Making Of An Offensive Line

February 6th, 2016
Bucs RG Ali Marpet and the offensive line surpassed just about all expectations this season.

Ali Marpet and the offensive line surpassed just about all expectations.

Arguably the most amazing thing about the Bucs this past year wasn’t the rise of America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston.

No, it wasn’t even Doug Martin’s Lazarus-like rise from the dead.

It was the offensive line.

Last summer, if Joe would have tried to front that the offensive line would be the strongest unit on the team, you would have had Joe drug tested.

Yet that same line became the team backbone — threaded together with two rookies (one, a Division-III guy) and two dudes the Bucs didn’t even have on the roster when training camp opened.

That alone is a sensational feat.

And leave it to multimedia maven Scott Smith of to break it down with exhaustive research.

The Buccaneers got poor results up front on offense in 2014, during a 2-14 campaign that disappointed in many ways. Tampa Bay finished 30th in yards per game and 29th in points per game and never found sustained success on the ground or through the air. Offensive linemen don’t generate many individual statistics but they are often judged by rushing yards per game and per carry, and by how often their quarterbacks go down. The 2014 Bucs ranked 29th in rushing yards per game, 24th in yards per carry and 27th in sacks per pass play.

Obviously, that made the O-Line a priority during the months between the final snap of 2014 and kickoff in the 2015 opener. That said, losing your best returning lineman to injury in the preseason, inserting two rookies into the starting five and giving extensive playing time to two blockers added in August and September…well, on paper that doesn’t look like a cure for what ailed the ’14 Bucs. Turns out, it was. It didn’t hurt that Mankins, the one constant at left guard, contributed another Pro Bowl effort.

With second-rounders Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet starting on opening day and with valuable free agent finds Gosder Cherilus and Joe Hawley stepping in, the 2015 Buccaneers produced outstanding results up front, even without starting right tackle Demar Dotson. Take the three stat categories highlighted earlier: Tampa Bay ranked fifth in rushing yards per game, second in yards per carry and eighth in sacks allowed per pass play. That is, simply, a massive improvement.

In the piece, there are all sorts of telling graphics, and video and analysis from former Bucs tight and current BSPN analyst Anthony Becht.

It’s a well-done package on how the front line exceeded just about everyone’s expectations.

10 Responses to “Making Of An Offensive Line”

  1. tmaxcon Says:

    it’s amazing what a competent offensive coordinator can accomplish. I was ready to run Warhop out of town after his first year glad he helped with the turn around. Koetter is used to bad offensive lines so his scheme and play calling also helps a bit but what a turnaround.

  2. Bill Byrne Says:

    Excellent Joe…..Thanks!!!

  3. gotbbucs Says:

    Sign Alex Mack if he opts out of his Browns contract.

  4. LargoBuc Says:

    Koetter deserves alot of credit. Keep Hawley in town no matter what. Stability at center is hard to find.

  5. MadMax Says:

    I was all over it, begging to draft Marpet, the first or maybe 2nd to even mention him. Now I want Billings! I’d love Ramsey, but trenches baby! And he will be there when we pick.

  6. @FamousKoetterBroy34 Says:

    Sorry Joe but I do believe u were angered the Bucs drafted a D3 guard when an SEC best player available guard was there. And what’s the other guys name? I don’t even know. But Ali marpet—LOVED it the moment I heard the bucs have traded up. Wasn’t a doubt in my mind. HEART propels him to success.

    The guy Joe publicly liked in that third round range was A.J. Cann, who went in the third round to the Jaguars. He made 13 starts for their resurgent offense and he got good reviews. Joe never was “angered” by the Marpet pick, only found it very risky.–Joe

  7. Destinjohnny Says:

    Still recovering from the personal years of gruden:allen
    And mark Dominick.
    One day owners will realize that the personal and scouting depts
    Are the most important part of an orginization.
    Give any coach in the nfl talent they win.
    Look at nick at bama every year number 1 class and they win a title every other year basically.
    Still need a left tackle and a guard and a wide out on offense
    Need de corners and safeties
    We are 3 great drafts and two or 3 good free agent signing away for being a year in year out playoff team

  8. Bo Says:

    Joe… Your the man, you called Marpet a great pick from day one! If this website stuff doesn’t work out you could always be an NFL GM!

  9. bucs4life86 Says:

    Ali marpet is the man, he brings much needed attitude to this soft @ss team, we need more of that. I see a pro bowl in the future for that young man.

  10. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Denver showed everyone how to beat the Panthers, all it takes is a good pass rush, and corners who can play man coverage effectively.

    Cam Newton chickened out, when it came time to try and recover his own fumble.