Bolstering The Offensive Line

February 9th, 2014
ted larsen

Greg Robinson?

Last year was a nightmare for the Bucs offensive line. It started when turf-toe-sidelined guard Carl Nicks got hit with the MRSA and lost his season. At times, Demar Dotson struggled at right tackle, especially against bull-rushes; David Joseph was not his pre-surgery self, and Jeremy Zuttah sure seems to be a better left guard than center.

A one-dimensional offense didn’t help, either. Teams simply weren’t scared of Sybil-like Rip Van Freeman, Mike Glennon or receivers not named Vincent Jackson. Essentially, defenses knew if they stopped the run, then the Bucs turned impotent.

This is not to excuse the offensive line, which is growing old and overpaid with poor results. That’s why Pat Yasinskas of believes this area is the No. 2 need of the Bucs.

This unit was supposed to be one of the team’s biggest strengths in 2013. Partly because of injury and partly because of inconsistent play, the offensive line ended up being a weakness. The run blocking was horrible, and the pass blocking wasn’t a lot better.

The new regime undoubtedly will be looking for better play from the offensive line, and that could mean some major changes. The biggest question on the line is guard Carl Nicks. When healthy, he might be the best in the game. But Nicks rarely has been healthy since joining the Bucs, and there are questions about whether or not he ever will return to full strength.

Joe can’t dispute the offensive line needing an upgrade and NFL analyst Joel Klatt of Fox Sports also thinks the Bucs desperately need an influx of new blood up front. Klatt believes the Bucs will draft an offensive tackle at No. 7 and his name is not Jake Matthews nor Taylor Lewan.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projected pick: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Quarterback Mike Glennon needs some protection, and Tampa is loaded up the middle of its defense. Robinson has things he needs to work on in pass protection, but he is a terrific get for Tampa at No. 7. Most believe he will be off the board before this pick, but his lack of pass blocking experience is going to scare teams away, which is to the Buccaneers’ gain.

Now why in the world in a pass-happy league a team would take an offensive tackle who struggles on the college level pass blocking? What, all of a sudden he will be able to block full-arse grown men as opposed to having trouble tangling with children?

You damned right that fact ought to scare away teams, especially teams with a top-10 pick. That is, unless a coaching staff believes Robinson’s faults can easily be coached up. This, in Joe’s eyes, is a major red flag.

34 Responses to “Bolstering The Offensive Line”

  1. Kalind Says:

    Word. And people said he played well in the championship? All I remember is future Buc Mario Edwards eating his lunch.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I doubt we will draft Oline at 7. We have many needs….its starting to make sense to me that we trade down. We need extra picks.

  3. Stevek Says:

    This guy is talented, Joe.

    Dare I be called a “Matt Millen type” GM for making the “Tavon Austin” comparison (argument) for Gre Robinson?

    Either way, no way we pass on Robinson if Mathews is gone.

    I bet right now, Robinson doesn’t scare away teams with a top ten pick. Atlanta could snatch him up and he will be making Clayborn and whoever else his b!tch for the next 5 years, because remember, first round picks are under contract for the extra year. 🙂

    Love you Joes and your football knowledge. Thanks for letting me make an ass of myself on here daily.

    Does Freeman play in the NFL next year?? Does he get a job before Tebow?

  4. Kevin Says:

    Starting to make sense to me to trade down as well. We need more picks and unless someone is sitting there for us at 7 that none expected to be there we should trade down.

  5. Macabee Says:

    I’ll take some of that heat with you SteveK. If Mike Glennon ends up being the starting QB, Greg Robinson could be a big asset because he’s going to need an improved run game. And that is where Robinson excels.

    It’s not that he can’t pass block, it’s that he’s never been asked to because Auburn doesn’t pass, they run the ball and boy do they do that well. The experts don’t have him rated top ten because he’s one-dimensional. Between now and the draft he’ll have a chance to show if he’s the total package.

    My least worry is who the Bucs pick at #7 or later. It will be a good player and much needed help. Can’t fail when we have so many needs!

  6. Harry Says:

    I’ve said all along, if we are not maneuvering for either a QB or Clowney in the draft, we should trade down if we can find a willing team. Maybe Pittsburg? They also need a tackle (personally, I think guard is a bigger need position for us – outside of QB that is…).

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Trading down will probably give us an extra second round pick or more…..since we are missing a 3rd & 6th…it makes sense to me.
    Unless there is an outstanding player like Matthews or Clowney or QB at 7….it makes sense to trade down. Depending on where we end up there should be some great players still available.
    The pure fan in me wants Watkins….

  8. Blake Bortles Mob Says:

    Bortles! Bortles! Bortles! Bortles!

  9. Brandon Says:

    Joe, nobody said Robinson has ever struggled in pass blocking, just that he didn’t have a lot of experience. From a physical tools perspective, Robinson is the #1 LT prospect. I’ve seen numerous mocks sending him to St. Louis. I prefer a DE, QB, or WR at #7 as I don’t see OT as a glaring need so I wouldn’t be on board. I prefer above all else, a trade back and recoup some early picks.

