Rookies Growing

September 22nd, 2015
Bucs coach Lovie Smith seems to believe rookies G Ali Marpet (above) and LT Donovan Smith are progressing nicely.

Lovie Smith seems to believe rookies G Ali Marpet (above) and LT Donovan Smith are progressing nicely.

Yes, the Bucs are banking on three rookies to lead the way offensively.

It’s rare to succeed with so many rookies, one of which includes America’s Quarterback, Bucs signal-caller Jameis Winston.

Sunday, regularly, Jameis had time to throw and look what he did. That means the two rookies up front were getting the job done, left tackle Donovan Smith and right guard Ali Marpet.

Bucs coach Lovie Smith is a believer.

“Ali has put together two pretty solid games,” Lovie said. “Donovan, it’s tough duty at the left tackle position – hardest position on the offensive line to come in as a rookie and play. You have to keep that in mind with his play, but we are pleased with what they guys are doing. They’re both good football players.”

Of course, the two have a long way to go. And Marpet gets to block J.J. Watt next week. Uh, oh.

Sunday in Houston will be a big test. The duo passed their tests in New Orleans. Now comes mid-terms a little early.

26 Responses to “Rookies Growing”

  1. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I thought the entire team showed improvement in N.O. Every phase. Special teams scared me because of last year and our preseason, but those late signings of the LB’s seemed to have helped and it’s another way to get Bobby Rainey on the field.

    I also thought the coaching improved…not just Lovie’s defense but Koetter had a good game calling some plays that were very successful. Sadly that screen pass late in the game was a thing of beauty only to have an absurd call negate it.

    Hopefully in addition to continuing improvement on the OL Koetter will have some plays in mind for Watt, Clowney and that tough Houston DL.

  2. Nick Says:

    3-4 defenses scare me for the rooks. They’ve spent every practice since mini-camp going up against a 4-3 front. Temper expectations for Sunday.

  3. MadMax Says:

    Haha, just watch….Marpet will win most battles with JJ one vs one!

  4. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    D@$! I love Ali Marpet. There was play in the game Sunday when a D linemen clearly bull rush him with everything he had forcing Ali a yard or so into backfield. Ali clearly said in his mind “no guy” and stood dude up stone walling him until Jamies release the ball. I was like man I love my rookie guard. Now draft the baddest one on the board next draft with the first pick to eventually replace Mankins. Who I might add was solid Sunday.. Still waiting on it.

  5. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Uh oh my a$$,Ali backs down to no man.

  6. Brian Says:

    Nick, didnt they just play a 3-4 in NOLA? Clearly not the same talent as Houston but same scheme?

  7. Nick Says:


    In the immortal words of Adam Carolla: “yeah, but still..”

    Self-imposed timeout for this guy.

  8. gotbbucs Says:

    This could finally be the draft class that turns this franchise around. Im not sold on D. Smith but I think if he flames out at tackle he could easily slide down to guard depending on what is available in next years draft and where we’re picking.

    I would be happier than sh!t if we came out of this draft with nothing more than two starting guards/maybe tackle and a starting MLB. Jamies panning out and becoming our first two contract QB would be sweet too I guess. Hopefully Kenny Bell figures out how to catch this offseason, I had high hopes for him.

  9. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I believe Donovan Smith was over anxious in game 1. That led to him making mistakes and getting penalties. Once he got over the first game jitters he got better.

    I still expect all of them to make mistakes though. They’ll improve as the season goes on. Like I said before…the running game will benefit the most at first.

  10. 1nebuc Says:

    No knock to d smith but next year we will draft a left tackle in the 1st round and slide d smith inside to left guard where he will dominate and release mankins

  11. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    No knock to d smith but next year we will draft a left tackle in the 1st round

    Here’s a laugh for all to enjoy. Right before our game with the Titans Walter Football had us picking 5th or 7th, can’t remember exactly, but they had us taking N.D.’s tackle Ronnie Stanley.

    They haven’t updated their 2016 draft to include this past Sunday’s results. Based on that first week they had moved us into the #1 spot and had us taking Joey Bosa. LOL Moved us up a half dozen or so spots based on ONE game.

    Let’s see where they move us this week.

