Buccaneers Tackle Torching At NFL.com

May 18th, 2017

Kicked again

It seems one of the good folks at NFL.com thinks general manager Jason Licht is a moron and Dirk Koetter is right behind him.

No, Joe’s not being harsh or dramatic.

What else can Joe call it when an analyst says the Bucs’ offensive tackles are a second-rate duo that “quietly sunk” the offense last season — and they weren’t replaced.

That’s as good as calling the GM an idiot for not addressing a glaring need in the offseason.

Joe’s referring to Gregg Rosenthal, the respected Around The NFL editor who penned the following in a fresh look at the Tampa Bay.

The Bucs’ best hope for offensive line improvement comes from Ali Marpet transitioning to center with the healthy return of J.R. Sweezy. This is an average tackle combination at best and a group that quietly sunk this offense for much of last season.

Clearly, Rosenthal has been reading too many Pro Football Focus bad grades of Donovan Smith rather than peddling in the world of reality.

Or perhaps Rosenthal was a huge Russell Shepard fan, or a regular offseason guest of the Vero Beach Ramada Inn, the former home of wide receiver Freddie Martino. So he doesn’t realize the Bucs heinous receiver depth sank the offense along with Doug Martin’s thorough ineptitude through 144 carries.

Not only is Smith a good, never-missed-a-snap player. He’s 23 years old and on the rise.

Dotson has always been very average and still is. He’s also out of guaranteed money in his contract, and Joe suspects Dotson’s performance might tick up this season as a result.

The Bucs’ offensive tackles are fine. And, obviously, Koetter and Licht agree.

50 Responses to “Buccaneers Tackle Torching At NFL.com”

  1. Eric Denman Says:

    Those guys are clowns. That whole group of guy said to be exact.

  2. tmaxcon Says:

    Dotson and Gos combo were the worst players on the entire field each Sunday for both teams. Dotson is garbage if you think he’s average you must reevaluate your label system.

  3. Rojas Says:

    I agree with only now half.. not LT, but I agree on RT with the way Dot played

  4. Xandtar Says:

    They WERE a second-rate duo last year.

    Whether they will remain so with the much greater passing potential and the possibly-greatly-improved interior line remains to be seen.

    If Licht had drafted a tackle instead of a safety in the second round I wouldn’t have been upset, but they know more inside One Buc Place than I do outside it, so I’m hoping this media guy is 100% wrong about how he thinks our tackles will perform in the 2017 season.

  5. DBS Says:

    Always one guarantee with both of them on this line. 5 yards forward then 10 yards backwards just because of penalties.

  6. O'Kane Says:

    “very average” description of Dotson smells of damning with faint praise. How about including stats on Dotson’s penalties and the damage they do at key points. Accepting mediocre play is a fast spreading deadly infection.

  7. BucsFan93 Says:

    The only thing you can say to defend D. Smith is that he’s young and has potential. But let’s be honest, his name comes up a quite a bit during the season… That’s not good. There’s a difference between allowing sacks and causing pressures and the rate at which he causes pressures or causes penalties is not good. Plus sometimes his feet get REAL lazy. I’m not saying we need a change, all I’m saying it slow down with the blind defence of D. Smith.

    Lets hope he improves this season

  8. Syl Says:

    There is something said about Smith not missing a start, but those tackles are mismatched in an offense in which the QB has to hold the ball longer. If this was a dink and dunk offense then they would be perfectly fine, but this is an offense in which the receivers has to complete routes.

  9. The Buc Realist Says:

    Word on the street is that the front office and coaches want to get the interior of the line set and settled, while they re-grade the tackles this year. Now that they have weapons and help in pass protection from starting RB and TE’s. then they will evaluate changes that need to be made at the tackle positions if their is no growth this season!!!!!!!!!!

