Bad Donovan Smith Bashing

January 21st, 2016

donovan smith 1008Joe is downright enraged by the seemingly countless Bucs fans who think rookie Donovan Smith was a shaky and almost bad left tackle last season.

Stop bowing to data nerds. Stop!

Hell, in midseason, then-OC Dirk Koetter emphatically said the Bucs hit the jackpot by drafting Smith and Ali Marpet. General manager Jason Licht, about two thirds through the season, hopped on the Buccaneers Radio Network and called Smith a hidden MVP of the entire team.

Joe doesn’t recall public outrage at those statements. In fact, Joe recalls the opposite, contagious high-fiving across the Tampa Bay area.

Where were these down-on-Donovan Bucs fans all year long complaining about how Smith was a serious liability?

Yes, a knock on Smith is penalties. That’s fair. He had to many, but maintain perspective. Here’s how Smith fared last season in that department versus the 2016 Pro Bowl left tackles.

Donovan Smith, 10 penalties + 1 declined + 1 offset

2016 Pro Bowlers:
Andrew Whitworth, 10 penalties + 0 declined
Tryon Smith, 8 penalties + 2 declined
Jason Peters, 7 penalties + 3 declined + 1 offset
Joe Thomas, 6 penalties + 0 declined
Trent Williams – 6 penalties + 1 offset
Joe Staley – 2 penalties + 0 declined

Penalty totals for NFC South left tackles:
Michael Oher (Panthers, 16 games) 4 penalties + 0 declined
Jake Matthews (Falcons, 16 games) 4 penalties + 0 declined
Terron Armstead (Saints, 13 game) 5 penalties + 0 declined

Penalty total for the guy needlessly booted from the Bucs:
Donald Penn (Raiders, 16 games) 8 penalties + 1 declined

So, yes, Smith, who played every snap last season, had too many penalties, but it wasn’t anything too crazy. Smith was a rookie and he will learn. He did improve during last season; four of his 12 infractions were in Weeks 1 & 2.

Matthews, of Atlanta, the No. 6-overall pick in 2014, improved greatly from nine penalties (plus two declined) during his rookie year. Joe looks for similar improvement from Smith, who turns just 23 in June.

All last year on SiriusXM NFL Radio, brilliant football men have talked about how hard it is to draft solid offensive linemen. The Bucs got one at left tackle.

31 Responses to “Bad Donovan Smith Bashing”

  1. LargoBuc Says:

    Get off D Smith’s back! People who have no clue about the Bucs try to paint him a certain way, just like they did pre draft, and must be pretty disapointed he’s not the lazy slug many hoped he would be.
    No Smith wasnt perfect, but what we got out of a rookie, at left tackle, aka the money spot on an oline, was great. Huge upgrade over we had the year before. And as good as Penn has played since getting booted from Tampa, when he was here, his play left alot to be desired in 2013. Smith was a rookie and we have more promise left tackle then we’ve had in a long time.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The guy was a rookie….playing one of the most visible & critical positions on the team….(who ever really sees the guards & center getting beat)

    He did just fine and will improve.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    Some Buc fans just can’t be pleased! Sad!
    The kid did just fine and will continue to improve. ‘Nuff said!

  4. Espo Says:

    An entire article disagreeing with that afternoon talk show golf guy. I like it!

  5. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Agree with everybody that he will improve and I’m not around the team but from the outside he seems like a quiet low key character guy who is also good in the locker room.

    I like the chemistry this team is beginning to develop. Obviously #3 is the main ingredient but we have a lot of other young guys who are good dudes off the field.

    Perhaps we could could trade and return Aquib Talib..we are thin in the defensive backfield…OK snark font off now…what a locker room cancer. Why did Bill Belicheat give up on him? I thought he played well in N.E.

  6. Danati74 Says:

    Not to say we got him in the 2nd round too. If he came out this year he probably would have been a first rounder. In that way we got a steal. He didn’t look too lazy to me. In fact our RB tandem was the best in the NFL, largely due to the good blocking up front.

