Koetter Sounds Off On O-Line

June 11th, 2017

Goes on the offensive.

Winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter is about fed up with folks banging on his offensive line.

Some national analysts think Tampa Bay choked for not adding to the offensive line in the offseason. The Bucs’ status quo stoked the fires of those who don’t like the line.

Joe has a damned good hunch the dislike and disrespect started with the PFF tribe and their narcotics-induced offensive line grades, and their absolute distaste of all things Donovan Smith.

If one actually bought into (as opposed to just plain bought) what those clowns type about Smith, you’d think Smith is some hoodlum who trucks people walking down a sidewalk in a moving fan. It’s really sad how an outfit like that can be the cause of folks turning on a solid player.

At any rate, last week after underwear football practice, Koetter was asked about guard J.R. Sweezy and Koetter launched into a defense of his offensive line.

“When people say we didn’t address the [offensive] line, the fact that J.R. was out all last year, I mean we were real excited about what J.R. would bring to the group last year,” Koetter said. “And unfortunately he had to miss [the 2016 season]. J.R., in his 50-something starts in Seattle, [was an] extremely physical player. For our fans that haven’t seen him, he’s a bigger, stronger version of Joe Hawley, the way he plays.

“I know our fans like the way Joe plays; I think they’re going to like the way J.R. plays as well. I think he’s going to bring a physical presence to the center of our line.”

Well, fans did have an issue with Hawley’s performance, but no one had an issue with his heart. Joe gets what Koetter is saying about Sweezy.

Hawley, though he may be a undersized for center, plays with an edge. He was ornery on the field. And if that is the attitude Sweezy has, Joe has a hunch folks will like him just fine.

Now, about that back.

19 Responses to “Koetter Sounds Off On O-Line”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs don’t have the big name 1st rnd picks on our OLine that some teams have, but we’ve finally learned a valuable lesson IMO: select wisely, but player development is the most important factor. And there’s no substitute for good, solid coaching when it comes to player development.

    I remember 2001 when the Bucs drafted Russ Hochstein in the 4th rnd. We traded him away to NE in 2002. Hoschstein went on to START 90 games for the Pats from 2003-2008 (6 seasons), then START another 46 games for the Broncos from 200902011 (3 seasons). Thus the Bucs gave up prematurely on an outstanding Guard/Center who averaged 15 starts/yr over 9 seasons with 2 playoff contenders. Good to see that Coach Koetter is ‘holding the line’ when it comes to his OLine. It’d be a mistake to give up prematurely, just like it was in Russ Hochstein’s case.

  2. Dooshlarue Says:


  3. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    First, if Sweezy is indeed back to full speed, it’s the same as if they did bring someone else in. Moving Marpet to Center is also adddressing the O line. Now about that back. Herniated disks are crazy things. Even the surgeon specialists can’t know for sure. What often happens when a blown disk is nerve pinches or cuts, which cause pain and numbness all the down to the toes. You can be recovering from back surgery just fine, and then BANG! you are hurt again with a related (nerve) problem but not the back itself. Nerves can take years to heal–and you won’t find a surgeon out there who will say if or when. So just hoping J.R. is a go. I think Smith could use an well-experienced LG right next to him. Don’t forget, he had Logan Mankiins for his first year.

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    Buccaneer fans aren’t skeptical of/worried about the Oline because of PFF ratings. We watched the 2016 games and saw defenders in the backfield at the initiation of way too many run plays as well as our QB getting hit/running for his life way too often on pass plays. Also our 2 starting tackles were the highest penalized pair in the league.

    Statistics simply back up the generally poor play that most saw with their own eyes from this bunch that obviously under-achieved last year compared to what roughly the same group (minus Mankins) from the previous year was able to accomplish.

    The Bucs Oline as a unit regressed from 2015 quite visibly and anyone who disputes that is not living in reality.

    The obvious conclusion at the surface would be that losing Mankins was very detrimental to our Oline – yet Kevin Pamphile’s play was both visually and statistically decent and Marpet at the other Guard spot was our best Oline player – so Guard play was not the problem in 2016. The problem upfront last year was an undersized/oft injured Center not getting the job done as well as sub-par play from both Tackles. Again – statistics back-up what most fans saw with their own eyes in regards to these particular positions.

    The GM and coaches and Joe can all bemoan the ongoing OLine criticism all they want – but it will continue unless/until we see differently on the field vs real NFL defenses during games that count.