    Back by popular demand is the “Realist Repost”!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    January 30th, 2017 at 11:43 am
    The truth of the matter is that this O-line, which was supposed to be a Run-blocking, play-action O-line was in more pure pass protection than they were designed to be in!!!! Having said that, I thought their pass protection was better than what I had them graded as!!! It can take years of development for some players and as long as their is growth I am fine with it!!!!

    But I am also fine with talk of moving players to make the best O-line the Bucs have ever had!!!! If getting a LT and moving DS76 to RT and AM74 to center and Jr Sweezy at and KP64/free agent at guard. DD69 as backup Tackle, and KP64/free agent!!!!

    Once again, put the best line out on the field for years to come!!!!!

  10. unbelievable Says:

    I mean he said they were average, and then you state Dotson has always been average, so I don’t really see what the issue is here?

    Maybe D. Smith is slightly above average? Seems like arguing over semantics. The truth is they both need to play better. The addition of new WRs and OJ Howard should definitely help though.

  11. MadMax Says:

    I have a feeling a 2nd or 3rd will be spent next draft for RT. Guard too if Sweezy doesnt work out.

  12. Kobe Faker Says:

    1 less defender/downhill blitzer in the box should help both tackles and the whole offensive line

    The big problem is Koetter likes to help protection by putting more players at the LOS. extra lineman with fullback…..

    wrong wrong wrong

    spread the receivers out and away of the LOS and further away from the QB

    “The Key to the 2017 season will be Koetters PLAYCALLING”

    “Dirrkkk!, Im watching you”

    Kobe Faker

  13. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    I’m still optimistic about the continued development of Donovan Smith, but Dotson had a really bad year, and generally does not stay healthy through the course of a season.

    Depending on whether they choose to let Pamphile compete at RT, I really hope Caleb Benenoch steps up in training camp/ preseason to show he can start at either LG or RT. Because I know Dotson will get dinged up some way some how, and he’s no world beater when healthy either.

    However, my true X-factor for the success of this O-line, is J.R. Sweezy’s back. I feel confident that Ali will adapt really well to the center position. And I feel confident that Dirk and Coach Warhop can find the best five to start the season. So if Sweezy can stay healthy, we could potentially have a bigger, tougher, and more physical O-line than we had last year.

    With the weapons he wave on this roster, A big & nasty O-line can only be a plus.

  14. tnew Says:

    This was a very weak tackle draft. The second round was not filled with starting caliber nfl Tackles, heck the first round maybe had two. So are these guys to say that we should have passed on OJ Howard to draft a tackle. Then Licht would’ve been a huge clown.

    Here’s the question that you really have to ask. Would I really rather have a rookie left tackle, in a tackle poor draft, in the second round, or former second round player that is entering his third year having taken every snap??

    Not a hard question if you ask me.

    If you wanted to argue in the 2016 draft that we could’ve taken a tackle instead of VHIII, well I would have listened. But I find it humorous that these talking heads are quick to criticize a possible problem without asking themselves what the solution would have entailed.

    Is Smith salvageable, yes. Is he Donald Penn? sadly no. Next year the Tackle class is not projected to be that stellar either. So lets hope he goes from salvageable to serviceable. Having Howard next to him and McNichols next to him will help. Been watching some game film of the Bucs lately, Brate (who had to be in there) or name the back, did a poor job in helping out against the rush.

  15. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Lol at that untentional spoonerism there.

    With the weapons *we have*….

  16. uckinator Says:

    The Bucs will address both sides of the line in next years draft as they have sown up most of the skill positions sans running back. Add a corner as well.

  17. duthsty rhothdes Says:

    I think he is spot on the bucs OL is below average and weakest spot on team with DL

  18. Cannon Says:

    Last year’s performance of our o-line is tough to analyze.

    At first glance, one will see that the line got pushed around a lot.

    Running backs didn’t have holes, and Jameis was frequently throwing on the run.

    That being said, if one takes a deeper look, they should consider the lack of receiving threats outside of Mike Evans (no disrespect to Hump and Brate)

    Defenses didn’t have to respect the back half of the field.

    As such, they were free to send defenders closer to the line of scrimmage.