  10. The 300's Says:

    So Demar Dotson struggled (he has been called the best lineman for the Bucs from numerous sources) but you leave out the turnstile known as Donald Penn. And this is the player Robinson is supposed to replace!

    Gotta hand it to you Joe you are loyal to players you like.

    I believe the take on Robinson is he is a beast of a player that has not had much opportunity to pass protect because Auburn is a run oriented offensive team. Not that he stinks at it. Just no tape to evaluate.

  11. Bobby M Says:

    I wonder what the Rock Star would do….Do we address the highly compensated but underperforming o-line or swing for the third time in 6 yrs for a QB? Or…do we spend additional high draft picks on our underperforming and non existent DEs? We could possibly take precaution and get a quality#2 and #3 WR since Rapper M-Will is flaming out like Clayton since signing his $40 million Rock Star extension. There’s also the secondary which has ZERO depth if Revis goes down. This team is loaded with so many possibilities, hard to believe Lovie didn’t want to work with a talented GM like the Rock Star.

  12. Martinii Says:

    I have no problem with Robinson, first round OL pics are safe and it’s hard to dispute we need OL help. I agree with Macabee, a strong run game like Auburn had is important and Robinson was a big part of that. One point I would like to suggest is coaching. Our new coaching team may we’ll be the most important ingredient in free agency and the draft. There is a lot of fire power left in Penn, Joseph, and Dotson. And don’t abandon all hope when it comes to Nicks. Let’s wait and see. If his rehab continues to go well he may still be a force. Much to look forward too.

  13. Doc Says:

    Why not take a long at the offense line you have here,these player did not get bad overnight. Poor coaches and illness’s have effected this line. Some of these guys have been all pro’s . Now you want to bring in a rookie and play against the top pass rushers,if any thing get a lineman in free agency,and draft a mobile quarterback that can keep defense’s guessing. The day of the drop back passer is coming to a end because defense or forcing qb’s to move.

  14. Eric Says:

    Since the best QB.s may be gone when we pick trading down probably won’t work, especially thinking we would pick up another 2nd.

    Very unlikely.

    Now had we lost one more stinking game it might have worked.

    Bortles or Bridgewater. One is gonna be there at 7.

  15. Couch Fan Says:

    The day of the drop back passer is coming to a end because defense or forcing qb’s to move.


    Incorrect. There will always be a spot in this league for pocket passers. Mobile QBs are just a fad and once defenses learn and adjust to stopping them, they will be a thing of the past.

  16. Architek Says:

    It’s all about player development – if you draft a talented guy but can’t coach him up there is no use!

  17. Doc Says:

    The next two super bowl champs will be the niner’s or the seahawks,both with mobile quarterbacks. The Buc’s need to upgrade the special’s team to be able to help the offense and the defense with field position.

  18. SteveK (MGM) Says:

    Greg Robinson could be a top ten NFL OT, whereas Penn is mediocre. Great way to improve whoever is QBing, is protecting them.

    Giving the QB an extra split second is HUGE for the offense. Joe- if we draft Mathews/Robinson, I bet you are 3rd down conversion percentage raises 10% just because we will actually have a studs Lineman.

  19. Quick66 Says:

    If licht takes Robinson at #7, he should be drug tested. Lewan and Mathews are much much better. I hope we can trade down for more picks.

  20. SAMCRO Says:

    A lot of people keep saying trade down our first pick like it would be a foregone conclusion, but to do that you need a dance partner that is willing to give proper compensation. So unless the Bucs get someone to commit in the waning seconds of Tampa’s pick they need to have their first pick ready, and I agree that if the top studs are taken it is a safer bet to take an O-lineman.

    No one has a crystal ball and can project how a college player may play in the NFL, but it’s a proven fact that stud lineman usually are not a bust. When we took Barron 2 years ago, a lot of people began screaming bust because it was rare to take a safety so high. Barron has played well but I could make the argument that #2 Martin and #3 David have played better.

  21. Patrickbucs Says:

    I do not get people liking Lewan. Did you watch Michigan this year? He struggled big time against not a lot of big time NFL projected ends. He will be a late first round pick IMO.

  22. Mumbles Says:

    Need new road graders!