    The team has seemingly addressed the Center problem by moving our best Oline player (Marpet) to that position – but there is a learning curve and until we see Ali snap the ball successfully and make all the line calls and adjustments successfully as well as handle all his blocking assignments proficiently from that position for a few games in a row – then there will be a question mark there. Sweezy who is taking over Marpet’s spot at RG is obviously a big question mark as well since he has yet to play a single snap in a game 15 months after joining this team. But the biggest cause for concern up front heading into 2017 is that nothing was done to address/upgrade the poor play from both our Tackles in 2016. We are supposed to somehow believe – to just have “faith” – that last year was an anomaly and that both Smith and Dotson are good tackles who will play much better in 2017 than they did last year.

    Man – that’s a lot of If’s, Buts, maybe’s and we hopes all rolled into one unit.

    2nd year starter at LG Pamphile seems to be the only starting Oline player without question marks heading into 2017 until you remember that he is the backup swing Tackle as well – so if either Tackle gets hurt – then what? It would create a domino effect of diminishing returns – that’s what.

    There is the hope/belief that better play from RBs and the acquisition of DJax, Godwin and OJ Howard will greatly benefit the play of our Offensive Line in 2017. This seems logical and reasonable to assume – but then we are just getting into the old ass-you-me breakdown (Bad News Bears style).

    Until we see better play – consistently – in real games from our Buccaneers Oline – then those who follow this team closely have every right and justification to be concerned about how the Oline will play this year considering the only “upgrade” we made personnel wise was counting on the return of a FA guard who was signed last offseason yet has not played a single down for this team due to a major back injury that required surgery and a year off to “heal”.

    Fingers crossed….

  5. Easy Denman Says:

    I hope Sweezy is 💯 and ready to contribute this season. I THINK our O-Line is gonna surprise ppl this year if they stay healthy

  6. DayOnePaul Says:

    What was that?
    A “Founded” logical take?
    Well thought out and orated, Pick.
    On this one, I’m with you.

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

    JR Sweezy the aaron donald killa.

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

    And I like the Bigger Joe Hawley comparison cause that’s what he is. Mean and surly,that will set the tone for the entire O line. Our group will be respected around the league.

  9. Issic Haggins Says:

    Pickgrin x 2

  10. ThunderSack Says:


    Well said. The proof will be when the games start.

  11. JOEinPHX Says:

    Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:
    June 11th, 2017 at 10:29 am

    And I like the Bigger Joe Hawley comparison cause that’s what he is. Mean and surly,that will set the tone for the entire O line. Our group will be respected around the league.

    Just maybe, Sweezy offsets the absence of Mankins last season, which hurt the Bucs noticeably. And I’m pulling for Brawley – that attitude is needed whether he’s a starter or not. Joe’s in a dogfight for a position this year. I’m pulling for him.

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

    That’s real talk PHX. A Bad@$$ team wit a mean @$$ O line is what I expect.

  13. Jim Says:

    The Bucs helped the offensive line by drafting Howard , Auclair, and Mcnichlos. Last I checked, PFF had Mcnichlos pegged as the second best pass protecting back coming out of college, only ranked behind Joe Mixon,that definitely helps out the offensive line. Many draft experts have Howard and Auclair rated as the two best blocking TE’s coming out of college,That also helps out the offensive line. In addition, I think the Bucs will keep Stocker, even with the other two aforementioned TE’s, because of his vesatility. He can be a blocking TE or a blocking Fullback, which helps out the offensive line. I think it’s pretty easy to conclude the Bucs have addressed Offensive line help.

  14. LakeLandBuc Says:

    They said the exact same thing last season about the receiving corps. And we seen how that turned out, time will tell how good/bad this o-line is. I expect a garbage o-line,one that will sink the ship.

  15. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    You always have such high expectations.

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

    Pete Lakeland has turned into a Dallasbuc wanna be. I respect that stick a lot more from Dallas.

  17. Dan Solaz Says:

    Im excited about our oline actually. Im with coach Sweezy is gonna beva beast!! And we have good depth actually in my humble opinion. Only time will tell though at this point we are all just giving opinions.

  18. grafikdetail Says:

    on passing down, the play calling, WR’s not getting open and winston holding on the ball too long made the oline look worst than it probably really is… but run blocking was pretty hard to watch… but continuity is a big plus in developing the line… should be big improvements this year

  19. macabee Says:

    Wait for training camp!