So, About The Center…

September 23rd, 2014
Did the Bucs swing and miss on their evaluation of C Jeremy Zuttah, who now starts for the Baltimore Crows?

Did the Bucs swing and miss in their evaluation of Jeremy Zuttah, who now starts and excels for the Baltimore Crows?

Look, Joe has zero problems with Evan Dietrich-Smith. He was fine with the Packers and Joe thinks he will be just fine with the Bucs.

That doesn’t mean the Bucs’ center is mistake-free. After watching that NFL version of the WWE, where the Bucs played the part of the heel last wee in Atlanta, not one person who stepped on that field is blameless.

EDS didn’t have his greatest night. Newsflash: Who did? But EDS’s play was bad enough it caught the eye of two folks who work for national publications.

One of the two is none other than Big Ten Network-hating, pedestrian-bumpingolive oil-lappingpopcorn-munchingcoffee-slurpingfried-chicken-eatingoatmeal-lovingcircle-jerkingbeer-chuggingcricket-watchingscone-loathingcollege football-naïvebaseball box score-reading, NPR-listeningfilthy-hotel-stayingfight-instigatingbarista-training Peter King, of and NBC Sports fame. King typed the following sentence yesterday in the things about Week Three in the NFL he did not like.

You paid Evan Dietrich-Smith to play like that, Tampa?

The game was such a debacle with horrid play by so many, Joe never noticed exactly how badly EDS played (partially because Joe just couldn’t bear to watch closely, like glancing away from the nurse drawing blood).

So Joe turned to those who look at each and every position on the field on each and every play. And that is the nerds over at Pro Football Focus. Khaled Elsayed watched EDS the other night and came away as appalled as King.

Breakdown: When you’re new to a team first impressions can mean a lot. “EDS” hasn’t exactly made the best of starts to life as a Buc and this outing was one that will draw the fans ire. Two frankly stupid penalties for late hits after the whistle, two terrible snaps, an inability to handle Paul Soliai on the bullrush and very little good run blocking.

Signature Stat: Was flagged for three penalties all last year and two in this one game.

Joe knows an offensive line takes time to come together. EDS told Joe that in Green Bay, his line came together so well they communicated by their own version of sign language as to not tip off blocking assignments by hollering out calls. They learned each other’s body language.

The Bucs’ starting offensive line has only been together a month. That’s a far cry from how EDS described the camaraderie he had with the Packers.

Joe brings this up not so much to critique EDS — who is a good guy and Joe is convinced will be fine — but to point out a possible missed evaluation of talent.

When the new Bucs regime came in, they cleaned house on the offensive line. The only starter left is right tackle Demar Dotson. New starting guard Patrick Omameh was here but had no game experience. But was Jeremy Zuttah really that bad? All of the former starters on the front line are starting for someone else now.

Zuttah currently starts for the Crows, which again look to make a run at the playoffs. And the nerds at Pro Football Focus seemed impressed by Zuttah, types Evan Vracar.

During the subsequent offseason, Baltimore made sweeping changes to their offensive line. Michael Oher was allowed to leave in free agency, A.Q. Shipley was cut during the preseason, and Gino Gradkowski has been relegated to backup status once more. To compensate for these departures, the Ravens re-signed Eugene Monroe to a long-term deal and acquired Jeremy Zuttah from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. They also promoted a fifth-round pick from the 2013 Draft, Ricky Wagner, to a starting job at right tackle.

These changes on the offensive line, along with a return to good health by Osemele (+5.1), have paid dividends for the franchise. Both Zuttah (+3.3) and Wagner (+1.8) have gotten off to strong starts, and every starter on the offensive line for the Ravens currently sports a positive overall grade. Through two weeks the Ravens rank eighth in run blocking, and they’re the top overall team in pass protection; propelling a Ravens offense that is now looking dangerous again.