  23. louden Says:

    Greg Robinson is better than Taylor “the holding machine” Lewan.. Matthews may be better. OLB Mack? – i think is a bit overrated right now, but would be nice 3-4 LB for sure.. last time i checked we run a 4-3..
    I don´t understand why fans are writting so much about a quick turnaround – to me that sounds same like the Shianomik “win-now-BS” – therefore wouldn´t be wise.
    Lovie would be wise to build sth. that will last and will be finished building in like 2-3 years (but by then it should be a contender for years – which simply means good balanced talent on offense/defense with amunation to keep the talent level up – by cutting, re-structures and draft).
    Therefore: Trading down makes some sense, even if its a gamble. If you get players like TE Ebron and DT Louis Nix III (pretty much best on their positions in this years draft) then its good.
    If you think you don´t get it – or too much of a gamble, stay put on the 7th and take a top flight talent (many options there).
    Trading up for a QB is worth it, since it makes the whole offense better in a heartbeat – and Teddy B is realy good. Very good option to settle on for the next decade. Moves well in pocket, therefore only a few playmakers needed for him to excell.
    Manziel on the other hand isn´t a sure fire pick. Not worth trading up.. If he is there at the 7th… tough choice. But better to pick up Vick, letting him play a few years, and instead using the 7th pick to get that sure fire top talent (which is only easily to get if you are picking high).
    Therefore: wise thing to do would be getting that sure fire top talent player (plenty to choose from at the 7th) and signing a Vick or play Glennon – worst thing that could happen is: we got a great team who stinks it up because of the QB, which means, we would truly be “that one player away” – then you can realy go win-now and sell the farm to get that choosen one..
    Thanks if you got through all the text..

  24. Buc1987 Says:

    Doc…yes but the previous SB winner Baltimore had a drop back passer.

  25. BucfaninMO Says:

    Something nobody brought up is that Robinson is coming out after his redshirt sophomore season. Like many here I also look at many mock drafts and this kid has done nothing but move up, I guess the combine and his Auburn pro day will tell us more.
    Also he was the #2 OG prospect coming out of HS. IMO if he is there at #7, I’m sure the Bucs will be getting plenty of phone calls from other teams to trade up to take him.

  26. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Greg Robinson is the Top offensive line prospect in the draft. Any scout (Not TV analyst) worth his salt would agree. I’ve literally seen this kid stone wall, and drive and block some of the best Defensive end in the SEC into the 5th row.

    (Case in Point)
    Greg Robinson (Auburn OL) vs Missouri (2013 SEC Champion)

    Note: Now thats DE Kony Ealy getting manhandled

    Greg Robinson (hip explosion, lift and drive drive)

    Sure I seen him struggle against Mario Edwards some. He’s one of the younger prospect, so he’s far from a polished Tackle. But all the tool you want are there.

  27. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    I had Taylor Lewan since 2012 coming to the Bucs, because I wasn’t expecting Greg Robinson to come out until 2016; 2015 at the earliest. The moment I heard rumblings that he was coming out, I quickly changed my projection (Before anyone-Time stamped & dated) as the best available Tackle. Like I said back in December-“He reminds me of Walter Jones”. Remember Mr. Jones had to polish his game as well.

  28. bigpoppabuc Says:

    I’ve still got faith in this O-line. Joseph’s injury was a pretty serious one and while he didn’t play like his former self he did make it through the season. So he’s comparable to Revis I believe. Penn is the biggest question mark but I love his competitiveness and believe he can still be a top ten LT. I think Zuttah is better than most here think, but that’s just me.

    I do, however, think Nicks is done for. We need to find his replacement quickly while depth is added through later rounds of the draft. The failure of this group last season was head scratching, but I believe the offensive system didn’t really help them out. That and the fact that D-coordinators were lucking their chops to get to Glennon.

    but one thing I’ve seen in Tedfords previous offenses is great balance, which could take pressure off this O-line. We have other needs that are more worthy of our top picks.

  29. CHRIS Says:

    LUVMYBUCS, are you high on crack? Ealy killed him on pass rush. 2 sacks, FF

  30. eric Says:

    I thought the gentlemen stated the obvious the kid need a little work fine tuning if you will beside he will better then Donald Penn has ever been in a year or two so I would have no problem with the bucs drafting him. SMH who come in the league not needing to work on something!

  31. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Lol, when Auburn uses Greg Robinson to down block (inside), leaving a TE or FB to block the DE out wide does’t fall on the responsibility of the LT.

  32. PRBucFan Says:

    For pocket passer certainly but definitely not statuesque pocket passers.

  33. BucFan20 Says:

    Funny as hell. Where are all the posters that backed up the line and blamed everything on Glennon? Here we have a story that clearly says the same a lot of others have said. Why Glennon was getting so many sacks. Why we could not run the ball. Yes Glennon had his some things his faults. BUT. Also SEE ABOVE! Major changes??
    Should be about 100 posts with ” NO Hell NO. It was all Glennon”!

  34. BucsFan68 Says:

    BucFan20 Says:

    February 9th, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Funny as hell. Where are all the posters that backed up the line and blamed everything on Glennon? Here we have a story that clearly says the same a lot of others have said. Why Glennon was getting so many sacks. Why we could not run the ball. Yes Glennon had his some things his faults. BUT. Also SEE ABOVE! Major changes??
    Should be about 100 posts with ” NO Hell NO. It was all Glennon”!
    Just accept the fact that there are folks who are not sold on Glennon. There are also folks who didn’t think highly of Freeman, either.