Licht: Smith “Improved Dramatically”

September 1st, 2016

Evan Diedrich SmithGeneral manager Jason Licht’s greatest resurrection project keeps reaching new heights — or depths.

Joe is talking about the glorious Tampa Bay offensive line.

In 2014, Licht came to Tampa and launched good football players like Jeremy Zuttah and Donald Penn, who remain quality starters in the NFL. Then he misfired and miscalculated on guards like Jamon Meredith, Oneil Cousins, Garrett Gilkey and Carl Nicks. And he also appeared to have gone wrong on center Evan Dietrich-Smith.

But then Licht made move and after move and transformed the O-line into a shining beacon of pride for every Bucs fan. What a unit that was in 2015, and it appears now to be as deep as ever.

Perhaps one of the most amazing and telling stories on the O-line is that of Evan Smith, who lost the “Dietrich” from his name and also shed his lousy play.

Smith was dreadful in 2014, and then lost his starting job to street free agent Joe Hawley last year. But Smith stepped up big time replacing Ali Marpet for 3 1/2 games at right guard and Smith has played well at center and at guard this preseason.

On the Bucs-Redskins broadcast last night, Licht said Smith has “improved dramatically” since he became a Buccaneer.

That was telling on many levels. First, Smith isn’t starting, so it sheds light on the great depth the Bucs along the line. It also speaks well for offensive line coach George Warhop, who has developed rookies and veterans.

Plus, it’s pretty cool for Licht to essentially say that a guy who was a disappointment when he arrived as a costly free agent starting center with a Packers Super Bowl ring has revived and enhanced expectations.

20 Responses to “Licht: Smith “Improved Dramatically””

  1. salish_seamonster Says:

    Then he misfired and miscalculated on guards like Jamon Meredith, Oneil Cousins, Garrett Gilkey and Carl Nicks.

    Let’s be honest. Jamon Meredith and Oneil Cousins were only intended to be 2nd teamers at best, and they were all the market was offering in the budget bin. Licht didn’t think he was building an O-line with those 2. The idiots love to imagine that Cousins was some kind of high profile signing that busted, when the truth is he was a low-wage stop-gap. They got about what they bargained for and paid for with him, and he was gone after a year.

    Garrett Gilkey was a rookie or first year UDFA camp body with no expectations.

    Carl Nicks failed because of injury, and was a rockstar signing, not one of Licht’s.

    So your statement that he “misfired and miscalculated” is factually incorrect and kinda BS.
    First, Cousins was signed to START at right guard. Why must you continually fabricate? Second, Licht miscalculated on Nicks as it appeared the team was relying on his return. Additionally, Meredith was assessed by the organization and kept. But he wasn’t any good. Gilkey was hand-delivered to Tampa by Licht and George Warhop, who Gilkey played for in Cleveland. –Joe

  2. Dewey Selmon Says:

    I like Hawley, he bring some attitude to the line. But we all know depth is better than before. Protecting Jameis has got to be atop priority.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    Careful not to be too critical of Licht Joe. He can do no wrong in some people’s eyes.
    Just the fact that he jettisoned Penn and Zuttah was stupid enough. There were a LOT of people who just wanted to clean house for draft picks and bodies that year. Oh wait, that was Lovie’s fault!
    Revisionist history anyone?
    Licht still has a lot to prove. We haven’t played a single meaningful game under the new “improved” regime.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Then he misfired and miscalculated on guards like Jamon Meredith, Oneil Cousins, Garrett Gilkey and Carl Nicks.

    Joe… could you miss the super talented Anthony Collins?

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Oh….that’s right…..he’s a tackle misfire….

  6. salish_seamonster Says:

    All of the guards you mentioned were bargain bin signings, backups, fill-in, placeholders, one-year starters at best. It was a rebuilding year and they were short on bodies. Lovie had roster control. FACT. So he was responsible for cutting Zuttah and Penn. Joe is incorrect to characterize Cousins or Meredith as guys they thought would be solutions at the position.

  7. JonBuc Says:

    Once Smith dropped his maiden name…he really improved. The Zuttah trade still stings a bit…

  8. salish_seamonster Says:

    Blocked IP for disagreeing. Petty, unprofessional, and childish. Way to go Joe!

  9. DB55 Says:

    Zuttah, Penn, Revis, Barron, Foster, Talib, Blount, Bennett.

    2pro bowls
    3 championships
    4 playoff appearances
    8 starters

    We can now add Banks to the list of players that weren’t good enough for the Bucs.

  10. BucFan20 Says:

    But if I remember , It was Warhop’s fault he regressed? Most fans including myself wanted him gone. Guess we were wrong?

  11. Brian Says:

    Unprofessional is an understatement.

  12. tmaxcon Says:


    damn DB that’s a butt-load of talent let out the door during the failed choir boy experiment. managing personalities / character is a very important aspect of the game when dealing with highly paid athletes from different backgrounds.

  13. DB55 Says:


    That is the best possible way to phrase it. Can we add Aguayo and ASJ to the list too? According to some folks 2 weeks ago they should both have been cut.

  14. tmaxcon Says:


    wait until the ax falls. I am no ASJ fan but he needs to do it this year. aguayo is going to make a lot of people eat sh!t sandwiches by seasons end. speaking of axes I believe there will be 2 major surprises that ruffles the licht haters and some other types. I don’t agree with all of licht’s moves but no doubt the man has a big brass pair!

  15. pick6 Says:

    there were times in 2014 where i just could not believe I was watching a veteran NFL center. I’m no expert on O-line play, but it doesn’t take much to spot a late or weak snap. I could not understand a superbowl winning center in his prime years serially botching one of the most important and notable jobs that a center has.

  16. Zod Says:

    That picture kills me everytime☠

  17. Dooshlarue Says:

    That picture says:

    I absolutely love the smell of my own farts.

  18. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Licht gets a complete and total pass for his first season. Period. He was brought into a nearly impossible situation on very short notice, plus he was being told who to sign and what to do in that first season by Loser Lovie. He didn’t start gaining some measure of independence and trust within the organization until his second year and he began to make the most of it when he did.

    His first-year mistakes are 100% on Dominik’s pathetic legacy as well as Loser Lovie’s incompetent meddling. The NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league and by that standard Licht is king of the hill at One Buc Place. End of story (at least for any “fan” with eyes to see and a non-biased attitude).

  19. Bob in Valrico Says:

    My take on Smith is that he is better at being a standup blocker than center.

  20. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    Doug Martin is going to run wild again this season. A lot of focus on the WRs and Jameis, but this offense is going to chew ip yards on the ground with ease against weaker front sevens.