So, the question begs to be asked: If Zuttah can excel at center for what is now one of the better lines in the NFL– Joe has been told by those who know offensive linemen that Zuttah often played guard like Oneil Cousins — couldn’t he also have performed for an 0-3 team, especially one that just took a proverbial baseball bat to the face last week?

Joe knows Zuttah cost more money than EDS, but it’s not like the Bucs used their cash savings to sign, say, defensive end Julius Peppers (in addition to Michael Johnson — who?), since Lovie seems to base his entire coaching existence on getting heat on the quarterback?

27 Responses to “So, About The Center…”

  1. FR Says:

    Coaching coaching coach thats the only way to explain it. Guys leave Tampa and do better thats coaching.

  2. meh Says:

    I’m not convinced he’ll be fine at all. EDS has been terrible. His run blocking is awful, he’s on roller skates when he pass blocks, he gets penalties, and how many bad snaps did he have last game?

    He’s been just awful.

  3. The Buc Realist Says:

    its not just Zuttah for EDS. Its Zuttah for EDS plus a 5th round draft pick. and it should be obvious that this team needs every draft pick it can get. If you plugged in zuttah at Atlanta would it have changed the outcome? Is zutthah better than Eds, yes. Would zuttah made a difference on the bucs line, probably not!

  4. meh Says:

    Who cares if we got a 5th rounder? We got EDS and spent TWO 5th rounders on linemen, and we’re still way worse off.

    And no, Zuttah would not have tipped the Atlanta game by himself. It’s just one more drip of many in the faucet of suck.

  5. rayray1 Says:

    Mistake # 1 with L & L was letting Zuttah and Joseph walk. Was ok with Penn leaving but would have kept these two. Re building or not these are the players L & L wanted.

  6. bucrightoff Says:

    Zuttah trade was unacceptably bad. Not a whole lot good so far for the L&L regime. If this team straight up quits the next 13 games they could both be 1 and done.

  7. RastaMon Says:

    Loser & Loser

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Give this a bit more time….we seem to always be making the wrong moves….players that play better elsewhere….I hate to say it but the Buc culture isn’t positive like some other teams…..NE, Seattle, Baltimore…
    It will come….

  9. Mathius Says:

    Can the bucs get McCay back?

  10. passthebuc` Says:

    Its about coaching. its about motivation. If you see anyone lighting a fire under players, show me the tape.

    Sorry, it appears to be another bad hire that will be here 3 to 5 years.

  11. flmike Says:

    Lovie mis-evaluated talent, say it ain’t so, say it ain’t so….

  12. Kaptain Morgan Says:

    Zuttah wasn’t even seen by this staff if barely (on tape) when they traded him. They saw an undersized O-lineman on paper and wanted to get bigger and stronger up front. What they forgot to measure was the size of the man’s heart, his intelligence, his desire to play and his ability to adjust to situations. A good offensive system fit for the right player doesn’t hurt either.

    Every organization will make their fair share of mistakes. You can’t expect them to all pan out or to be right 100%. Some of these decisions are guesses and evaluations on talents and will be based on chances. However, to have one of their decisions right out of the gate be THIS wrong already on an 0-3…I can see easily how this can be food for fodder on the message board!!

  13. Soggy Says:

    Mama said she does not want me playing that foolsball..

  14. Please Says:

    I’ve been wondering since the offseason – why didn’t we go after both J-Peppers and Jared Allen? Pay ’em big and have a nasty rush for a year or 2.

  15. passthebuc` Says:

    The Lightening are fun to watch. Their young, aggressive and pack the stadium.

    Why is it that we are a football state and our hockey team packs the arena.

    Its product. Jeff Vinik knows how to put a product in front of the fans. He is invested in Tampa. Look at his organizational structure. Now compare it with the Bucs. Pitiful.

    The Rays who year after year put good product on the field without the benefit of money.

    Face it, the Buc’s throw Shittttttttt on the wall and hope some of it sticks.

