March 11th, 2016
Stat geeks despise J.R. Sweezy; football people love him.

Stat geeks despise J.R. Sweezy; football people love him.

Joe found it more than amusing that the calculator crowd over at Pro Football Focus went bananas on social media when the Bucs inked guard J.R. Sweezy on Wednesday.

Nevermind this is the same outfit that boasted Anthony Collins was a steal of a free agent signing and that E.J. Biggers was, at worst, Aqib Talib’s equal, among other hallucinations they sell concocted from their Ouija boards.

(One spreadsheeter tried to defend his analysis of Collins, a true stiff, saying he was not a good fit in the Bucs’ “technique.” Hell, he’s no fit in an NFL technique — he hasn’t been employed since the Bucs told him to go home!)

Bill Barnwell is a stats guy, too, though he comes from a more credible thinktank, Football Outsiders. Typing for BSPN, Barnwell attempts to take a balanced look at Sweezy and the Bucs.

Watch the Seahawks on tape as a layman and Sweezy looks closer to being a replacement-level lineman than he does somebody worth the five-year, $32.5-million deal he just received from the Bucs. It’s easier to see flaws in pass blocking than run blocking, and Sweezy hasn’t been a great pass-blocker in Seattle. At his worst — the playoff loss to the Panthers being a good example — Sweezy and the interior of Seattle’s offensive line in general would be an enormous liability in pass protection.

And yet, it’s fair to say that the NFL disagrees. There was reportedly plenty of interest in Sweezy around the league, including from the Seahawks, whom the Buccaneers had to outbid for his services. When you think about how the Seattle rushing game barely skipped a beat with Marshawn Lynch out of the lineup, you have to give Sweezy some of the credit. He’s a pretty good run-blocker. And while that doesn’t justify giving him $14.5 million guaranteed, it helps explain — although again, not necessarily justify — what otherwise looked like a bizarrely aggressive decision by a team that often makes mistakes in free agency.

But Barnwell, true to his spreadsheet roots, gives the Bucs a C- for the signing.

Bottom line: Joe trusts Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht, specifically when it comes to offensive linemen. Licht was an offensive lineman himself. And no one — and Joe means no one — thought the Bucs would have a top-tier line last year with two rookies (one from Division-III) and two guys pulled off the scrap heap in August and September all starting. Yet the Bucs allowed the fourth fewest sacks blocking for a 1,400-yard rusher and a rookie quarterback.

That should tell everyone, layman or football savant, that Licht knows what he is doing with the offensive line.

15 Responses to “PFF Vs. The NFL”

  1. thunderchunkyPA Says:

    You said it Joe, with Coach Warhop, is a hell of a coach. Last season 2 rookies starting, and 2 guys starting who were not with the team at OTA’s and mini camps, and made this O line the best it has been here in a long time.

  2. BoJim Says:

    Having a formidable offensive line would be a good thing. I want the NFL to see that every frickin week.

  3. Espo Says:

    You wrapped up your anti stat article with a stat to put stat geeks in their stat holes! Bravo!

  4. MarineBucsFan Says:

    Do we have any scheduled visits?

  5. mike Says:

    Barnwell loves the Bucs. He is the only national guy that knows whats going on in Tampa and one of the few national guys i read.

  6. MarineBucsFan Says:

    I guess I will google some Barnwell articles then. Thanks

  7. Big Marlon B Says:

    @ Joe

    How can you say how bad Anthony Collins was in one breath, and in the next say that you trust Licht’s evaluation of O linemen? Btw I’m not knocking Licht, that just seems strange. His very first O line acquisition was a colossal failure, one of the worst FA signings in this team’s history.

  8. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Yo Sweezy, why you where your pants like that?

  9. BigHogHaynes Says:

    @Big Marion: They ( Licth Lovers) will only blame it on LOVIE!!

  10. Dave Says:

    That’s not just The GM.
    The few sacks are also due to Dirks play calling and JW maturing.

  11. Erik with Clean Athletics Says:

    Has everyone watched this breakdown by coach Tom Cable? I’m really psyched to get this guy. Great pickup, IMO. He’s a Beast.

  12. James Walker Says:

    Did they graded Marpet graded as a poor draft pick as well?

  13. Espo Says:



    Wow Mike from Breaking Bad really bulked up since getting killed off the show. I’m glad he approves of our new guard. I’m really worried though he’ll be upset he changed teams.

  14. Bill Says:

    PFF had Collins as the 26th best graded OT in 2013, and that was the best grade of his career. Not exactly a huge endorsement of Collins from PFF. If the prevailing minds thought he was an emerging talent picked up at the relatively low price of 6M annually, I suppose you could call it a good ‘value’. In hindsight, obviously not.

    The comparison of Biggers to Talib is strange. Talib graded at ‘positive’ 4.3, 10.0, 10.3, 6.5, in his first 4 years in Tampa. Biggers graded at -3.2, and -10.2, then had a standout year after Talib was traded @ +7.2, which was followed by 3 more terrible grades.

    Both scenarios show that bad players can have good years, and this is not a groundbreaking thought. I remember posters on this board being optimistic about Biggers because he did, in fact, play well that year. But given the consistency of Talib and the ‘flash in the pan’ nature of Biggers 2012 year, it’d be a stretch to ‘confidently’ say Biggers could replace Talib.

  15. Mike Johnson Says:

    Bucs truly overpaid for Sweezy. But then again, Whats new?