The Hidden Secret

June 19th, 2017

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This offseason, both winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter and AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht have gone to great lengths to defend their maligned offensive line.

Licht has offered receivers were not getting open, thus, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, held the ball too long. That made the offensive line work harder and look less than stellar at times.

Koetter even noted there was such a revolving door of running backs, it threw off the timing of the line on run blocks.

And as Koetter mentioned last week, the Bucs indeed upgraded the offensive line when right guard J.R. Sweezy was given a clean bill of health. He missed the entire 2016 season with back surgery.

Also last week, Koetter mentioned another upgrade folks totally ignore.

Koetter noted how most folks are paying attention to and fawning over how rookie tight end O.J. Howard can catch. But Koetter believes those same people are ignoring his blocking skills.

“When we drafted O.J. – there’s so few tight ends coming into the NFL that can block anybody now,” Koetter said. “A lot of people are focusing on what O.J. can bring in the passing game but O.J.’s going to help our running game because he is a really good blocker coming out of college.

“He’s one of the few [tight ends who can block], and he’s going to get better. He’s going to get better as he gets more experience. I think O.J. will help our running game just like I think J.R. Sweezy will help our running game.”

To be fair, it is beyond easy to forget Howard’s blocking in underwear football because — all together now — you can’t hit in underwear football. And if you can’t hit, it is awfully difficult to watch how a guy can block.

While Koetter is correct, Howard can block — college defenders. We have yet to see him touch a grown man in a game, much less practice. So this is something Joe will look forward to when the pads come on.

Joe is sort of hungry to see how Howard can block, say, Lavonte David on a run play.

12 Responses to “The Hidden Secret”

  1. Wausa Says:

    A big part of our problem in the running game is we had arguably the worst group of running backs in the NFL last year along with a very poor group of receivers outside of Mike Evans to help keep defenses off balance against us.

    Obviously we have significantly upgraded at the receiver(and TE) position but we did very little at running back.
    Hopefully our fifth round selection is the steal of the draft.

  2. Ed Says:

    Why do you write “Winning Koetter” maybe i am missing something, what has he won? The Buc’s have spent more money on player’s and new training equipment since he has been the head coach. If any of the last three coaches would have been given the same amount of money, maybe they could have competed.

  3. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    I’m not sure what ANYBODY saw in OJ’s college game that would even mildly SUGGEST he’ll have any problems bringing it to the NFL…other than injury of course.

    Let’s see….with McNichols we can say…well he looked really good…at BOISE STATE…in fairness Boise State is becoming a running back factory but they don’t play the same level of competition as say…Wisconsin…Vanderbilt…NC State..and as much as I am not a Saban or Bama fan you gotta give them RESPECT…they’ve earned it.

    OJ exhibited this crushing blocking ability at Bama against the cream of the SEC and in National Championship games. I recall Blake and others pounding on we Dalvin supporters that OJ was not just a great receiver but an awesome blocker as well.

    BTW McNichols grades out very high in not just pass receiving but pass blocking as well. If OJ stays in to block…and McNichols IS a great pass blocking back…think #3 will have time for BOTH DJAX and ME13 to run deep routes. DJAX is the obvious deep threat but let’s not write off ME13 as a deep threat…he does it with different technique but ME 13 will get his share of deep balls.

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    Koetter is making legit points about the expected upgrades (Marpet at Center, Sweezy being on the field, OJ’s ability to help immensely with Run blocking) and the excuses about last year’s failings involving the lack of solid , consistent RB play and lack of more than 1 legit starting WR also ring true.

    We still have a problem at RT if Dotson is the starter IMO – but if Howard is regularly in-line on the rt side to help block we might just be OK.

    Donovan Smith needs to improve his play as well and of course cut down on the only thing he was “best” at which was lead the league in penalties.

    The Oline as a whole regressed in 2016 from their likely over-achieving play in 2015. Anyone with eyes could see this and to deny that was the case or attribute the less than good play up front soley to RB and WR “issues” is not living in reality.

    Get-R-Done George Warhop! Now that weapons for Winston have been secured – this team’s ability to have a top 5 offense in 2017 rests squarely in your unit’s hands…

  5. Fsuking Says:

    Man Doug Martin is gonna have a field day behind these guys! Or if Joe was our GM, Quizz and McNuggets would have avg years while Doug wins a Super Bowl with the Patriots

  6. tnew Says:

    Been saying this for a while now. Howard is the athlete that shines when physical contact is allowed. The fact that he has looked as good as reported without the pads is amazing. When the pads come on, he’s going to go off!

    St Pete, add to that the interior of the line is drastically improved with Sweezy at guard and Marpet at center. Jameis can polish the football.

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    I’m excited to see what OJ brings to the table. For me, the blocking was obvious. It was his limited catches that really did not sell me on his receiving skills.
    It’s a team game and one area effects the other. There were many facets missing last year that lead to poor performances rushing and passing. I look forward to seeing what this kid can do.

  8. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I think back to 2015; when we were about to play Jvill and I had Doug Martin in fantasy and everyone was saying it was a bad matchup for him because Jvill was like #1 against the run at that point in the season.

    That was a game we lined up 2 TEs almost every down it seemed and just forced our will with the run game en route to a 38-31 win. Martin had over 150 yards rushing/receiving and 2 TDs.

    I’m only thinking back to that game; because I’m imagining if one of those TEs was 4.5 40 running freak OJ Howard in terms of the play action possibilities….

    How much longer till football again lol?

  9. Buc4Lyfe79 Says:

    Lets see how OJ fares against Mr. “No TE can block Me” Will Gholston….Welcome to the NFL rookie. Remember, Iron sharpens Iron, GO BUCS!!!

  10. NFLNut Says:

    I have a massive man crush on OJ Howard … can’t wait to see the young man play in a meaningful NFL game!

  11. Owlykat Says:

    Smith gets beat too often when pass blocking and should already been moved to LG and Pamphile should be starting at LT until we can draft a great one next year. I hope Dotson will regain his previous expertise at RT in 2015 this year or we will have to grab a free agent next year to replace him too. Itchy is just making excuses for why he failed to bolster our OL.

  12. Pick6 Says:

    having an OJ howard type of TE lining up next to Cherilus in Dallas might have changed our season last year