QB Hits Do Not Equal Bad OL Play

May 19th, 2017

Bucs OC talks QB hits.

They have become so predictable, the spreadsheeters like the PFF tribe and the rabble who parrot them.

They cite the number of hits America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, absorbed and point wildly at their computer screens screaming, “See… see!” They believe they have fool-proof evidence the offensive line is an utter disgrace.

It’s not that simple.

Recently, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht said one reason he added speedy receivers in the offseason was because last year’s receivers weren’t getting open quickly and the result was Jameis hanging in the pocket too long, waiting for receivers separation. That led to a lot of QB hits.

So asked Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken about Licht’s theory on Jameis yesterday. Monken did not disagree but thought there was much more to it. And he fingered Jameis as an additional culprit.

“I think some of that is valid,” Monken said. “I think that is true with a lot of teams. I think Jameis had developed over the last two years and will continue to develop his timing [and] his anticipation, which will help.

Jameis is a guy who trusts his ability to escape. So when you have quarterbacks who trust their ability to escape, they are going to take more hits. Nobody takes more hits than probably Ben Roethlisberger, but he makes a lot of plays. That’s Jameis. “[Quarterbacks] who make plays with their feet, they are going to take some hits. And we have to do a better job of separating. We also lost Doug. We also lost Charles Sims for part of the year. Two really good backs out of the backfield to throw it to. So, if you get those guys healthy, we do a better job of separating, we get our timing better, [Jameis] doesn’t have to find himself scrambling as often.”

That’s a helluva point Joe hadn’t considered. Sims was hurt for a chunk of the year and while Joe is not a Sims guy, there is no question Sims is talented as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Having Sims on the field would have helped Jameis avoid hits.

While sitting in a dorm room in Ireland watching broadcast tape, it might be easy for the stats geeks to lay the blame of an out-of-whack healthcare system — and everything else — at the feet of the Bucs’ offensive line. But Licht and Monken have tried to illustrate what Bill Walsh always said, that an offensive play is an organized, choreographed sequence all based on timing, and if one element is off, it fouls up the works.

Winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has even stated using too many running backs can louse up the timing of an offensive line.

19 Responses to “QB Hits Do Not Equal Bad OL Play”

  1. JTHV Says:

    Speaking of the PFF nonsense … yesterday they tweeted out an infograph that showed Jameis having the 2nd “Longest average time to attempt a pass” in 2016 … but yes, our oline is horrible, according to them.

  2. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    ^Well, as was mentioned in the article above, by Todd Monken; Jameis excels at buying himself extra time with his feet.

    Jameis routinely made Houdini like escapes, and was the best Qb in the league rolling outside the pocket.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the 2016 Oline as a whole was nearly as bad as it’s detractors make it out to be, but it certainly had it’s weaknesses. Specifically Center play and Right tackle play, as well as providing very little push in the run game.

    The questions at Center should be resolved, because Ali is a smart guy and a phenomenal athlete. But we now have Questions at RG, namely, Can Sweezy stay healthy? And Success at RT boils down to hoping the Caleb Benenoch develops.

    But having said all of that, we now have a solid group of studs that should be able to get open more speedily. And that could make all the difference.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    There are many aspects to protection because it’s a team game. It’s dependent on WRs separation, RBs vision, OL blocking, and QB vision. This keeps getting brought up for debate as if it had ZERO to do with the lack of running game or the QB getting hit. As with all the reasons mentioned to the contrary, it is still part and parcel of a TEAM issue. It cannot be overlooked. The OL has to play better, simple as that.

  4. Tnew Says:

    Spot on Blake. When you watch the Jameis highlights you notice a pattern of where the pressure was coming from. I think mankins was doing a bigger job covering for the center than he received credit for. RT cost the bucs the Dallas Game and the playoffs

  5. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Pretty sure the OC in name only isnt going to head to the podium and throw the OL under the bus…fall on the sword blame jameis and jameis will react like a champion…just hope he doesn’t get hurt playing behind the bucs crappy OL

  6. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    So Joe, just to be clear, are you blaming Jameis and the weak backup WRs for QB hits and saying the OL has nothing to do with QB hits?

