“Give Me A Few Weeks And I’ll Get It”

May 4th, 2014

The next O-line upgrade?

The Bucs walking away from this week’s NFL Draft with a guy the team believes can be a stud offensive lineman is among the surest prognostications you could make.

A name Joe has seen pop up many times as a potential Buccaneer is known tough guy Joel Bitonio.

Joe’s done a lot of research into Bitonio, and he sure seems like the mentally tough guy Jason Licht claims to be seeking, and he fits new left tackle Anthony Collins’ “be-a-man” mold.

The University of Nevada tackle is often mentioned as a potential second-round pick who could play guard. His dad is a deceased MMA fighter who instilled a physical work ethic into him. Here’s an excerpt from Yahoo! Sports interview:

SDC: Tell me about your father. I know people talk about his MMA fighting a lot, but how was he as a dad?

Joel Bitonio: The first thing that comes to mind with him is hard work. That’s what he stressed to me his whole life. He wasn’t working in an office or anything like that. He was a carpet layer. He was a workingman. He also did MMA, and he taught me some MMA stuff.

But overall, he was my inspiration. He made sure I was trying to get my education and go to school. He didn’t want me to end up like him, having to work on his hands and knees. That made me want to go to school, get my education and make him proud.

He was always tough as nails. My whole life, I never saw him cry. He was an emotional guy. He told me loved me, and he hugged me, and things like that. But he was a tough-as-nails guy, and that’s the way he brought me up. I think that translated to me as a football player. I play hard, I play to the whistle.

I learned all that from my father. I got his work ethic. I used to watch him fight and think about the person it takes to be a fighter like that.

TheSidelineView.com, the stats-geek outfit where the Bucs found their new chief of analytics, sees the 6-4, 320-pound Bitonia as a second- or third-round pick. And they claim the film reveals a fight-to-the-death spirit.

One of the most tenacious linemen in the draft.  Never quits on a play and will win some battles by outworking and outlasting defenders.  Can play tackle or guard.  Aggressive at the point of attack, but doesn’t generate as much power as you expect – even when he’s on the move.  Anchors effectively against power and has high football character.  Scheme and position versatility should raise his stock.

On the transition to guard, Bitonia says he just needs a few weeks to get it right, so he told TDDaily.com.

TD: What do you think about a potential transition to guard? Do you still think you’ll be able to play tackle at the pros?

JB: It’s funny, people ask me about it, and I don’t think I really have a choice! If a team drafts me and says I need to play guard, then I’m all for it. I played a bit of guard at the Senior Bowl and I’ve been training at the position without pads for a bit now. It would take some getting used to, but I’ve been a football player my whole life. Give me a few weeks and I’ll get it. I’ve played tackle for the past five years of my career, so that’s what I know right now. I would be more comfortable there to start. But seriously, just a few days at guard and I’d be ready to go. Whatever helps my team.

Yes, Joe is sure the Bucs will be snagging an offensive lineman. Gambling on left guard Carl Nicks’ health is foolish, as is hoping Jamon Meredith bounces back to his 2012 form at right guard. Depth would be nice, too, especially after the Bucs ousted versatile Jeremy Zuttah.

17 Responses to ““Give Me A Few Weeks And I’ll Get It””

  1. Back, from Davie Jones Locker Says:

    Bring him on! We need a lot of ” Big uglies”.
    Sounds like a smart bet with this guy

  2. stanglassman Says:

    Getting rid of Jeremy Zuttah still has me scratching my head. If you didn’t do that this pick could be the best WR, DE or QB on the board depending on what you picked early.

  3. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    stanglassman, I agree.

    I’m not overly confident in Jason Licht at this point.

  4. Owlykat Says:

    Good article, Joe, and I would be fine with Joel if we can get him with the third pick we get for Glennon. Meredith has been building up his muscles to start and I think he will do real well. If Nix is OK and starts, Joel would be a good backup for him, and I like his flexibility to play Tackle too.

  5. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    So far they’ve done a brillant job overhauling the roster….while not overpaying for incoming talent.

    Can’t wait to see how the draft, undrafted free agents signings, and possible roster additions after the Final 53 go.

  6. brandonbucfan Says:

    Give me a break! What do you base your opinion on that you don’t have any confidence in JL. I have more confidence in just his reputation than I do if we still had “Rockstar”> Give him a chance!!

