Tribal Comedy

July 15th, 2016
The PFF tribe has become football's version of "The Simpsons."

The PFF tribe has become football’s version of “The Simpsons.”

It has reached the point where Joe doesn’t know how to classify the PFF tribe.

Either they have become a parody site like “The Onion,” or it’s a Ponzei scheme wrapped in make-believe football data. Joe has about hit his limit with their last round of grades and rankings — this one about offensive lines.

Joe could smell this coming. The PFF tribe, for some unknown reason, has had their panties bunched up about the Bucs’ offensive line for months. They hate the guys Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht drafted; they really loathe Licht’s big free agent signing on the line, and they love a guy who lost his starting job last year.

So, armed with that information, it doesn’t surprise Joe one iota why the tribe has the Bucs listed among the worst offensive lines, types Nathan Jahnke.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected starters: LT Donovan Smith, LG J.R. Sweezy, C Joe Hawley, RG Ali Marpet, RT Demar Dotson

Roster depth: Evan Smith, Gosder Cherilus, Kevin Pamphile

Key stat: Demar Dotson recorded a pass-blocking grade of 86.4 last season, the highest mark for a right tackle.

On the bright side for Tampa Bay, Ali Marpet looked like an average NFL starter as a second-round rookie, which is impressive, and Demar Dotson looked like his old self on a small sample size after missing most of the 2015 season. The Bucs’ line will still likely look worse in 2016 than it did in 2015, though, thanks to the retirement of Logan Mankins—and the fact that his replacement, J.R. Sweezy, is not close to the same player as his predecessor.

Someone is going to have to sit down with Joe and explain in great detail how in the hell an offensive line that had the fourth-fewest sacks in the NFL blocking for a rookie quarterback and opening holes for a rushing attack that had the fifth-best yards-per-carry average can be this bad. Anyone want take a stab at that one? Anyone? Bueller?

If the Bucs really was that lousy, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, would have been maimed last year and no way in hell Doug Martin would have rushed for 1,402 yards. That’s just common sense.

Then again, in college, Joe learned the computer term “GIGO,” an acronym for “garbage in; garbage out.” So the lesson today boys and girls is that if you pump s(p)it into any program, that’s just what you will receive.

Recently, Joe talked to an NFL executive and the subject turned to the PFF tribe and their offensive line grades. The executive howled in horror what a s(p)itshow that is, as in leaning back in his chair, throwing his hands in the air and his voiced raised quite a few decibels. This NFL source wailed about how the PFF tribe neither has a clue about blocking maneuvers and blocking assignments,  nor any concept of what they are watching on tape when it comes to offensive lines.

And these clowns think the line will get worse??? Like two rookies won’t improve? Like cohesion won’t be better? Really?

The Bucs’ offensive line will not make anyone forget the 1970s Raiders front line, but they are not this bad. No sir. Just the results from last year should tip off any sober person. Or at least someone who doesn’t pick their nose while waiting for the spreadsheet to print out.

23 Responses to “Tribal Comedy”

  1. gotbbucs Says:

    It’s impossible for these guys to break down offensive line play without actually having the playbook in front of them and the list of the actual line calls being made. Its pointless to even worry about what these guys have to say on the subject.
    That said, they still have a ways to go before they can be considered one of the better o-lines in the league.

  2. Wombat Says:

    Numbers crunchers can do what they do, but the O-line is just that. It is a collective. Maybe one player is helping block another stud defensive guy from getting to the QB. Meanwhile his player he was supposed to block gets the sack? Looks bad on the guy double teaming the stud, as his block was not picked up by the RB.
    My point is it’s a line, it’s a collective and should be judged accordingly. We had the #2 rusher, the #5 ranked offense and the #11 ranked passing yds from our passer. All with two rookies, a guy one yr from retirement and a guy on the corner who was plucked off the street.
    In Licht we trust….

  3. Pickgrin Says:

    Last year’s Oline was a pleasant surprise. Not that they were so good – but since the expectations were so low coming in – they looked OK and played pretty respectably as a unit. Did a # of good things as the stats Joe cited show.