  7. JTHV Says:

    Speaking about Jameis having the “2nd longest average time to pass” in 2016 (according to PFF yesterday), one should assume the added abilities of DJax, Howard and Godwin to separate early and often will open up this offense like never before seen on the bermuda field in Tampa Bay.

  8. Joe Says:

    saying the OL has nothing to do with QB hits?

    Never wrote that.

  9. StPeteBucsfan Says:


    Largely agree with your OL take. We only had 80% of an OL in some games last year at the RT was invisible and sadly Joe Hawley who is a true warrior and who gives it his all is just undersized and on bad wheels. Marpet is a dramatic improvement there.

    And so IF…Sweezy is healthy we’re definitely waaaay ahead of last year’s line.

    We’re down to RT. Like Blake I hope Benenoch works out in time for this season…he has potential…let’s hope he can convert it to the NFL.

    But if not Benenoch perhaps Licht can find a cap casualty during training camp cuts. I feel good about our OL. If Sweezy is healthy the three dudes in the middle are maulers with nasty dispositions which bodes well for the OL.

    I think OJ will really help in the running games as well…and not just on the line but OJ is athletic and talented enough to get 5-10 yards downfield and take out an LB or Safety so the RB can get deep into the secondary….before getting hauled down from behind.

  10. Pickgrin Says:

    There are many facets to the 2016 offense’s lack of cohesion.

    Yea we have a stud at QB and another at WR and a few role players stepped up and made plays – and some games were won. The offense didn’t look “bad” (well at times it did) – it was more exciting than what we’ve been used to (aside from 2015). But….

    The potential is there for so much more though. We saw numerous glimpses in 2015 of how explosive this offense can be – but early injuries at RB and WR (as well as lack of WR depth) and also sub-par Oline play doomed the 2016 offense to regression. The loss of Logan Mankins up front WAS a factor.

    So how to “fix”?

    The added weapons help. A LOT. OJ and DJax and Godwin and JMac. That’s some nice added offensive firepower right there.

    Up front – The 3 young Oline players have had another year’s tape of themselves to study and have another whole off season to grow and improve. If Sweezy is legit – then we improved up front automatically as Hawley in the middle was the weak link – and Marpet is an athletic stud who will grab that Center spot with authority and not look back until he becomes an all pro. If Dotson can get back to form and/or Benenoch steps up – we should be in pretty good shape for starters at Oline – and the depth there is somewhat reasonable as well.

    Assuming the running back situation gets sorted out – then this offense should make a nice recovery this year from the woes experienced in 2016.

    Jameis Winston’s talent and improvement heading into his 3rd year is likely to be the catalyst that ignites this soon to be “explosive” offense. Koetter’s favorite word and type of play. I’m sure we will see plenty of fireworks from Winston and Co. this year.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing what this offense can do in 2017.

    The pieces have mostly all been assembled. Time to put this puzzle together and on display for all to see and admire….

    Oh and we need balance on Defense. Make it so Smitty. Time to earn those big bucks the Glazers just threw your way bruh

  11. mike10 Says:

    I have to wonder if at times you post opinion just to get a rise out of your readers Joe, the good ‘ok Tom Jones technique.

    Your unrelenting defense of the (average) OL and angst towards Doug Martin, a backup QB and Jacquizz Smith (sp?) cracks me up..

  12. Joe Says:

    I have to wonder if at times you post opinion just to get a rise out of your readers Joe, the good ‘ok Tom Jones technique.

    Your unrelenting defense of the (average) OL and angst towards Doug Martin, a backup QB and Jacquizz Smith (sp?) cracks me up..

