Breaking Down The Offensive Line

April 2nd, 2014
donald penn 0228

Ross Tucker explains why Donald Penn struggled in 2013.

Bucs fans ragged about the offensive line last season almost as much as the putrid amount of sacks the defensive line racked up. It got so bad, bartenders in the area threw patrons out of their establishments for using what they deemed a profanity, “Ted Larsen.”

So Bucs fans got their wish when Bucs general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith gutted the offensive line. With the exception of Demar Dotson, no regular starter on the offensive line returns from last season.

In a roundtable discussion yesterday on “Pro Football Talk,” which Joe is confident his readers enjoy daily seen on NBC Sports Network, host Erik Kuselias asked panelist and former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker to describe if the Bucs’ offensive line was better, worse or a push.

Tucker was adamant with his answer.

“Oh, they are better,” Tucker said. “Donald Penn had a rough year. He gave up the second-most sacks all year. He gave up 12 altogether. Anthony Collins is a pass pro whiz. I am surprised Anthony Collins hasn’t been starting earlier and playing more for the Bengals. He is the ideal fit to protect Josh McCown’s backside.”

Tucker went on to show on film why Penn struggled and why Collins was sharp. Tucker showed that Collins is strong against both speed-rush guys and bull-rush guys.

This comforts Joe somewhat but it doesn’t yet make him want to crack open a beer. Collins not only has never started a full season — or a half season — it is still an open book how well he run blocks. Same with Dotson, who is one of Joe’s favorite players to talk to. He does fine in pass blocking. But he gets bull-rushed way too often for Joe’s liking and rush blocking, because he is so tall, is a challenge just due to leverage.

This is why Joe seems to be like his neighbor’s dog who barks non-stop night and day for no good reason. The offensive line, as it now stands, is thin. If, as Licht will have people believe, he is going to draft the best player available, and if Johnny Football is already drafted, how he could pass up someone like Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews?

By drafting Matthews (or even Michigan’s Taylor Lewan), you have a rock of a starting tackle for the next decade.

30 Responses to “Breaking Down The Offensive Line”

  1. kh Says:

    As I’ve said countless times, the issue is that Donald Penn sucked last year as evidenced by giving up the 2nd most sacks in the entire NFL. Fulltime starter or not, Collins is clearly an improvement,

  2. Buc the Haters Says:

    OT would not be as valuable of a pick up as the best guard in round 2. I think we need best skill position player available in round 1 and best guard available in round 2.

  3. Orca Says:

    Or those guys can move inside to RG and leave Dotson alone. Or, you move Collins, who I believe has some guard experience in at RG and start Matthews or Lewan at LT. Regardless, they’re coming out of the first 2 rounds with *at least* one OLineman. It’s necessary.

  4. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Doubt it, but hopefully Greg Robinson drops to us. If not draft Taylor Lewan, kick him over to Right Guard-Lets Play Ball. An additional lineman in the later rounds would be great as well.

  5. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    +2 for Greg Robinson to fall to us in Tampa!
    Tampa has not used a high pick since Paul Gruber, on our O Line.

    I find it very interesting that no team has picked up Davin Joseph so far.
    Or Josh Freeman either!

  6. Chef Paul Says:

    Fix them damn trenches is all I ask. We’ve had a good start. Lets keep it going.

    People talk about Glennon and how he supposed to make everyone better but the O-line’s job is to make everyone around them better. It’s in their job description. Make holes for RB’s. Give the QB time to make his reads. Give the wideouts time to get down field.

    I dont give two figs how they go about it as long as they try. If L&L think its best to wait in the draft to get some linemen, so be it. I’m not going to pretend to be smarter than them, but I’m sure they have a plan on improving that line some more.

  7. bucrightoff Says:

    Is the OLine really better? Well the answer, and why its really no in my opinion, depends on Carl Nicks. But if he’s not 100% and playing at the level he can, I don’t know if the line is any better at all.

    And if Jake Matthews and Manziel are both on the board and we somehow take Manziel, it will be remember in a few years as a horrific mistake. The line needs a few guys with 15 year career potential. Right now there is no one, not even close.

  8. Stu Laake Says:

    Rather have Matthews…

    Why draft Lewan and have his alleged off the field issues bite L&L in the arse.
    Where this is smoke there is fire, stay away from Lewan.

  9. Architek Says:

    FYI – offseason is not over and they are still tweaking the roster and depth. The sky isn’t falling quite yet. I know that’s hard to believe.

  10. Buc the Haters Says:

    Why do people keep saying to draft a tackle when we need a GUARD much more than we need a tackle. #bestguardavailableinround2 #bestskillpositionavailableround1

  11. JWBucs Says:

    The hardest positions to fill on offense is QB & LT. I don’t think there’s an elite QB in this draft and there are 3 elite tackles. For me it’s a no brainer. If you trot out a pro bowl center and two pro bowl caliber tackles, it makes the guardplay a lot easier and guards are much easier to find. There are a dozen good ones in this draft.

  12. Jacko101 Says:

    Penn did not give up the second most sacks in the NFL lol

  13. csidedave Says:

    Back off of Ted Larsen. He is a local guy from Palm Harbor who made the NFL against all odds. I don’t mind your opinion of his play as he was no star. But show a little respect please. At least he acts like a grown man.