    This means more run defenders and pass rushers.

    Hopefully, the additions of Jackson, Howard and Godwin will force opposing defenses to keep their safeties back, and the linebackers guessing.

    If so, we should see a marked improvement on the performance of our o-line, just because we aren’t hanging them out to dry every play.

  19. pabucsfan Says:

    He said they were average at best and that seems pretty spot on to me and even on the generous side coming from a national perspective. The duo of Smith and Dotson probably rank somewhere between 15-20 in the NFL and that goes along with what he said. And thats fine I didnt think we needed to upgrade our tackles for this year. Im pretty sure Licht and Koetter dont think their tackles are above average but going into the year with average tackles doesnt make them morons. Going in with below average tackles would. I like Donovan Smith a lot and think he will continue to improve. Next year I think is the year to upgrade the RT spot.

  20. Eric Says:

    If he is referring to Dotson I agree he was horrible last year but I like DSmith he had a few moments but what do you expect he was in his second year I’m hoping he has that big step up this year!!!

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “So he doesn’t realize the Bucs heinous receiver depth sank the offense along with Doug Martin’s thorough ineptitude through 144 carries.” – J0E

    Even the worst WRs can catch if the QB has enough time to get them the ball.

    Smith is young. He was NOT at the top of his game last year, but its to be expected in a young player. He’ll improve.

    Right Tackle was our biggest weakness. That and our pass protecting RB/TEs.

  22. Eric Says:

    Jameis held the ball a bit too long a bit too often. Likely because nobody to throw to.

    Its all connected. QB, OL RB, WR. A weak link kills ya.

    That second half v auburn was spectacular, because Jimbo climbed all over Jameis for holding the ball and not trusting the play. (easy to say with that Noles offense I know)

    Needs a little work in that area.

  23. DB55 Says:

    Funny how Denver jumped on bolles at 20. Luckily Licht is a much better gm than Elway.

  24. Tampa Tony Says:

    Joe must receive info from Smith’s agent to senselessly defend a player so blindly every day.

    Dude lead the league in penalties something Joe never mentions, conveniently. No matter who our backs were this team struggled running the ball unless it was against the awful run d of the 49ers.

    Can’t blame Martin when none of the backs were able to run effectively consistently

  25. Doctor_Berto Says:

    He said they were an average tackle combination, that might even be giving them too much credit. So you think they are a top fifteen duo? What the hell have you been watching?

  26. Architek Says:

    Let’s wait and withhold judgement on Smith, he has promise and he has a lot to prove.

  27. Wausa Says:

    The OLine needs to play a lot better, but Joe is correct.
    How can you properly grade the line when the running back they are blocking for is popping pills before he walks out onto the field and with the exception of one elite receiver the rest of the receivers are guys that would be battling it out to make an Arena league roster.

  28. owlykat Says:

    I’ve been saying three things about our OL for years. First that our RG should be playing Center (his best position), Second, that Smith, our LT, is a good run blocker but deficient as a pass blocker, and he should be moved to LG. and more recently this year I have been saying our LG last year should be our RT this year with Dot the backup Tackle for both Tackle positions. Of course Koetter and Licht at the same time were defending all the OL. So what has happened, folks? Finally, this year we have wised up and moved our LG to Center, and Pamphile, our LG will be tried at RT this Preseason (and watch him excel there and start). Dot dropped off a lot last year. Licht and Koetter are still bragging on Smith at LT, but if Winston was not as gifted at escaping sacks, it would be so painfully obvious that Smith has to be moved that nobody would believe it. However, there were not top LT candidates in the draft this year like there will be next year, and just watch, they will be moving Smith next year, unless he makes a terrific jump in his pass defense this year, and drafting an OT in the first round next year. Watch for it!

  29. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Tampa Tony Says
    “Dude lead the league in penalties something Joe never mentions, conveniently. ”

    He never mentions it because it isn’t true. J.Norman led the league in penalties, not Smith. He didn’t even come close in yards either.

