Didn’t Know They Were Rookies

October 2nd, 2015
Bucs veteran center said the rookie offensive linemen don't play like rookies.

Bucs veteran center Joe Hawley said the rookie offensive linemen don’t play like rookies.

Joe is still buzzing over how the shaky Bucs offensive line, facing arguably the most formidable defensive line in the NFL on Sunday, not just kept the jersey of America’s Quarterback, Bucs signal-caller Jameis Winston clean, but didn’t allow a sack.

If Joe had to take anything out of that loss as a positive, it was that.

It’s more than a positive. It’s amazing, with the Bucs starting two rookies and the likes of future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt off the sack board.

But it didn’t seem that amazing to new Bucs center Joe Hawley. Starting for injured Evan Smith, the veteran formerly with the Dixie Chicks arrived in Tampa and had no idea left tackle Donovan Smith and right guard Ali Marpet were rookies because of the way they practiced and prepared.

“When you have been somewhere a long time you kind of see the guys come in,” Hawley said. “Since I was new [with the Bucs], I really didn’t know who was who or how old everybody was. So I really couldn’t recognize they were rookies.

“They are very intelligent. They get the playbook down and they play hard. Experience will help them out a lot. That’s what I see on the film, just little things that the vets in the room help them with.

“You can’t practice agaist the best players in the world. Experience will come. They will continue to improve. Just three weeks into it, I think they are very good players.”

And it seems, so too is Hawley, who said the game at Houston was his first full game since he was injured with the Falcons last year, blowing out a knee in the fourth game of the 2014 season against the Vikings.

Perhaps this is a glimpse of the Bucs’ near future? Easily, Sunday was the best the offensive line played in some time, including best this season.

Joe is not one to fix what is not broken. That offensive line sure didn’t look broken, which was a refreshing change. Maybe Hawley has planted his flag as the new starting center?

13 Responses to “Didn’t Know They Were Rookies”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Anyone but Evan Deitrich Smith……that would please Joe.

    Oline looked much better but we couldn’t convert on 3rd down…..WR/QB breakdown….if we can get it together….things could improve greatly.

  2. bucsbedabest Says:

    I like Joe Hawley. He is the “bring your lunch pale,” “working class” NFL Center. He brings his “A” game, every time. His hustle, effort and “first man in,” when a teammate like Jameis is going toe to toe with the likes of Quintin Demps, is an example others should follow. I first became aware of Hawley watching the Dixie Chicks on the HBO documentary Hard Knocks. On the show I immediately was drawn to him because of a fight he was in and thrown out of practice, early in the show. It is a breath of fresh air Mr Hawley, I hope you are able to solidify your new found starting position here in Tampa.

  3. DB55 Says:

    You can’t practice agaist the best players in the world.
    Ali Marpet practices against the best player in the universe everyday.

  4. Bucco Brice Says:

    D.Smith and Marpet will be cornerstones for the future…a future without Lovie Smith as coach…great picks

  5. Cannon Says:

    This guy looks like he needs a battle ax and a horned helment…

  6. Buc Em.....Section 318 Says:


  7. Buccfan37 Says:

    Has anybody asked Hawley how much his former blown out knee has recovered?

  8. vegabuc Says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but I got a feeling Evan Smith may have lost hist starting gig to Haley. The guy is flat out nasty, and for what I’ve seen a better blocker than Smith. Can’t wait to get Demar Dotson back. This O line might end up being one of the bright spots of the season surprisingly at the end of the year. And of course Joe’s favorite player/human being/Future Hall of Famer, America’s Quarterback Jameis Winston.

  9. ARGH_M8E Says:

    It’s Friday and I’m over last week…. Wasn’t easy to get over either… See u diehards at the game, my 1st at Rjay… Seen em live twice, both at the Georgia dome, 1&1… #40 is the reason I became a fan in 97 (I’m from CT), if we can’t get inspired by the choo choo train and win one finally at home… I might go thru the atmosphere since there’s no roof at home, LETS GO BUCS!!!!!!

    Btw:Where’s the best tailgate my fellow swashbucklers?!?!?!

    Gonna cry like a baby when I see mike out there!!! Yes a grown a$$ man will b all teared up;))) the people’s champ for sure!!!!!

  10. Jerid421 Says:

    Swashbucklers are the cheerleaders.

  11. Bill Byrne Says:

    After three games, there are several questions that have been answered. 1. Jameis Winston is going to be a very good QB; 2. With the addition of Gosder Cherilus and Joe Hawley to the offensive line, that unit has become a major asset and with the addition of Demar Dotson in five weeks, this group will be deep and talented; 3. Dirk Koetter is for “REAL” and the best addition to the Buccaneers this year.

    There is one major concern, however; the BUCS lack discipline!!! In 2014 they were the 23rd most penalized team in the NFL and 2015 has started out just as disturbing ((33 penalties in 3 games)!!! Discipline begins with the head coach and most penalties are the result of a lack of concentration. Until Lovie Smith addresses this problem, the Bucs will continue to struggle.

  12. PRBucFan Says:

    The best in the universe? lol

    I am a big GMac fan but he has to show up more when it matters before he gets anymore recognition.

  13. Rob Says:

    Argh M8E “Btw: Where’s the best tailgate”

    My group throws a kick ass Tailgate. If you’re interested, email me at Lawjock@aol.com