  14. Snook Says:

    Our O-Line sucked last year. And we actually had a good O-Line coach. That should tell you something. I’m glad we cleaned house. Its been overdue.

    And no one signing Joseph says all you need to know.

  15. Pro Libertate Says:

    I wonder if we couldn’t re-sign Joseph at this point? If he’s not being signed by anyone else at the rate I’m sure he wants, it would make sense for the Bucs to bring him back, even if that would ultimately be as a backup. All depends on the price and his willingness to come back here at a much reduced wage.

  16. Andrew 1 Says:

    Anyone remember the statement “Penn wasn’t part of the problem”. LMAO. Yea, he was so good that they looked at him and felt more comfortable going with someone who hasn’t even started a full season.

  17. Brandon Says:

    6’9 Dotson is too tall… but 6’8 Lewan is just right?

  18. biff barker Says:

    Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    +2 for Greg Robinson to fall to us in Tampa!
    Tampa has not used a high pick since Paul Gruber, on our O Line.


    Davin Joseph was the Bucks 1st round pick in 2006 Chris. He went 23rd overall.
    Too bad he didn’t play up to Gruber’s level. Few did though.

  19. ManzielMadness Says:

    This is off topic but what happened to the pick we received from the 49ers in the Eric Wright trade?

  20. Buc1987 Says:

    Andrew 1….we”ve all been wrong once or twice or thrice before.

  21. The_Buc_Realist Says:


    they failed Eric Wright on the physical, which null and voided the trade. The Bucs cut Wright and San Fran then just signed Wright. The “Rockstar” was out foxed again.

  22. RustyRhinos Says:

    @ csidedave Says:
    April 2nd, 2014 at 6:07 pm
    Back off of Ted Larsen. He is a local guy from Palm Harbor who made the NFL against all odds. I don’t mind your opinion of his play as he was no star. But show a little respect please. At least he acts like a grown man.

    Totally down with this, well put.

    Have a sense of humor. Larsen’s a decent guy who still has a job in the NFL. Not sure how he made the NFL against all odds. He was drafted. –Joe

  23. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Buc1987

    No doubt, but to insist on that statement over and over and over again, especially when the evidence says otherwise just baffles me. I me c’mon, all you had to do was watch the second half of the season to realize the guy doesn’t have it anymore. At least acknowledge that he his play might have been slipping. Saying he is with in no uncertain terms “not the problem” was ignorant. I’m simply calling it for what it is.

  24. Andrew 1 Says:

    Joe likes to joke about kicking dogs because of our terrible play, but I wanted to kick a dog more for Joe thinking Penn should be untouchable. Watch the damn film!

  25. Owlykat Says:

    Smart teams are obtaining highly athletic Offensive Lines now in the NFL because the rules are in favor of high powered passing games that even set up the run with the pass. I guarantee you Tedford understands that and I suspect he is telling Licht the kind of line he wants for his Offense and that is what is being built for Tedford. The day of the hogs with huge slow linemen is over. Don’t knock it until you see it in action this year! Nix is so gifted he can play any style you want. If he is back, you know Meredith can hold down the other Guard position and is a tackle to begin with and is nimble enough to pass block but strong enough to stop a bull rush too. We don’t need starting linemen on Offense, just some later round athletic OL as backups. Now Zutah had the talent to be a very versatile backup this year but you don’t pay 4 million dollars to a backup. I saw a lot of raw talent in a small college tackle, Daniels, on our practice squad last year who may fill that backup role this year, and we can get LSU’s Guard in the 5th round. Be patient!

  26. Thomas Says:

    Don’t forget that no matter who you wind up taking ‘luck’ is very important to the equation. Anyone can play a scant handful of games and get hurt- sometimes even ending a career.

    also those we thought would be ‘can’t miss’ often are. Did anyone thing Ryan Leaf or Tony Mandarich would be can’t miss?’ Answer- yes, everyone. At he time they were going to be world-beaters. They did not pan out.

    So to say that one of those O-linemen mentioned would be around for ten years is hopeful at best.

    Draft a qb, 2 Wr’s and 2 o-linemen.

  27. JT Says:

    I know he had a bad year last year but ive been a fan of davin joseph since we drafted him in ’06. I mean did we even ask if he would restructure? Not sure. I mean if for nothing more than depth we should’ve tryed to work out a better solution for the guy who put in some good years for us. It’s not like he was coming off major knee surgery or anything.

  28. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    The Bucs just need a little luck and their Oline could be substantial. The major break they need is a full recovery of Carl Nicks. Imagine if the road grader returned to us even 90% of his former self. Then you plug in the new additions and follow Joe’s advice and pick up a “franchise” tackle instead of a “franchise” QB and the next thing you know OL would become a strength of the Bucs.

  29. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    The Manziel Mancrush Mob will be sad whe the Bucs draft an OL guy even as JF slips out of their lives forever and hoists another teams jersey on draft day. The QB situation is solid with Glennon and McCown, the O-line looks to have real shortcomings so far. Clowney, Mack, Watkins if available otherwise O line

  30. teacherman777 Says:

    Robinson is amazing!

    Run blocker and pass blocker. He is solid, strong and fast.

    War Eagle!