  7. TheShaz Says:

    I agree! Get off his case. He was a rookie protecting another rookie.

    Jason did indeed run the tables on last year’s draft. Years from now we wil be talking about the 2015 NFL draft as Bucs fans as one of the best in franchise history.

    Jameis – – I’m convinced he is a franchise QB
    Donovan – – Talking heads called him lazy coming out of the draft. I did not see that. Nor did anyone else. Played every snap and was a rookie LT for a rookie QB.
    Marpet – – From Mighty Hobart, gifted athlete, awesome run blocker, getting better week by week in pass blocking.
    Kwon – – Prior to his 4 game suspension, he was fast becoming the defacto star on the defense. Outshining the big $$ guys like McCoy and David

    I was listening to the radio yesterday and sometimes the Big Chihuahua’s ego gets the best of him.

    PENALTIES, if ongoing it is 100% on the coaching staff.
    Donovan Smith was a very solid LT as a rookie covering a rookie QB

  8. buc15 Says:

    The future is bright with Marpet, Smith, & Pamphile. Hopefully we pick up another young prospect to replace Mankins when he retires & we will be set for many years.

  9. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    For a 1st year tackle, he performed better than I expected. Now It’s time to take his game to the next level. That means hitting the gym hard this offseason. Slim down, increase speed and stamina. Call LeCharles Bentley or Tra Thomas and Beast Up.

  10. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    If Logan Mankin decides to retire

    Alex Boone

    Spencer Drango

  11. GerbilsGoneWild Says:

    He’ll improve, but to say he was good would be a stretch. He got whooped countless times both run and pass games.

  12. Pa Privateer Says:

    These people are probably the same idiots who wanted to get rid of Penn. When you have a Left Tackle that works…..leave it alone.

  13. Buc since '74 Says:

    Steve Duemass told Joe on the radio “I can’t believe your that gullible” when Joe talked about a culture change via good coaching that will alleviate penalties. I completely agree with what you said Joe – repeating what coach Smith had said. Steve was basically saying our players are stupid – that’s the reason for leading the league in penalties, as if Lovie had no hand in it. If your parent doesn’t punish you for screwing up, where is the incentive not to screw up? That is a culture change, or mind set. So was Duemass saying that every other team has smarter players and we’re just stuck with stupid players? Whose the dumbass? Stick to your guns Joe. I almost can’t listen to that show because of his egotistical dumbassery.

  14. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    This is the main reason why – we should trade back. This way we can acquire an additional 2nd round pick. We’re not done upgrading this line.

    Improve Depth Chart
    Donovan Smith | Kevin Pamphile
    *Alex Boone | *Spencer Drango
    Joe Hawley | Evan Smith
    Ali Marpet | *Jon Asamoah
    Demar Dotson | Gosder Cherilus

    Note: Falcons released RG Jon Asamoah off injured reserve with an injury settlement.

    Asamoah was placed on injured reserve with a hip injury early in September. Asamoah was never a fit in Kyle Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, but did play well in 15 starts in 2014. Now healthy, Asamoah should latch on with a squad in need of guard help/depth. Should come at a bargain

  15. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I like it Luvmybucs.

    I am all for trading down unless someone Light views as a blue chip freak is available. The only time I really like trading up is for QB – other than that I am always about trading down and stock piling talent because the % of successful 2nd rounders is about the same as 1st rounders from what I’ve read (or extremely close).

    In regards to Smith we should just rejoice we had a solid rookie LT. Rookie LTs typically ALWAYS struggle a lot their first year. Smith has been a lot better than many recent top draft picks at the position. I expect big improvement if he has good work ethic.

