The Struggles Of The Offensive Line

August 31st, 2011

Through three preseason games and watching training camp, Joe has gleaned this much from the Bucs:

* When healthy, the Bucs defensive line could be formidable.

* The Bucs have a glut of reliable receivers.

* The offensive line is still, well, skittish.

The Bucs offensive line, which seemed to be on the cusp of greatness in the final year of Chucky and Bill Muir, at best struggled for roughly a year and a half later.

But in the second half of last season it seemed the Bucs offensive line finally got it. It finally was a strong unit, blasting open holes for LeGarrette Blount and on occasion, Cadillac Williams.

But this season, it seems like groundhog day. The Bucs offensive line has struggled, and eye-RAH Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune has not lost sight of this.

In a recent TBO Bucs question-and-answer offering, Kaufman professed the O-line has been less than stellar, in so many words.

Q: What’s up with the offensive line? It looks like the weak link. No holes for the runners and no protection for Josh Freeman.

Richard, Valrico

A: The offensive line has looked very erratic through the first three preseason games. The running game hasn’t been productive and Josh Freeman is having trouble staying clean, but there is time to improve before the Lions come to town Sept. 11. At this point, new OL coach Pat Morris has to be concerned about his first unit.

– eye-RAH! Kaufman

Simply put, the offensive line had their collective hats handed to them against the Patriots, scheme or no scheme. At times, the Patriots defensive front was nothing less than a jailbreak.

In Joe’s eyes, this unit bears monitoring. It is the most important element of the team as we inch towards Opening Week.

The Bucs do not (yet) have a strong enough defense to lock down opponents if the offense is sputtering. And if there are no holes to run through, if Josh Freeman has no time to throw and his jersey is filthy from being pounded into the ground, the Bucs won’t have an offense.

27 Responses to “The Struggles Of The Offensive Line”

  1. Freeman4President Says:

    To mirror what others have said, Larsen is totally lost out there. He has missed too many assignments, played with terrible technique in pass pro, and at times has been plain pushed off the line (I believe it was Gerard Warren in the Pats game just tossing him).

    Also Faine is not playing well either, I used to hate on Trueblood, but it is Faine in a close battle with Larsen for worst of the O-line.

    Play Zuttah at center (he isn’t the most physically gifted but his tech is very good) and have Hardman (sp.?) at LG…that is our best line up for O-line…and cross your fingers for a good gaurd to get cut from another team.

  2. dildorgut Says:

    I thought I’d never say this but I have to bid goodbye to all it is now is a bunch of panties in a wad complaining about non-issues. I know you need to keep your readers captivated but the negative route is just so lame and uninteresting. Joe you’re better than this! Sorry Joe. Peace!

  3. Joe Says:


    Joe will only say this: From the day Joe launched this site, Joe stated emphatically he will not put his head in the sand.

    If you perceive an honest observation to be negative, well, sorry, Joe’s not Rachel Watson.

    If you can find someone who believes the Bucs offensive line is playing well, or if you find any inaccuracy in the post above that Joe wrote, feel free to document it here.

    Sorry you are leaving man.

  4. admin Says:

    (Other) Joe here,

    @dildorgut – You’re out of your mind. Scroll down the page and you’ll find a positive take from Steve White on Adrian Clayborn, an interesting exclusive Q & A from Peter King, which was very positive on the Bucs, a take on linebackers from Dave Moore, a BSPN breakdown of the NFC South, a comparitive local look at ticket sales, an opinion on missing Cadillac, and a confident “preseason is meaningless” take from Josh Freeman.

    Your comments are ridiculous and inaccurate.

  5. Chris FWC :) Says:

    LOL! “non-issues”….um. Football begins and ends on the O/D Lines. Football is all about trench battles.

    @Dildo, I’m glad I won’t have to read such stupid comments from you.

    Go play 7v7 Flag. Try intramurals brother.

  6. Macabee Says:

    According to an old adage, it’s what happens when you fix something that isn’t broke. Young players, new O-line coach, new blocking scheme, no OTAs, no mini-camp and 90 players to evaluate – I can understand what’s happening! Change is good, but early on, it’s inconvenient.

  7. WeNeedADefensiveCoordinator Says:

    The defensive coordinator is the REAL problem here.

  8. Dave Says:

    Other than the Pats game, I think they have pass blocked pretty well. Run blocking has been another story.

    They need to step it up.

  9. Chris FWC :) Says:

    I agree Dave. There were times when Free had 5+ seconds in pass pro but our Wr were being shutdown. The explosion off snap is what concerns me. No holes no push equals less than 100 ypg running.

  10. Mauha Deeb Says:

    As well as our DL has played, you have to believe they are doing the same to our OL in practice. I wonder if all those practice beatings are wearing out our OL physically and emotionally.

  11. Nick2 Says:

    What the problem could be is that some of the starting lineup was out last year when Blount did the most damage. Not sure whats wrong with Larson because he was in that performing bunch last year but obviously is not doing well now. For some reason we have done better with Faine out than in. Good luck for anyone who wants to see him sit. That won’t happen.

  12. RIs_Buc Says:

    2012 draft:
    we stick to our “Noahs arc” approach, this time on the O-line.
    Hopefully – we wont push to start them right away.