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    He did, however, lead the team.

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

    Start researching Cole Gardener. Might be something there.

  32. Bucsfanman Says:

    I think that Smith played average while Dotson was, in a word, turrrible!
    I don’t understand why we gloss over the struggles of this O-line last year while blaming WR depth and a poor running attack. This is a team game correct?
    I’m not concerned about the o-line going into ’17, yet. The additional weapons SHOULD help in this aspect.

  33. Tampa Tony Says:


    Smith lead the Bucs and all OT in penalties

  34. The Buc Realist Says:

    @Buc Bonzai

    DS76 did led the league in penalties for all of O-line in the league


    and was 1 penalty from the equaling Josh Norman but was charged with more yards

    Thats not good and needs to be clean up.

  35. tmaxcon Says:

    Tampa Tony

    the only reason D Smith led in penalties because dot missed time. dotson by far committed the most costly penalties and killed more drives. Don’t discount dotson’s incompetence because he missed some games and his penalty totals were not as high. when dot was not getting blown up he was killing drives with his drive killing penalties.

  36. LakeLandBuc Says:

    We’re counting on a 34 year old CB to be our #1 CB. And we have a 2nd year CB that gave up the most passing yards last season. And we have nothing behind them. We didn’t draft a CB or O-Lineman, and we didn’t sign one during Free Agency. Robert McClain was signed because he has a history with Mike Smith ( no different from Lovie trash signings), the Browns signed Jason McCourty for two year $6 million max, only $2 million guarantee. We’re depending on a guy with major back issues, who haven’t practice in 16 months to start for us. A RT who’s at the end of his career. We will have 2 new starters at Safety according to Jenna Laine. We will have a new Center, who have never played the position before. A lot of pieces has to fall in place, for us to have success in the secondary and the O-Line. Only time will tell, we’re talking TC, 4 preseason games, 16 regular season games and maybe some playoff games. A lot of things can change from now until then.

  37. Lord Cornelius Says:

    This is the year we can really evaluate the O-line in a meaningful way.

    Imo the run blocking was much worse than the pass blocking last year. Which is odd because 80% of the starting lineup from last year was part of a top 5 rushing group the prior year. We were probably a bottom 5-10 run blocking line but about average pass blocking line.

    Winston seemed to get the most pressure from the middle and right side moreso than edge defenders beating Smith. Smith’s penalties were bad and the worst part of his game as of now but he seems to hold his own against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL considering he didn’t give up that many sacks to a lot of premier names. I really don’t care as much about “pressure” stats because they don’t take into account the time from the snap to when the QB throws the ball. I’d honestly guess that 50% or more of all the “pressures” were just plays in which Winston held on the ball for at least 3-4 seconds but couldn’t find any WR creating separation. With the array of targets we have now there should now be someone open within 2 seconds of every play.

    With the new personnel we have if the O-line struggles still we’ll know we need to make upgrades. I am most worried about RT. I think Smith can hold down LT…but if we have to kick him to RT and draft a stud LT or sign one next year that isn’t that bad of a scenario. The interior of the line is hopefully set.

    Next year I’m guessing we’ll be going after youth on the D-line and another CB. DT/CB/DE/OT

  38. Lord Cornelius Says:

    @Lakeland – we had one of the best pass defenses we’ve had in a long time last year so I’m not that worried. Ryan Smith is a complete question at CB – I wish we signed McCourty but I am OK with Hey Jude / Elliot / McClain for nickle depth and they can probably play some outside worst case.

