Not Quite There Yet

March 27th, 2014
Demar Dotson is one of the few offensive linemen Bucs GM Jason Licht referred to as a starter.

Demar Dotson is one of the few offensive linemen Bucs GM Jason Licht referred to as a starter.

So far, the new regime of Bucs general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith have done some kind of job in reworking the roster. With the addition of wide receiver Louis Murphy, that makes 13 new Bucs into the fold.

Prior to the free agency dinner bell ringing, L&L all but promised a shakeup. Whenever they spoke about a player from the 2013 season, if his name wasn’t Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David or Darrelle Revis, they qualified their comments with “but we were 4-12.”

Nowhere has the shakeup been more visible than on the offensive line. Only one full-time starter from last year remains, right tackle Demar Dotson.

Joe has already stated this offensive line is thin. It seemed when appearing recently on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Alex Marvez this week, Licht would not disagree. When Marvez pressed Licht to name a starting five on the offensive line, Licht confessed the Bucs are not that far down the road yet.

“Well, that’s still going to be a work in progress,” Licht said. [The line] will fall into place. We are monitoring Carl Nicks and his health.”

Now, of course, Licht mentioned Anthony Collins, who has never started half a season much less a full season, as the starting left tackle and bragged how Dotson is a “very good” tackle (that’s the first time Joe has heard that term in reference to Dotson).

What’s strange is, Lovie often talks about how the Bucs will be a running team. Yet the guys the Bucs have on their front line seem to be more pass blocking specialists than run blocking types. This tells Joe two things: The mystery of the Jeff Tedford offense is in the passing. Why else would a team stock its offensive line with pass blocking types if they weren’t going to pass the ball?

But there also may be a second element, an undercurrent theme here. Could it be the Bucs believe they can coach up offensive linemen to rush block better than they can coach up pass blocking? So therefore get pass blocking types and teach them to run block?

If one thinks about it, it takes more of a skill set to pass block than to run block. There is so much that goes into pass blocking: footwork, handwork, agility, quickness. Run blocking, if someone is quick enough and brutish enough, they can get the job done.

18 Responses to “Not Quite There Yet”

  1. deminion Says:

    the tedford mystery files

  2. Orca Says:

    It might be that they will deploy a more zone blocking running game, which requires more mobile lineman instead of brutish roadgraders. The guys they’ve added seem to fit that profile.

  3. Buccanole Says:

    Johnny impressed at his Pro Day. Article will be coming to JoeBucsFan soon.

  4. rayray1 Says:

    Tells me the O line will use a screen blocking system since most of the O line additions seem to be mobile and have played multiple positions.

  5. Harry Says:

    Not to be ‘Debbie downer’, but building an O-line is Lovie’s achilles heel. His O-lines up in CHI were bad to awful. Dumping a proven durable iron-man like Penn as he did was a surprise, not bc of Penn being awesome or anything, but he was good and dependable (Joseph I completely understand). One can only hope this turn out well.

  6. Bucfan#37 Says:

    When your team has been playing below expectations, any which way is up.

  7. owlykat Says:

    Lets not forget that Dotson was also the RT when our line run blocked well enough to make a rookie RB, Doug Martin, a thousand yard rusher in his first season, so I have every belief he will be able to handle run blocking with the new offense, but your point is very well taken, Joe. It is easier to teach an OL to run block than it is to teach them to pass block. The proof is going to be in the pudding.
    We have sufficient veterans for a full OL, but we don’t have sufficient reserves in case we have injuries this year; at least not yet. Last year we had the bodies in reserve, but Ted Larsen was terrible both at center and guard, but Stupid Schiano just kept putting Larsen in there at Guard, and he gave up our 6th round draft choice to get Gabe Carimi from the Bears even though he had a dislocated knee cap in 2011 that kept him sidelined for a year after he had been promoted to a starter and his 2012 season had been a disaster, thinking Bostad could rehabilitate him. It took Bostad’s focus off the rest of the line and Carimi, a former 1st round pick, got thrown around like a rag doll all season–he was just as bad as Larsen! I trust Licht to come up with much better backups than Schiano. We should get at least one OL if not more in the draft that can play.

  8. SAMCRO Says:

    I wouldn’t doubt that if Robinson or Matthews is still on the board that we would select one of them. That would be the safest selection with the most upside and value for the next possible 10 years.

  9. BirdDoggers Says:

    The O-line is a mystery within a mystery. Lovie would likely prefer to be a run oriented team as most defensive minded coaches do. Run the ball, take time off the clock, let the defense rest. I would think Lovie learned a thing or two about his offensive deficiencies in Chicago, which makes me think he’s looking for more than a sub-par offense. If the rumors are true, Tedford will be running more of an up tempo offense, which the newly signed linemen would seem to fit well in. Maybe the offense will mix it up enough with screen passes and short slants to free up the run game without the need for big road grading linemen.

  10. Buc A Deer Says:

    Tampa Times, Tampa Tribune and Bucsnation all running articles about Mike Williams hearing today. Very interesting, he claims he just banged on the door and it came off its hinges.

  11. Macabee Says:

    They must have believed Williams, because Bucs WR Mike Williams’ misdemeanor criminal mischief and trespassing charges will be dropped if he completes a pre-trial intervention program.

  12. Architek Says:

    They had a bunch supposed run blocker and they were ineffective at everything. We can only go up from here.

  13. JayDub Says:

    I live in Pac12 country and have seen Tedford’s offense first hand many times. I think they will run more out of passing formations. Pass-blocking lineman will be necessary with the spread since more athleticism will be needed to hold their own against athletic D-linemen and to get up-field and run-block.

  14. 1bucfan88 Says:

    I think the smaller o-line is just an indication that we want to use zone blocking more than in the past, and you need smaller guys who are athletic to execute that scheme.

  15. stanglassman Says:

    Jaydub- I watched a lot of Cal over the years and also just checked out a few 2010 and 2011 games on you tube and noticed the same thing. He does like to spread them out and run. Tedford also has a lot of success in screen passes, something the Bucs teams in past have never done well. It’s a great brand of football.

  16. BucsSince89 Says:

    I highly doubt Lovie took a year off and not watch film of his offense. Is gone on record that Lovie and Tedford spent many hours together talking football and watching games. So I’m pretty sure he’s not coming to town with a bad offense scheme. I’m calling it here all draft picks will be offensive guys! Lovie already got his toys in FA plus others ones he will get from future trades. So I expect full draft on offense Lovie will have his choice of defensive players next year. Unless the offense stinks again then we’re back at square one.


    Maybe we should move Mike Williams to Guard since he got those Hulk brutish hands that break doors of it’s hinges and can get the job done! lol

  17. Jim Says:

    Dotson graded out as the 4th best RT in the NFL last year. He deserves it. He was an UNDRAFTED free agent. What a great find! One of the few genius strokes by the rock star.

  18. zam Says:

    Lovie: So are we a running team?
    Tedford: Uh… sure okay