  7. brandonbucfan Says:

    Zuttah was a member of the “overvalued club”. Not to say he wasn’t a “decent” lineman but as I mentioned above
    to BuccaneerBonzai at least give L&L the benefit of not having been through a draft before we begin to be critical. We’ll leave that to JOE when JF is there at #7 and we pass on him!!

    But Zuttah wasn’t “overvalued” by a rock solid GM and organization like the Ravens … –Joe

  8. Adrian Says:

    As much as we need help at o-line, I hope the Bucs don’t draft an o-lineman with the 7th pick. Second or third round will be fine.

  9. Orca Says:

    brandonbucfan Says:
    May 4th, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Give me a break! What do you base your opinion on that you don’t have any confidence in JL. I have more confidence in just his reputation than I do if we still had “Rockstar”. Give him a chance!!

    There who those who derive their enjoyment from being unreasonably critical. You just have to let them complain until their heads explode.

  10. HolyBuc Says:

    Zuttah took a pay cut with the Ravens? Correct? Penn pay cut. Where is Joseph at?

  11. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Value? We shall see. What has Jason Licht done exactly?

    Traded away player without getting value? Brought in players that have injury histories, most of which unable to play entire seasons?

    He’s only upgraded one posittion…Michael Johnson. We hope.

    QB? Not. I’m not a Glennon fan, but he won more games than McCown last season, who was about to retire after having his best season…winning 3 games.

    CB? Not hardly. Center? Not hardly.

    He’s actually done more damage than good at this point. We went from having the worse offense to having no offense.

    Hoping he’ll fill holes in the draft? He admitted this week that he has NEVER been in a war room during a draft. So he has no track record.

    He sure is good at spending money though.

    Good luck with a draft trade. The Bucs will probably trade down 6 spots to gain another 6th rounder.

  12. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    And, Orca, you know me not. I am one of the biggest homers here. Normally I am very supportive.

    There are plenty of reasons to have doubts right now. It’s not like I set out to not like Licht. He had earned it. He can still sway me over, but I gave up multiple season tickets because I’m not sold on him.

    And Tedford has yet to earn props. If he does well, he’ll get them.

    I’m pretty objective. If I see someone actually doing a good job, I support them. So far, I have only seen Lovie doing a good job. Tedford getss a pass right now because I have not seen his results.

    I hated Frazier as a head coach for the Vikings, but I’m willing to admit its possible he can be a good DC.

    Licht has only done two things I like…DE and CB, and only the DE was an upgrade.

  13. Kramden Says:

    Bonzai – disagree on C not being upgraded. Dietrich-Smith > Zuttah or Larsen.

  14. Sledd Says:

    You guys are laying a lot on Licht…remember Lovie runs the show and has final say on personnel doesn’t he? I think these are more moves that Lovie made, not Licht. At least the guys that were let go or traded seem to be Lovie decisions-

  15. Orca Says:

    @Bonzai… The problem is that you have taken the same information as everyone else and turned it into a turd. Your attitude is no more based in facts than someone who insists the Bucs will be Superbowl bound and that Licht is executive of the year, before the games are even played. You CHOOSE to cop an attitude. You have no idea how all these moves will play out, but you’ve decided to take a giant crap on them. That’s called a negative attitude. It’s not based on reality. There’s more than one interpretation for all the moves L&L have made, but you insist the “true” one is the least flexible one. It’s you dude, because I’m pretty optimistic based on what they’ve done and I think most of the people on this board are too.

  16. Sweets Willie Says:


    You don’t pay attention. Licht has been in war rooms since 2001. He said so himself. Weren’t you the one impressed by the recreation of a busted play by Johnny at Gruden camp!!

  17. Dreambig Says:

    Hopefully they land a guy like this in the draft. Our oline could use the help! I am a huge homer and ufortunately I am kind of with Bonzi on this one. That is to say I am fairly skeptical at this point. Several player moves require a leap of faith that the player will blossom and be better than they were last year. We have an OC and HC were unemployed last year, our GM has no experience as a GM and to this point he has got very little out of former starters who we got rid of. We do know what we have with Lovie, so odds are our defense is going to be better. So that’s a solid place for optimism but for the rest, I am going to have to see some results before I anoint Tedford as a the next offensive guru or Licht as a good GM. With all the turnover this is probably going to take a while but my fingers are crossed and I hope for the best!