you usually get few points and yards, but most importantly you get a victory. No reason to do something stupid on offense and give a team like the Lions life.

On to the individual evaluations:

Donald Penn (LT): After so many outstanding games in a row, this was a bit of a clunker for Penn. It started on the third offensive play for the Bucs when defensive end Corey Smith got a good jump and Penn looked really slow and lethargic coming out of his set. The result was a sack and Penn was content to call for an offsides penalty on Smith.

Arron Sears (LG): Sears resorted to his early season bad habits of leaning and not moving his feet on pass plays. He gave up a sack to Chuck Darby, who had been the invisible man on the Detroit defensive line all season.

Jeff Faine (C): Faine played pretty well. On Warrick Dunn’s 13-yard touchdown run, Faine made a textbook seal block on Darby and peeled off to get just enough of a piece of middle linebacker Paris Lenon to spring Dunn to paydirt. Faine was very effective on the second level most of the day, constantly in Lenon and Ernie Sims’ faces.

Davin Joseph (RG): This was a bad, bad game for Joseph. If I gave out the opposite of game balls, Joseph would get it for this game. Lion defensive tackles Cory Redding and Shaun Cody used and abused Joseph all day long. The scoop block is a really hard block to make for an offensive lineman, but Joseph at times looked like he didn’t even make an effort to get his head across the chests of the Lion players on backside runs.

Jeremy Trueblood (RT): Other than Faine, Trueblood was the only Bucs lineman to play well. He was his usual nasty self. This was evident on the second Bucs offensive play when he went to the second level and rag-dolled Ernie Sims ten yards down the field. By the way, what happened to Sims? At FSU he was a vicious, hard-hitting SOB. On Sunday, I’ve never seen a linebacker get thrown around so much. I guess it just happens that way in Detroit.

Game ball: Faine.

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