    Funny…. before the preseason I was *comfortable* with O-line and worried about the d-line. Now – the opposite is true. So much for not holding too much stock in the preseason..

    peace dildoOrGut – as someone who didnt have access to local sports coverage… any Bucs coverage is good coverage. Keep it Up Joe(s)

  13. gracelivin Says:

    I do admit our OL is suspect, most of the preseason I felt Free had decent time, he just took to long to make a decision of where to throw and if no one was open take off, that will open up the WR cause the DB’s have to respect Frees running ability. As far as the run goes, I think we are trying to run the stretch play rather than blasting the ball between the guard and tackle, also our lead blocker gets stuffed by the linebacker which causes the hole to close, on such occasions Blunt needs to lower the shoulder and pound rather than try to bounce out, he stops his feet and gets driven back…hopefully our line picks it up and the O gets it’s timing down.

  14. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I’ve read reports that Larsen has been struggling with an ankle sprain all preseason. This could explain why he’s not as sharp as he was last year. That plus he’s extremely young and going through a coaching change from Mangurian to Morris. Not making excuses, but he’s a hard worker and smart and those guys don’t just take a step back for no reason.

    Still, if Zuttah is better right now then play him. It’s not just next man up, it’s best man up.

  15. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I do have to agree with dildorgut somewhat, though. Many of Joe’s posts this preseason have had a strong smell of worry about them. It’s rather unbecoming. Chin up, Joe…chest out. It’s not all that bad. I promise.

  16. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Hey Dildo, nice name there because you can stick your complaint there as well! Sure Joe1 and Joe2 like to create controversy but I for one and GLAD to have fair and balanced coverage of the sports team.

    What makes me sick is the kool-aid sycophants like you Dildo who refuse to acknowledge any deficiencies that the Bucs may have and who insist that the team is going to win the NFC South and be in the SuperBowl right before Tom Brady handed the Bucs a humiliation in the preseason – without breaking a sweat.

    So Dildo please go back to the Puker Reporting Kool-Aid drinking Pewter-colored glass website that you frequent and leave the adults alone.

    Now back to your regular programming.

  17. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @MrLucky I want you to look at the 2002 preseason. We lost to the Redskins 40-10 and everyone was crying about how bad we were going to be and how great the Redskins were going to be. Well, the Redskins went 7-9 while the Bucs went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl.

    Preseason wins, losses, and even team play do not equate regular season play. There is simply no correlation.

    Which also happens to be why I do not pay for season tickets. Why pay for four games that don’t play towards a Super Bowl nor include quality football?

  18. Mauha Deeb Says:

    lol In all honesty though, I did go to both preseason games this year lol 😉

  19. Fritz50 Says:

    I, for 1 agree with both sides of this conversation. I think O-lone play has been a concern this pre-season. But, I also agree that this COULD be a reflection of the lack of work (Lockout) and the coaching change and their effect on some really young players. I dissagree that the Joe’s comments show a lack of appreciation or loyalty for the Bucs. They’re big bnoys & if they can’t take constructive criticism, they shouldn’t be in the Biz. I tend to feel that the ‘games’ coaches play in the preseason make it hard to tell how the line’s gonna do when it counts. Do I recall correctly that fans were having the same thoughts last year? Seems like it worked out OK then & could this year, too. Time will tell, of course, either way.

  20. Fritz50 Says:

    bnoys = boys, sorry.
    and did fall squarely enough on the fence for you all ?

  21. Joe Says:

    Thanks Mr. Lucky.

    Joe knows he is not for everyone.

  22. Joe Says:


    I do have to agree with dildorgut somewhat, though. Many of Joe’s posts this preseason have had a strong smell of worry about them. It’s rather unbecoming. Chin up, Joe…chest out. It’s not all that bad. I promise.

    Joe writes what moves Joe. Joe is not one to bury his head if he sees something wrong. That borders on being a con artist.

  23. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    This is the same offensive line we had last year. It was a worry then and will be no different thisyear. Luckily we have a QB and halfback that can help erase a lot of offensive line defiency. Tougher schedule this year but better d-line also. I have hope that an improved pass rush will help make up for a subpar o-line vs. better competition.

  24. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    It’s hard for me to get worried about anything in the preseason. I’ve been fooled too many times by it.

  25. Mr. Lucky Says:



    In Dominik’s infinite wisdom the O-line coach was replaced. Who cares about that someone says. To that person I have only two (2) scarey words:



  26. Capt.Tim Says:

    This O- line has never played well. EVER! The only good line play we’ve had in years was the end of last year- because all the starters were out. Penn is outstanding. The rest are bad, and always have been. Faine had a good year or two, but looks used up. Joseph and Trueblood have never been good. It’s gonna really hurt this team this year, that we overpaid a bunch of underachievers, and didn’t get the line up to the standards of the rest of the team. with a team that always seems to make the right choices, I think resigning Joseph and Trueblood was a season damaging bad decision. Anyone who has watched them play this year( or the last 4 years) has every right to nervous. These guys are gonna get Freeman and Blount killed

  27. McBuc Says:

    Come on Capt, let’s see a real game before the doom and gloom. Besides, you are covered for the end resuklt, you praised the hell oput of the Bucs and had big win totals, then you said the Bucs will lose games without Ruud, and now you are saying the o line will lose games. Next year you can eith opoint to your early comments or your more recent comments. Of course if they lose 2 games for each player…I guess they should just hang up their cleats and call it a day. You were more fun when you were beer bonging bucs koolaide.