    If Joe knew of a credible NFL source who thought the Bucs offensive line was as bad as fans and stat geeks, he’s quote the guy. Mind you, Joe once spent a full day in San Francisco in the middle of NFL folks (former and current GMs, coaches and players) looking for anyone who thought the Bucs offensive line stunk and Joe could find no one.

    Joe is giving his honest opinion on Doug Martin and Fitz. Not sure Joe’s been critical of Jacquizz Rodgers. If anything, Joe’s praised him. The guy was unemployed and on the street when Koetter rescued his career. He’s exceeded any realistic expectations.

  13. mike10 Says:

    Well you’re in circles, so I trust your sources. All I go off is what I see, and what I saw was no push from the OL, a mediocre run game, and JW (our single most important asset) getting smacked.

    … and you got the wrong Jacquies (I looked up the spelling this time)

  14. LakeLandBuc Says:

    This is an article that I read last week on Fansided, and it has nothing to do with PFF:……………………………………………………………………………………….But it could all go the other way very quickly if they aren’t careful. For a long time, I have lived by the mantra that the offense begins and ends with the offensive line. A good offensive line takes a good offense to a great one and can mask a lot of problems for sub par offenses. If the offensive line isn’t any good, it doesn’t matter who is under center or on the outside. If the offensive line is bad, the offense will be bad.

    Last year, if the Bucs had an Achilles heal, it was the offensive line, and I’m not just talking about Gosder Cherilus getting beaten like a drum in the Dallas game. The rushing offense was ranked 24th in the league and averaged 3.6 yards per rush. Some of that was on Doug Martin and company, but not all of it. Some of that is on the offensive line.

    Football Outsiders ranked the offensive line at 21st in the league. They only averaged 3.17 yards per carry around left end, which gets into the realm of one of the subjects of this article. The group was ranked 15th in pass protection. Obviously better but not where they want to be.

    Some thought the Bucs should address the offensive line during the draft, and I was one of them. They didn’t choose a single offensive linemen.

  15. unbelievable Says:

    Here’s what I’ll say about our offensive line last year:

    The Bucs had the HIGHEST amount of runs stuffed behind the LOS in 2016. Highest in the league! 24% of our run plays, tied with Miami for the most in the league.

    Now is that ALL on the o-line? No, but they definitely have responsibility. More weapons at WR means teams can’t crowd the box as much if we run out of the correct formation, but let’s not act like we were the only team facing an 8 man box on rushing plays.

    IF Sweezy is healthy and IF Marpet is successful at center, then we have improved the interior, but RT is still an issue. OJ’s blocking skills should also help them out.

  16. Bucsfanman Says:

    It makes me sick that we have these conversations about how “ineffective” Doug Martin was when every time I looked, someone was in the backfield already. I’m not exonerating anybody but anyone with eyes saw what you posted: “the HIGHEST amount of runs stuffed behind the LOS in 2016.”

  17. unbelievable Says:

    That’s what I’m saying bucsfanman! There are several factors that go into Jameis taking hits, but when you look at the run game alone, the line was not good enough regardless of who was back there.

  18. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    The problem we have is when this here Joe writes about this he has an agenda always trying to lay the problems every where accept where the root of the problem lies at and that is the O line. It doesn’t matter whats been seen in the games he just lives in some la la land when it comes to the line play. Play after play we fans have seen Fameis running for his life sometimes as soon as he gets the ball as well as the running backs but it’s not the line’s fault even though we have had the likes of Gosder Cherilus, Evan Dietrich Smith and Joe Hawley three of the weakest links on the line. If it wasn’t for Fameis’ uncanny ability to squeeze out of sacks it would’ve given up 24 more sacks than the year before instead of the measly 12 more that it did. Now to be fair our receivers were not getting open quickly enough yet Fameis still threw 4000+ yards so they did a good job at times just never consistent. Mongo holding down center should do wonders up the middle especially once he gets center down completely.

  19. Dave Says:

    ‘That’s a helluva point Joe hadn’t considered’
    There’s a lot you fail to consider.
    Cause and affect.