Evan Smith Still A Starter

October 14th, 2015
Former Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara shined a spotlight on Evan Smith versus Dick LeBeau.

Bucs OC Dirk Koetter stated injured center Evan Smith is still considered a starter.

For the past three games, certainly beginning in Houston, the Bucs’ offensive line has been the shining light of the team.

It is almost a shock how far that line has come along since preseason began.

At the center of the successful line is free agent center Joe Hawley, who the Bucs picked up off the scrap heap in mid-September

Intetestingly, Hawley played for offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter when Koetter held the same gig with the Dixie Chicks.

Joe does not believe in coincidences. It isn’t lost on Joe that Hawley started for injured incumbent Evan Smith at center the past few weeks when the offensive line has played its best.

But while answering a question from Joe, Koetter all but said Smith is still locked in as your Bucs starting center when his bum ankle heels.

“No, no. Evan is our starter,” Koetter said. “A player shouldn’t lose a starting spot because of an injury.

“We are happy with Joe. He is going to be a valuable piece” for the offensive line.

Joe sort of agrees. A guy should not lose his job to injury. However, a guy very much should lose his job if his replacement is playing better.

Perhaps the best the Bucs’ offensive line has played in years has been with Hawley starting.

Joe doesn’t believe in fixing something not broken. Smith should earn his return as starter, not turn into a Da’Quan Bowers and be gifted a starting job, you know, just because.

37 Responses to “Evan Smith Still A Starter”

  1. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    The best player should start, period. If anyone thinks Smith has been better than Hawley, I’d love to hear it.

  2. JollyBucsFan Says:

    D. Smith, Pamphile, Hawley, Marpet, Cherilus/Dotson

    Sounds like a good line too me.

  3. MaHaBoNe Says:

    Typical loser response…. we are going to put a better player on the bench because of contract, probably. Too many mixed messages being sent from the coaching staff. Bench Verner when Jennings and Jenkins absolutely stink it up. Oh, and probably give Mankins his spot back even thou we could be grooming Pamphile to take over, when Logan has definitely shown his age of late. Just too many bad player evaluations and justifications to give this coaching staff a hedge of support. ……….Wow, just amazing how much Glazer money has been spent on NOTHING!!

  4. destro44 Says:

    I’m sorry but you don’t mess with what works. I believe the improvements are related to Hawley making better line calls, and a better chemistry. Lets face it EDS sounds like a dickhead, maybe the guys up front don’t like playing with him? Whatever the reason I let Hawley play until the line plays poorly. EDS can be first off the bench for interior line. I think some goes for Dotson too. Let him heal, big Goz has been serviceable and Dotson isn’t a great run blocker.

  5. Sick of Lovie Says:

    Lets see if Martin’s numbers drop or Jameis gets pressured/sacked more as soon as Smith comes back. In his absence, the line looks to have gotten comfortable with each other. Think about it, Dotson, Mankins, and Smith all out and we have our nest day of running in years. And, against a top defense against the run. Please tell me why this is.

  6. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    I say we keep Goz at RT and trade Dotson to the patriots. Get a start from the patriots!

  7. Bucsfaninchina Says:

    They are just giving the STARTING center a shot to earn his position back. They saw what Hawley can do and should we choose to go back to Hawley it is not like Smith is guaranteed a single cent for next year. Hawley is younger, more athletic, and cheaper. I could put money down that he will be your Bucs starter next year. This is nothing to sweat.

    @WyomingBucsFan Completely agree. Great suggestion.

  8. ATLBucsFan Says:

    I say before we praise one and criticize an other’s performance, let’s play some more games against tougher opponents. EDS heals, let him play. Won’t take long before the talent shows up on the field.

  9. Pasco Jim Says:

    Smith at center for the Bucs is a liability IMO
    Joe deserves to start until Smith can beat him out, like Joe says
    he should not be gifted the center job.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I love all these personnel decisions being made by someone other than the coaches…..lets see….we have Warhop, Koetter & Lovie…..perhaps all on the same page with who plays….perhaps not….but it would seem to me that Koetter would rule here.
    As for benching Mankins….no way….use Pamphile as an extra blocker or in reserve.
    Dotson, if healthy, should get his job back with Cherilus in reserve…..

