“We Struggled Through It”

June 7th, 2016
Guard Ali Marpet speaks

Guard Ali Marpet speaks

Is it reasonable to expect a first-year NFL player to make a massive leap in his second season?

The Bucs would be one scary-good football team if that holds true in 2016, given all their rookies that contributed last year.

There’s always a lot of buzz about how players enjoy their greatest development from Year 1 to Year 2 in the league. The Bucs’ stud young offensive linemen, Ali Marpet and Donovan Smith, might be primed to join that club.

Per Marpet’s comments on the Buccaneers Radio Network late last year, he and Smith didn’t have it easy when it came to learning the offense.

“We struggled through it. It’s lucky that we did, because we’re starting to get it down now [in mid-December],” Marpet said.

Joe admits to salivating. Smith and Marpet did damn good jobs for guys who “struggled” and were beginning to get a good feel in December. That sure bodes well for 2016.

Marpet went on to say center Joe Hawley was a such an impressive communicator on the line, it kept Marpet focused and helped him adjust.

14 Responses to ““We Struggled Through It””

  1. Bucnut2 Says:

    Great stuff. I really like our o-line regardless of what the spreadsheeters say.

  2. BigHogHaynes Says:

    The O-Line should be a strength this season, with the steady progression of Smith & Marpet, Hawley’s a vet, Sweeney’s a vet, if we can get one of those rookies to take the right tackle job in training camp, this line could be a Punishing Factor for years to come!

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    I’m as optimistic as anyone about 2016 Joe, but these anticipated “massive leaps” in productivity are getting a tad over-the-top. I keep seeing that Jameis is poised, Marpet is poised as is Donovan Smith. The list goes on and on, with Kenny Bell and Mike Evans hopefully catching everything thrown their way, and oh can’t forget ASJ’s rebound. And that’s just on the offensive side of the football.

    On the defensive side everyone seems to expect that CBs Verner and Banks are going to show massive improvement over last year … for starters. Add in that we’ll have at least 2 rookies in starting slots (maybe more) plus several key players returning from injury. Throw in a very tough schedule and HC Koetter has a lot on his plate. As I said, I’m optimistic, but don’t want to see fans and writers turn on Coach if the Bucs don’t win handily right out of the gate. Chemistry takes time to develop in my experience, and a lot of new pieces need to fit together.

  4. DB55 Says:

    It’s a good day to practice outdoors today. The whole weather is an advantage thing …

  5. Wombat Says:

    Donovan Smith with all his apparent short comings seems to be WAY better than Kenyatta Walker was… Still early, but the guy seems to be playing like a vet and dosen’t ever seem to get flustered. Both guys have maturity beyond their years, and that seems to be a trait developing under GM Licht with the players we have drafted during his tenure.

  6. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Projected Depth
    LT Donovan Smith | Kevin Pamphile
    LG J.R. Sweezy | Ben Gottschalk
    C Joe Hawley | Evan Smith
    RG Ali Marpet | Caleb Benenoch
    RT Demar Dotson | Gosder Cherilus

    Practice Squad
    61 Josh Allen C (24) 6-3 315 1 Louisiana Monroe
    60 Dominique Robertson OG (21) 6-5 324 R West Georgia
    72 Garrett Gilkey OG (25) 6-6 315 4 Chadron State

    Tha Youngstas’
    74 Caleb Benenoch OT (21) 6-5 305 R UCLA
    76 Donovan Smith OT (22) 6-6 338 2 Penn State
    74 Ali Marpet OG (23) 6-4 307 2 Hobart
    72 Ben Gottschalk C (24) 6-5 293 1 SMU
    64 Kevin Pamphile OT (25) 6-5 310 3 Purdue

    Tha Vets
    64 J.R. Sweezy G (27) 6-5 298 5 NC State
    68 Joe Hawley C (27) 6-3 302 7 UNLV
    62 Evan Smith C (29) 6-2 308 7 Idaho State
    69 Demar Dotson OT (30) 6-9 315 8 Southern Mississippi
    78 Gosder Cherilus OT (31) 6-7 316 9 Boston College

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    Can someone point to a more talented, deeper OL group in Bucs history?

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    2008 is the only one – that comes remotely close

    LT Donald Penn | Anthony Davis
    LG Arron Sears | Jeremy Zuttah
    C Jeff Faine | —
    RG Davin Joseph | Sean Mahan
    RT Jeremy Trueblood | James Lee

    Side Bar: One of the saddest things in Buccaneer History.
    Was to see Arron Sears – Robbed of his mental faculties.
    Too young & Talented

  9. Cobraboy Says:


    Aaron Sears. What a sad case…

    I liked Trueblood, but wasn’t he like Mr. Inconsistent? Mr. Illegal Procedure? Most Buc fans ran him out of town on a rail…

  10. TheShaz Says:

    I think there might be a temporary drop off on the O-line. They did loose their veteran leader and I have not seen who on the OL is picking up the slack.

    I do like the cross training along the line, when the injury bug hits, and it will. It will negate a big drop off in performance.

    Even with a small temporary drop off to start the season, I still think O-Line is one of the strengths on the team. I just want to see the penalties go away. Most of the hits Jameis took last year was on him being a rookie and overthinking. As Jameis gets better the O-line and their pass protection gets better and vice versa.

  11. Evo Says:

    I always thought the biggest jump was from year 2 to year 3.

  12. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I became a huge Mongo fan during last year’s pre-season game against the Bengals. Geno was feeling him out,Mongo was holding is own. Geno decided to Bull Rush with everything he had on one particular play. He collided into Mongo like a sumo wrestler,Mongo’s slid back a step or two before his strength took hold. He stood Geno str8 on that play until JW released the ball. I was d@$! this boy raw as hell.

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    Its hard to believe that OLine was such a concern/question mark just one year ago at this time. Between Licht finding talent and Koetter/Warhop coaching them up – the turnaround from bad Oline to pretty good Oline in just a few months time is rather astonishing.

    If the the same transformation happens on the other side of the ball and the DLine changes from inadequate to pretty good this year – this team is on its way to great things!!


  14. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I concur Pick.