    I expect VHIII to improve as he was getting better as the year went on. Hopefully Grimes has at least another 1-2 years in him. He didn’t look like he was slowing down at all towards the end of the year and usually that’s when you’d start seeing a player regress due to age

  39. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Lakeland Buc right on….and I know it has passed but again Licht drafts Laremy Tunsil instead of an average CB that he got last year the bucs OL is one of the better ones in the league and not below average as it is, hope something happens but…

  40. LakeLandBuc Says:

    The reason why I mention the CB situation, because Gregg Rosenthal wrote this about our CBs:…………………………………………………………………………» Only two cornerbacks were listed because I have no clue who the team’s nickel cornerback will be. This position could sink the Bucs. There is no depth behind 2016 first-rounder Vernon Hargreaves and 34-year-old No. 1 cornerback Brent Grimes, who played well beyond his age last year. It’s hard to imagine Grimes backing that season up.

  41. LakeLandBuc Says:

    I think we will have an at best average O-Line and Secondary.

  42. Kobe Faker Says:


    speaking the truth about our real troubling situation with our cornerbacks

    whatsup not getting mccourty?

    All our 3 division rivals are going to attack us with the short rac slants. the short passing attack takes too little time for our def front to get any pressure


    Going to expose VH3 and our slot corner against their quick RAC reciever

    Get used to seeing Vh3 fat behind chasing quick recievers all around the field

    “Lake, alittle less posting about my girl, Jenna L.”

    Kobe Faker

  43. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “LakeLandBuc Says:
    May 18th, 2017 at 1:26 pm
    I think we will have an at best average O-Line and Secondary.”

    Agree for the most part. Over the year they were average last year basically:

    22nd pass d in yards
    16th in passing TDs given up
    4th (in a 4 way tie) in interceptions
    18th in QB rating given up and completion % given up

    That’s over the entire year though. I wish I could just see the final 8 weeks since that was a different team basically.

    If our secondary improves it’ll probably because we had a better consistent pass rush and hopefully Evans or Wilcox or both offer upgrades

  44. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “All our 3 division rivals are going to attack us with the short rac slants…
    Going to expose VH3 and our slot corner against their quick RAC reciever”

    Yeah like when VHIII read the quick slant in KC and broke up the pass for a pick 6. What a sh1tty play

    In general VHIII did OK against the slant even though he needs to be more aggressive. Go watch 2015 film if you want to see a team that can’t defend a slant pass. Our biggest pass plays given up last year were typically over the top of our safeties. Think of greg olsen running wild or the blown coverages against the Rams.

  45. Rod Munch Says:

    I’d say combined the two tackles are average, at best, but it would be the RT that drags down the average. The part I don’t get is about the tackles sinking the team – that didn’t happen – the lack of any option that could seperation outside of Evans was the issue.

  46. Mo_Downs Says:

    We’ll find out who’s who during the preseason. That’s why they play the game.
    In addition, the HC/OC might have “adjusted” the route depth and play calls to help keep JW upright.

    Speaking of adjustments; How well do Hump and Brate “BLOCK” on running plays and PassPro?

  47. Kobe Faker Says:


    look what Kelce did to VH3 in that game. toying him around

    the BIG problem with VH3 is he cant play aggressive man2man press because he is too slow and get instantly passed

    he is a soft zone corner that matches better with a slow bigger receiver

    he doesnt have the quick twitch stop and go athleticism ….

    He will be the 2017 target of all our opponents offense…
    motion VH3 in open space….make him chase

    “I wish I can play him twice a year”

    Amari cooper

  48. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Kelce would do that to a lot of corners; just like Amari Cooper also burned a lot of other corners besides VHIII. Better safety help with Kelce would have probably gone a long way and in general the S are covering TEs moreso than our outside corner…

    I don’t agree with the idea that he is slow really at all. His short size is his biggest liability but he’s a physical tackler who can close quickly. He was thinking way too much last year and just trying not to get beat deep vs not thinking and just reacting & being aggressive… which makes sense for a rookie CB. We’ll see how year 2 goes.

  49. mike10 Says:

    You’re right Joe, or tackles are “fine”… and that’s it. Smith should be our RT, and Dotson his backup. We need a strong, durable, athletic LT and guard

  50. Fsuking Says:

    I just want this to be clear to avoid confusion… Dotson is a better tackle than Donovan Smith currently is! It’s not even debatable