    There I go, making decisions for the coaches just like you….

  11. DB55 Says:

    Hawkley and Warren have both outplayed EDS.

  12. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    Joe sort of agrees. A guy should not lose his job to injury. However, a guy very much should lose his job if his replacement is playing better.

    Exactly. Should Drew Bledsoe have gotten his job back from Tom Brady?

    E(D)S should take a backseat to Hawley until otherwise notified

  13. Pick6 Says:

    ugh. it’s not just DTs who can get all fat & complacent after a payday. it boggles the mind how inconsistent EDS has been performing the defining task of a center – delivering the football to the QB to begin the play – since arriving here. we would be a better offense if EDS were playing up to his physical abilities, but i’ve given up on it happening. it’s a shame because hawley is going to struggle against bigger defenses. he’s a scrapper but that didn’t stop vince wilfork from basically sitting on him every play and blowing up our interior run game

  14. DallasBuc Says:

    It is so painful to watch Incompetent Lovie Smith continue to make poor decisions.

  15. Buc1987 Says:

    They should start me over Evan Smith. I’m 6ft 180 pounds and never even played high school football. I dominated Tecmo Bowl though.

    They might get better results if I start…

  16. buc4life1979 Says:

    Funny how I’ve YET to see to see Hawley here or when he was with the dixie chicks deliver a bad snap either under center or ESPECIALLY in shotgun, yet smith is still considered the starter huh?? Still a Bucs life then. Still being seiged by idiocracy. Still need to fire Lovie Smith and get it over with…Simple as that.

  17. Joe Cool Says:

    If it ain’t broke, why fix it….simple as that.

  18. DefenseRules Says:

    Lovie’s made some poor personnel decisions in my opinion, but he’s not stupid. As the HC, he knows full well that the offense better (1) control the clock, and (2) put up a bunch of points if the Bucs are going to win. The tougher part of our schedule is coming up (Falcons, Cowboys, Eagles, Colts, Rams plus several other teams who are doing better than we are) and our defense looks like it’ll have its’ hands full. I’m being kind.

    No way that Lovie overrides what Dirk Koetter recommends with the offense … not if he expects to keep his job. How long Lovie keeps his job depends largely on how well Dirk Koetter’s offense performs. If Koetter believes that E(D)S gives the Bucs the best chance of winning against any particular opponent, that’s who he’ll play. Mankins and Dotson … same thing. I’d do the same.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ DefenseRules

    Absolutely right….there is no way Lovie is forcing EDS down Koetter’s throat…..there is nothing in it for him.

    Look at the bright side….we have some arguments at least…..EDS/Hawley…..Pamphile/Mankins…….Dotson/Cherilus…..

    This means we’ve finally got some depth.

  20. DB55 Says:

    I dominated Tecmo Bowl though.

    Bahhhhhhhh, eds just dominates bowls.

  21. DefenseRules Says:

    Tampabaybucfan … Agree wholeheartedly that we finally have some OLine depth. Now can we work on getting some depth in the secondary that didn’t all blow down from the Windy City?

  22. JAB83 Says:

    He is the starter right, Kyle Brindza (the kicker, was that his name I forget?) Now that EDS knows he is expendable…. Well what is it people say about competition and adversity??? Let him play knowing the rope is short… What’s the worste that can happen??? We lose big deal… He is done for good… But if he balls out we are a much better team going forward with the other guys as depth… Same for any player returning to a starting role… The back ups should be expected to be as good as the starters at this level!!! Just a thought

  23. DB55 Says:

    Def rules

    No way that Lovie overrides what Dirk Koetter recommends with the offense
    I’ll disagree. If you look at the film you’ll see Koetter asking Lovie if he wants to “go for it” just before the half. (right after the 5 yard penalty. ) You’ll see him answer “no” then he communicated it upstairs.

    The best part was when it got to Winston thru the headset and you can see JW shaking his head with disbelief and/or disappointment.

    So to your point, best believe Lovie is a micro-manager. A clueless micro-manager at that which is by far the worst type.