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Lord Cornelius

    “I am always about trading down and stock piling talent because the % of successful 2nd rounders is about the same as 1st rounders from what I’ve read (or extremely close)”

    I agree brotha

  17. scott Says:

    year 1 to year 2 should see ahuge improvement

  18. godzilla13 Says:

    The Bucs OL gave up 109 QB hits and 27 QB sacks. That equates to our leader, our franchise QB Jameis Winston, taking a beating 136 times. 136 times! How long will it be before he is in an ICU or bound to a wheelchair? Now, I don’t have the breakdown on how many of those hits were the fault of Donovan Smith but I know most of the damage came from our tackle positions and that he and RT Gosder Cheerios were responsible for the lions share. Donovan Smith is a beast in the run game, a true mauler, road grater and pile driver. He just needs to work on protecting our most valuable asset. The penalties are not just penalties. Remember the game on the first play Donovan was called for holding after Vincent Jackson completed a 35 yard pass play giving the Bucs the ball deep in the opponents territory. It was a 50 yard turnaround and killed the teams momentum. Yes, he is a rookie which gives him a pass this year but next year I want to see Donovan lose weight and is in shape which in turn should help in his speed and agility.

  19. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    @LordC and Luvmybucs

    No less an authority than the great Bobby Beathard agrees with both of you.
    His philosophy was always trade down if you could stockpile more choices.
    That 50-50 rate of success with top draft picks made him believe you should try and double your chances of at least getting one really good player.

    HIs teams reached 7 SB’s and won 4 of them. He always tried to go for multiple picks not necessarily the highest one….

    Although I think we all agree if a generational QB is on the board you got to go get him. Outside of that…let’s get a bunch of picks…we have MG8 in the mix to add to our stash.

  20. ColoradoBuc Says:

    D. Smith not a problem. Drop it.

  21. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    (True Pioneers of the Game)
    • Bill Nunn
    • Gil Brandt
    • Lloyd C. A. “Judge” Wells
    • Joel Buchsbaum
    Bobby Beathard
    • Bill Polian

  22. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    No prob trading down unless someone truly elite dropped to 9. Like Ramsey.

    Smith was good for a rookie. He still has a lot to learn, especially controlling the speedy DEs, but, I’m happy. LT isn’t exactly an easy position to walk into.

  23. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    An impressive list for sure! Wouldn’t it be great if 20 years from now people were talking about Licht being that elite!!

  24. NewTampaChris Says:

    Most people don’t watch game film and don’t focus on the performance of individual O-linemen. So when your city’s afternoon sports talk host bashes the guy, that’s where the majority of people will take their cues.

  25. Buccaneers Says:

    I don’t care how many pentaltys other players had. Donavon had way too many. But its OK, he’s a rookie and i expect improvement in that area. The guy is a beast of a lineman and I see pro bowl in his future.

    As a whole our O-Line was a joy to watch last year. They were a brut physical force. The most physically imposing line I have ever seen for the Bucs. The best example was the Eagles game. We basically pounded their D-Line into the dirt that game. I could watch that game on an endless loop.

  26. Buccaneers Says:

    Saying you want the Bucs to trade down is a bit silly. Most every team in the draft would love to trade their pick to acquire extra picks.

    Who is supposed to be available at pick #9 that another team is going to want that badly. I saw a mock saying the Bucs are pegged at getting Eli Apple. Who is going to hand over extra draft picks to the Bucs to get Apple? And if Apple is that valuable shouldn’t we consider drafting him? If not Apple then who is another team handing out their draft picks to get?

    Trading down as an option made sense last year because top QBs were available at our pick and I know other teams had interest and probably made offers…………… Wishing for the Bucs to trade down in the draft and it being a realistic opportunity are completely different. Now if they wanna trade up that’s different.

  27. OneLove Says:

    Donovan Smith is a BEAST O lineman! The only person he hurts is Joe as he won’t be able to write any more articles about the success of Donald Penn!!

  28. Buccaneers Says:

    I actually won’t mind to see the Bucs trade up. It probably means they are certain about the talent they are trading for………. They were right with Marpet!!!!!!!!!

  29. K2 Says:

    Played solid…= good player

  30. cover deuce Says:

    Still think he’s a better fit on the right side, but he did handle the left side pretty admirably for a rookie.

  31. TheAman Says:

    Why did you only use penalty numbers to illustrate whether he was good or not? Feels like that would be secondary to how many sacks he gave up, or how many times his man beat him.