How Did The Offensive Line Come Alive?

November 21st, 2013

It is difficult to believe the success of the Bucs’ offensive line in November can be pinned solely on the shoulders of Jamon Meredith.

Ever since the Bucs decided to insert backup Jamon Meredith into the void left by Carl Nicks and his perpetually hurt/MRSA-afflicted foot, the Bucs’ offensive line has transformed like a caterpillar into a butterfly.

In fact, crunching the numbers provided by the Bucs, the O-line isn’t just good this month, it has been one of the best in the NFL. In the past three games, all in November, the Bucs are averaging 177 yards rushing a game, second-most in the NFL for the month. Additionally, the Bucs have racked up 28 first downs on running plays in November, ranking No. 3 in the NFL.

On face value, Joe just wants to slam his glass of beer down on the bar and unload on the waitress why Bucs commander Greg Schiano, or one of his 48 assistants, couldn’t have figured out by now that if Meredith was this good, he should have been starting long, long ago before the season was lost.

“I think it’s no mistake when we talk about the great job that the line has done,” Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “There’s no question that they have really taken and accepted the challenge and in some very difficult circumstances and certainly, what’s coming up this Sunday will be as difficult as it gets, in terms of a commitment to run football. One of the things that has helped is the continuity that we’ve had in having those same five people in those same five spots and being able to go through in a practice week and work the calls, work the communications, check, meet and talk about it afterwards. [Guard/tackle] Jamon [Meredith] is a tough, tough guy, hungry, like you’ve said. He got rolled up pretty good there in our game on Sunday and fought through it and came right back. Fortunately he did because he’s made some good plays for us and we’re really counting on him, particularly this Sunday with the great tackles that Detroit has.”

The more Joe thinks about it, however, it cannot be just because Meredith is starting. There are several factors, including Meredith, of course.

One would be that Davin Joseph is getting healthier. Joseph, aside from being perhaps the coolest cat in the Bucs locker room, is a prideful man. It likely pained him more that he wasn’t playing to his level of expected performance than the pain in his surgically repaired knee. Not all knees are created equal, and Joseph wasn’t going to use his knee as a crutch, even though he may have needed one at some point. Joseph is pretty close if not back to his old form. That is a key.

And let’s not overlook the two pair of fresh legs, Mike James and Bobby Rainey. Sure, the offensive line is getting holes open for them, but when James was still playing, and now Rainey, they have done more than run to the line of scrimmage before being stopped by the second level.

Each had a nose to find a crease to get past the second level to really open up the offense.

Yes, Meredith is playing well. But several factors have came together to transform the Bucs’ offensive line from liability to strength.

8 Responses to “How Did The Offensive Line Come Alive?”

  1. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    Joe, don’t forget that the TE and FB position was also getting healthy at the same time as well, throw in a respectable ” consistent” passing game and there you go. Now the Falcons may have a worse D-line overall then the Bucs, ( and that is saying somethin ). The fact that they were successful against Miami and SeaHawks, for the most part is immpressive.

  2. Phillip Says:

    Joe I think you are failing to realize quite a few things.. The Falcons(30th against the run) have straight up QUIT on the season.. They realize they aren’t making the playoffs and could use a stud left tackle Lewan/Mathews or a stud pass rusher Clowney.. So our rushing against them isn’t impressive at all.. The Dolphins(22nd against the run) news broke the day after the Thursday night game against Cincy(I think?) then played us as the BIGGEST story of the year was talked about like crazy.. And the CHARGERS just RAN all over them.. Not impressed.. Seattle’s only weakness is against the run(23rd against the run) everyone knows it… Not impressed sorry.. NOW this week against the Lions(5th against the run) with a LEGIT good Run D will be the litmus test to see if we are running the ball well or not. Aren’t you a fact’s guy?

  3. TAC Says:

    Glad they kept Meredith on the roster, and didn’t let him get away. After the experience he gained last year on the right side, and now playing well on the left side. I see some nasty in that guy at times.

    He got dinged up last year and played through, and his play slipped a bit, so hope this isn’t a sign of the future.

  4. DallasBuc Says:

    Hopefully you can challenge that one local radio talk show host “as far as that’s concerned” in your upcoming segment this afternoon about this. His defiant claims that the offensive line has been garbage and the rushing success is solely due to the talent of Rainey has yet to be challenged.

  5. MikeJ Says:

    The O-line got better last year when the starting guards were out, dint it??

  6. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    The oline only got better last year in the last couple games, and in the last one our oponents starters were rested for the playoffs (for part of the game).

    I’m happy with the two wins, but I’m far from impressed. The entire team is unproven and will remain so until they start beating good teams.

    I’m happy we won’t have a winless season, but from this point on I have mixed feelings about winning at all. Honestly, I’m at the point where a well-earned win is great, but a loss doesn’t bother me either because of draft position.

    I doubt I’m the only one that thought about draft position during or after the game this past week. I’ll never root to lose, but at this point the race for first pick would be considered a win if we get it…and for the good of the team next year.

  7. BIlly Bob Says:

    I am curious as to what happened to Carl Nicks is there any prognoses as to when he will return? Is he done for the year?
    Will he ever play for the Bucs?

  8. Bobby Says:

    How in the world can a ‘fan’ ever have mixed feelings about the team winning??!? I just don’t get that. I love seeing the team win and will always HATE seeing them lose. I could care less about draft position. The more we win the less important draft position becomes.