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Koetter asking Lovie if he wan’t to go for it isn’t being overriden…..he’s simply deferring to Lovie….

    Now if Koetter says he want’s to stick with Hawley and Lovie says no, we go with Smith….that’s different… and I don’t think that happened.

  25. bucsbedabest Says:

    @Pick6 Says – “Hawley is a scrapper but that didn’t stop Vince Wilfork from basically sitting on him every play and blowing up our interior run game.”

    @DefenseRules Says – “No way that Lovie overrides what Dirk Koetter recommends. If Koetter believes that E(D)S gives the Bucs the best chance of winning against any particular opponent, that’s who he’ll play. Mankins and Dotson … same thing.”

    Agree with both comments.

    Evan Smith vs Joe Hawley – Hawley struggles with large DT. He is a better shotgun snapper. Evan Smith is a way better run blocker. PFF rated Evan Smith overall (+0.8), (-0.0) run block. Joe Hawley overall (-5.4), (-4.3) run block. Last year Evan Smith’s final overall rating (+2.5), run block (+6.8).

    Demar Dotson vs Gosder Cherilus – Cherilus has been serviceable at best in replacement of Dotson. Dotson is a far better pass and run blocker. PFF rated Cherlius overall (-9.1), (-5.3) pass block, (-2.9) run block. Last year Dotson final overall rating (+8.9), (+9.5) pass block, (+2.5) run block. Dotson was rated by PFF in the top 5 for RT in the past two years.

    Kevin Pamphile vs Logan Mankins – Pamphile looked very good replacing Mankins however struggled at times when pulling. Pamphile overall (-1.6) (-2.7) run block. Mankins overall rating (-3.7), run block (-6.8).

    Koetter and Warhop will make the correct choice when they start Dotson, E. Smith and Mankins. Joe, how can any player be “gifted” the starting job when they already were the starter?

  26. passthebuc Says:

    Lovie still calls the shots.

  27. Another J Says:

    I think O-line has played better without Smith, and Mankins.
    They both should stay on the bench until they are needed again.
    Nothing we with fulltime pay, For part time play!

  28. DB55 Says:


    Fair enough but I agree with “Another J”.

  29. Buccfan37 Says:

    Lovie is on the hottest hot seat, the sign on back says control freak.

  30. Seminole Bill Says:

    Does anyone really think Lovie and Koetter would not play the players that give them the best chance to win, with both of their jobs on the line? I, for one, have been dissatisfied with Smith’s play this year and last, but at least give the coach the benefit of making what he thinks is the best decision.

    Having said the above, if Smith snaps the ball ten feet over Winston’s head, pull him; Hawley has proven he can play.

  31. destro44 Says:

    I find it funny to hear “hiw can anyone seriously think the coaches would play someone that doesn’t give the team the best chance to win” BS. Seriously they played Mclown last year, and some how they still trot out Toast Jennings and Mike Jenkins each week. Now tell me again how the coaches wouldn’t play a player that didn’t improve the chance to win again.

  32. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Koetter answers a random question and the fans blame Lovie for Koetter’s response.

    Instead of that Obama meme with him sipping on a soda, with the caption, ” im just here to see who thinks this is my fault”. They should just turn that into Lovie. Its the same thing. Not everything is Lovie’s fault.

  33. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Destro, Glennon didnt give us any better chance to win. Mccown sucked, but that just shows how bad glennon is. And look at what mccown is doing in cleveland. He is lighting it up. Mccown is better than glennon. Simple as that.

  34. bucslifeforme Says:

    He’s a bumb, get rid of him. Save the cap space for a productive player.

  35. BigMacAttack Says:

    Don’t fix that which isn’t broken. Idiots.

  36. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Yay pepto bismal

  37. Islandbucfan Says:

    I am sick off the fire coach smith talk. Firing a coach every 2-3 years will just set us back. I am tired of this win now attitude. As far as the OLINE is concerned. Evan smith will start. Throughout the course of the next game adjustments will be made. If smith struggles, joe will replace him. Those guys sitting on the sideline see how the OLINE is playing. Pride has a lot to do with it. Just be patient and let it play out. Geesh!!!