    Another interesting tidbit however…Charlie Campbell and other draft “experts” think Bosa is not a #1 but probably better slotted between 5-7. Remember if we still have MG8 it wouldn’t be that hard to move up to that spot.
    What a DL….GMC…McDonald flanked by Jack Smith and Joey Bosa.

    I think people here are really, really underselling the value of MG8. No need to rush him out the door. We’ll cash in when the time is right!

    Amazingly if we don’t have a horrible injury there are no glaring needs. We would love to upgrade the OL for the future with Mankins and Smith getting old…if ME is going to have a career constantly plagued by hammy problems maybe we need a really explosive receiver…someone with speed to burn.

  12. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Do LTs typically dominate their rookie year?

    Tyron Smith from Dallas is one of the best LTs in the league and started at RT before moving over. It wasn’t till his THIRD year that he was established as a top LT in the league.

    Trent Williams took until his 2nd year to make the probowl at LT.

    Joe Thomas took till his 2nd year to get recognized for good play in a probowl.

    Russel Okung had injuries throughout first few years of career but was probowler in 3rd year. He’ll be a FA likely next year if we do wanna go that route and move Smith.

    Either way we should have more options next year than this year when it comes to O-line. I’m crossing my fingers on SMith panning out.

    Draft 1-DE 2-OG 3-7 S/WR/DE/CB/O-line

    LG-2nd round pick from 2016 draft

    That’d be a pretty young promising line

  13. Fsuking Says:

    Donovan Smith might have been a mistake but Marpet and Kwon can be stars and obviously Jameis was a great addition. Smith’s ceiling is becoming a below average LT or an aaverage G

  14. unbelievable Says:

    Love how people are claiming to know what smiths ceiling is after just 2 games of a rookie starting at LT. Seriously people?

    smdh, maybe give the guy 1 whole season in the league?

  15. celly Says:

    I would still rather see Marpet at center. He has the body type to be a real dominant one, i believe.

  16. JBF Addict Says:

    Center is now the big ??? I think. Can Hawley(?) keep getting it done? Or is EDS going to be gifted his way back in there as a starter?

  17. bucsbedabest Says:

    I have been a firm critic of Donovan Smith and of his play in the last two games. In the end he is our starting LT and there is no one better on this team to replace him. So looking at the positives he is a mammoth man who literally can simply get in front of opponents and slow them down. Hopefully he will improve and be the player we drafted him for. Ali Marpet is going to be an All-Pro.

  18. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    If Marpet can snap the ball in the shotgun then I’m with you. Nothing like having a mean dude anchor your line from center. Supposed to be a smart kid so he could learn to call the blocking assignments.

  19. ShameisTheFarmer Says:

    Most of you guys (gals, whatevers) are as flakey and fickle as they come. D. Smith a mistake or would be a great guard? Evans isn’t working out? One week you are ready to give up on the team, then they win and all is well? Make up your damn minds.

  20. mike Says:

    @ brian… saints play a 4-3. Tenn and texans are 3-4. This might be our last 3-4 d matchup of the year.

  21. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    Bears are 3-4

  22. Delson Says:

    I thot the saints had a 3-4 defense.

  23. Bucs Fan #7423 Says:

    New Orleans had a weak pass rush. Texans will be a real test. We need to bring in some more guys next season that can block well so Jameis can lead us to more victories

  24. vegabuc Says:

    Marpet will be a good pro. Smith will need more time to develop but the position he plays ain’t no joke. Nevertheless I agree with you Bucs Fan#7423, the team will definitely have to replace Logan Mankins and Dietrich Smith (maybe he should put his all name back). On the flip side don’t forget we are getting Demar Dotson back.

  25. PRBucFan Says:

    Don. S per PFF is doing pretty poorly.

    “Donovan Smith followed up a poor Week 1 performance (-3.1) with an even worse showing in week 2. His -4.9 overall grade ranked him 54th”

    But alas, rookie growing pains

  26. Jason McLaurin Says:

    All they’ve played is 3-4 teams to start the season. They need to move Donovan Smith to guard once Dotson is healthy and ready to start again. It seems the way Smith blocks hes fit to be a guard on this line right now. Smith is struggling because hes a rookie but hes setting into the league even though hes getting flagged a lot.