    I feel good about our line’s run blocking moving forward. We’ve got some maulers. Pass protection is still a concern though as Winston took waaaaaay too many hits last year despite the low sack total.

    Give Winston a clean pocket – and he will carve up an opposing defense with the weapons we have.

  4. Lord Cornelius Says:

    These guys need to watch tape from 2014 vs 2015. It was night and freaking day man. 2014 actually passed the eye test of a horrible line. 2015 I recall a lot of deep drops with Winston having time to go through progressions weekly; and holes for Martin when he or our other RBs typically were hit behind the LOS in 2014. If we are the 27th best o line then 2014 had to be the worst in the history of the league or something which it wasn’t

  5. Buccfan37 Says:

    The more you list what PFF thinks the funnier it gets.

  6. Bucsfanman Says:

    I’m with a lot of you on this one. This OL was a pleasant surprise. Maybe it was because of such low expectations, maybe not. There’s room to improve and there’s no reason not to believe that they will do just that.
    I really don’t pay much attention to PFF anyway so, whatever.

  7. D-Rome Says:

    I thought Marpet’s play was above average. I don’t have the numbers in front of me.

    I don’t understand this idea certain people put out there that offensive linemen don’t get better as their career progresses. If that was true then all pro-bowl o-linemen would be pro-bowlers as rookies.

    I like PFF but it’s absurd the Titan’s offensive line would be ranked higher than the Bucs.

  8. SCBucsFan Says:

    The line that got supposedly quick-footed Mariota killed is ranked higher than the Bucs’… Not much higher, granted, but still.

  9. DB55 Says:

    Anyone want take a stab at that one? Anyone? Bueller?
    This should come as no surprise but I agree with PFF. I wonder if you guys actually watch tape. Winston had few sacks bc he got rid of the ball sometimes fumbling it backwards bc he had no time to throw. St. Louis game would be a great example. After 6 straight runs, gee I wonder why? The 7th play a pass play led to Winston getting pile drived into the dirt by Mr. Donald. It took Donald 2 seconds or less to get to the qb. The other pass plays didn’t fair much better until the game was out of reach. Winston was playing scared after the first play, scared of being killed or maimed. Can’t blame him.

    Let not forget JW had his ankles turned in the Preseason and played hurt (imo) the whole year. You can see him limping in the St. Louis game as well.

    As for Martin gaining 1400 yards I’d say at least 700 of those yards were yac and Martin squeezing through the tiniest of holes for positive yards. Or simply breaking people’s ankles behind the LOS (see jags game). Or stiff arming Aaron Donald 3 yards behind the LOS and still racking up ten yards for a first down.

    Dotson has been and continues to be our best lineman. D. Smith second best bc of his outstanding run blocking but Mankins was a liability in pass block plus he had a lot of penalties.

    Imo Winston protected the oline not vice versa especially the side with Marpet and Cherilus which were terrible. Marpet is good on the run but needs to improve pass blocking. Cherilus is just garbage, of course Lovie liked him.

    Can they improve sure but the oline has been atrocious the last 2 seasons as a whole.

  10. DB55 Says:

    Joe has written several articles saying that although Winston had the 4th fewest sacks he had the highest or second highest amount of hits put on him. If I recall correctly there was a correlation between Winston and Luck, something about those hits adding up and sidelining your qb. So I’m surprised this data comes as a surprise to many.

  11. D-Rome Says:

    That is a fabulous response, DB55. That being said, I do remember many plays where the offensive line protected Jameis very well compared to protecting McCown and Glennon the year prior. Still, I think when you consider the entire scope of the season your points are valid.

  12. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    They clearly think Logan Mankins was doing all the work last year.

    I see their point about Sweezy. Not only is he new at the position, but he is a Jason Licht free agent, and we just don’t know how that will work out.

    That said, I believe LT Donovan Smith, C Joe Hawley, and RG Ali Marpet are top of the line.

    RT Demar Dotson is on his way out, unless he can really step up. At his age? Unless he plays so well they cannot cut him, he’ll be gone next year (or depth).

    I’m hoping Jason Licht scores on Sweezy, since he knows OL so well (Licht).

  13. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    On the other side…don’t be surprised if George Johnson shows some fire this year, even as a backup.