  16. DallasBuc Says:

    Not one off-season move has been a definitive improvement or upgrade. Not one. But hey, don’t blame do-no-wrong Lovie and his rookie lapdog GM!

  17. mpmalloy Says:

    The Bucs release good players when it comes time to pay them.
    (Zuttah, Joseph, Bennett, Revis, etc, etc)

    It works like this:
    When the latest meat comes into the Bucs grinder the Glazers
    inform them of the financial constraints that they’ll be working
    under. Then it’s up to the poor GM and HC to desperately try
    to make chicken salad out of chicken shit.
    They’re being set up for failure from square one.
    Gruden in his latter days and Raheem for one season (at Freemans
    peak) were the only ones to field somewhat respectable teams
    built from chicken shit money.
    Again (I address the shills) if I’m wrong about any of this then the
    lets study the details: Total spending on players, coaching, front office
    and other overhead on a year-by-year basis as compared to the other
    31 teams. I case you’re wondering we’re in the bottom three.

  18. buc4lyfe Says:

    He’s worse than Greg schiano with his stupidity and arrogance. Who gets rid of a versatile young starting lineman that’s never been in trouble and without getting a draft pick for for this coming year. Don’t want him to play center fine if you have eds but the guy plays both guard positions…… Idiot their evaluations…… Mark Dominick type evaluations and he ruined this team, lovie has his hands full coaching, his evaluating days should end especially before the next draft

  19. Zam Says:

    Our O-line was fine last year, we just needed a QB and some coaches who knew x’s and o’s.

    I’m bitterly disappointed with Lovie’s supposed “upgrades”. If the team goes 4-12 again (wishful thinking) will he fire everybody on the line that *he* picked?

  20. JBuc Says:

    I wouldn’t beat up EDS too much about the penalties Thursday. I believe the two personal fouls were later in the game when it was well out of hand. Frankly, I was happy to see at least one player that seemed to be pissed with what was going on.

  21. RCH Says:


  22. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    We’ve had bad coaching for so long in Tampa, including the waning Gruden years, that I don’t even know what it looks like anymore. I’m beginning to think the Dungy and early Gruden years were a fluke. That Tampa is destined to be irrelevant in the NFL. Because outside of those relatively few years this franchise has been a laughingstock from the beginning until today. Seems to me that is Tampa’s natural condition for some reason.

  23. Celly Says:

    buc4lyfe Says:
    September 23rd, 2014 at 9:39 am

    He’s worse than Greg schiano with his stupidity and arrogance.

    We’re talking about the same Schiano that let go of Talib (who had a good year in NE and is still doing pretty good in Den), Blount (who just got 100 yards in relief duty) and Bennett (leader on superbowl defensive front).

    Sorry, Lovie still get until at least next year before i start running him out of town.

    Everyone wants to talk about:

    “oh, Schiano was 7-9 his first year here.” While negating the fact that he was 4-12 last year.

    But if we’re going to go ahead and exclude the last year of each regime, lets not forget that Rah went 10-6 with a far less talented team that either of these 2 coaches had.

    My only waning hope is that points will start to get on the board once Tedford comes back fully. Not sure if that means wins will come, too, but maybe the defense will be able to play more lax if they can get some leads.


  24. "that guy" Says:

    tampa bay is a retirement home for players and coaches.

  25. Joe Says:

    We’ve had bad coaching for so long in Tampa, including the waning Gruden years, that I don’t even know what it looks like anymore.

    In retrospect, Chucky coached his arse off here. Most of the guys Dominik got rid of when he took over either never played again or retired a year or two later; their careers were shot.

  26. mpmalloy Says:

    Exactly Joe.
    Chucky was the one coach who COULD make a really good
    chicken salad from pure chicken sh*t.

  27. buccanAy Says:

    No… Chucky needed someone to make the chicken salad, and he came in and won with it…he could NOT make chicken salad himself.