  14. DB55 Says:


    I wasn’t expecting that response from anyone, thank you.

  15. America's Commenter Says:

    While the PFF crowd’s statistical analysis is usually terribly incomplete and skewed to match an opinion, I think it’s safe to say the Bucs can expect an overall decline in offensive line play. The retirement of Logan Mankins is a tremendous loss, not only in his level of play, but in his leadership and day-to-day stability for the younger guys. Who knows how Ali Marpet and Donovan Smith will hold up without Mankins there?

    Sweezy is not in the same league as Mankins, as a player or as a leader. Dotson and Cherilus are both a year older and on the wrong side of 30. There could be significant dropoffs in performance at every position on the line.

    Not to mention that last year’s performance was a pleasant surprise. A statistician would say they are due to regress to the mean.

  16. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “That is a fabulous response, DB55. That being said, I do remember many plays where the offensive line protected Jameis very well compared to protecting McCown and Glennon the year prior”

    Agree with this. DB55 – my eye test and yours are pretty different I guess. I just think back to preseason the year before. That line play was some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Maybe 2014 being so bad is why 2015 didn’t look so terrible to me.

    Koetter’s offense has a decent amount of long developing plays as he likes play action & taking shots (along with the screen game and heavy run packages). Winston completed a lot of deep passes and was ranked as one of the better QBs at doing this. That doesn’t happen without decent or good line play in my opinion. That doesn’t happen with a bottom 5 offensive line. The Bucs didn’t run a dink and dunk Patriots style quick passing offense as you’re alluding to.

    My eye test told me the Bucs O-line was average. Middle of the pact. Not great or very good but no where near worst in the league. And they did that with 2 rookies starting. Mankins was not playing at an elite level as far as I saw. They grade Sweezy terribly but a lot of teams wanted him. We have good depth in Pamphile, Evan Smith, & a few others along with the guy we drafted who can play multiple positions. We’ll see.

  17. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Not to mention that last year’s performance was a pleasant surprise. A statistician would say they are due to regress to the mean.”

    2/5 of the line should improve significantly in Marpet & Smith if you go by historical trends. Rookie o-lineman typically don’t do well and do a lot better in years 2 / 3 / onward. Marpet has physical freak potential all pro type capability if he can put it all together imo.

  18. DB55 Says:

    Lord C

    No doubt the 14 line was horrendous. As for 15, consider that koetter brought in 2 tackles and max protection on many of those deep passes. He knew he could get it done without it. And they still lined up wrong many times.

    I don’t think you saw 4 or 5 WR sets and 4 seconds to look and pass.

  19. Buccfan37 Says:

    DB55… I forgot about Winston limping last year. That was concerning yet he played through it. Didn’t someone say that is a recurring injury from his past? That makes me question how stable that ankle is going forward.

  20. DB55 Says:

    He’s 21-22 he’ll be fine. Mind over matter. Wish we had more “leaders” like that. Ijs

  21. Lord Cornelius Says:

    DB55 you’re right about the max protection. We used that a lot against Jville to force our run game down their throat and I remember thinking “oh this is what a good offensive coordinator can make happen”

    Its pretty rare in general for a team to run a 4-5 WR set and have 4 full seconds to throw.

    But in the end I felt there were a good amount of standard protection pass plays that had fine protection from our 5 guys. They seemed pretty average compared to other O-lines I watched in other games. We’ll see though man I’m just trying to stay optimistic. Go bucs!

  22. loggedontosay Says:

    Someone is going to have to sit down with Joe and explain in great detail how in the hell an offensive line that had the fourth-fewest sacks in the NFL blocking for a rookie quarterback and opening holes for a rushing attack that had the fifth-best yards-per-carry average can be this bad.

    Jameis helped the O-line a lot. The majority of jameis’ overthrows was because he was getting rid of the ball before he got absolutely killed. The line was not hold up under elite pressure.

  23. Big Irish Says:

    MJD won a rushing title when DK was the OC in JAX.
    When Double Duece wins the rushing title in 2017 behind this Bucs O line with Dirk calling the shots, the PFF tribe will need to close up shop.