Improved Offensive Line

August 26th, 2017


It seems to be fashionable for Bucs fans to always gripe about the offensive line.

(Joe remembers how Bucs fans howled until their throats were raw how awful Donald Penn was. Whoops.)

So of course, everybody and their brother seemed to pile on, blaming the line for Doug Martin’s woes, even though Martin had the worst yards-per-carry in the NFL last year.

Some fans were ready to throw empty beer bottles at Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht because he didn’t draft a tackle. Well, he didn’t need to. The offensive line is bigger and better, Licht has said. Licht believes J.R. Sweezy returning from injury and moving Ali Marpet to center has improved two positions without signing or drafting anyone.

Licht did a spot on SiriusXM NFL Radio when “Movin’ the Chains” co-hosts Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller dropped in at camp. Joe will let Licht’s own words explain.

“It really got us more physical at two spots,” Licht said about Sweezy’s return. “We got bigger at center, more physical there. And we got bigger at [right] guard because Sweezy is a bigger, more powerful, guy than Ali. We think Ali has a really, really bright future at center.”

Marpet sure looked OK in his very first game at center against the Jags.

If you look at it like Licht does, it’s easy to argue the offensive line improved at two positions. Clearly Marpet is an upgrade over brawley Joe Hawley, who due to his smaller size got pushed around too much last year. And Sweezy is a proven road grader at guard.

17 Responses to “Improved Offensive Line”

  1. zwh99 Says:

    I don’t see why people think the O-Line is bad. I think its decent.

  2. Joe Says:

    I don’t see why people think the O-Line is bad. I think its decent.

    Lazy narrative fueled by the PFF tribe.

  3. tmaxcon Says:

    RT is a huge weakness any objective human with even minimal vision can see that.

  4. Joe Says:

    RT is a huge weakness any objective human with even minimal vision can see that.

    If Jeremy Trueblood was starting at right tackle, yeah.

    Dotson is serviceable. Not a Pro Bowler but not Trueblood either.

    Trueblood, in his last two years, truly was a turnstile.

  5. darin Says:

    They keep playing like last week and itll be a long year for defenses!! Marpet looked good. The extra man in the box will be gone this year too thanks to djax. Exciting times. Go Bucs

  6. tmaxcon Says:

    joe I appreciate your passion for dotson. i sincerely do. if he was not getting beat like a drum last year he was committing drive killing penalties. it’s a position that is of major concern and in need of an upgrade.

  7. Buc1987 Says:

    darin…to me when I watched the next Jags game on NFL net. The Jags pass rush looked good. I think they were playing the Panthers or something, buy I was impressed. Then I thought about our O-line. I think they look decent.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Interesting comparison Joe … Trueblood vs Dotson. A lot of similarities … Trueblood was 6’8″ and 315 lbs. Dotson is 6’9″ and 315 lbs. Neither had/has particularly good footwork IMO, nor was either particularly quick. I’m wondering if their height might have been a hinderance in pass protecting rather than an advantage in working largely against DEs (say like Robert Ayers) who were at least as strong, somewhat quicker and most almost half a foot shorter.

  9. Capt.Tim Says:

    Keep trying to figure out how they keep both Webster and Benenoch
    Webster hasnt had much noise- which is perfect for a Left Tackle
    Benenoch is a huge guy with fast feet. With some ppaying time- he could be our Right Tackle.
    Korren Kirven is probably worth a practice squad spot.

    If we lose Donavan Smith- we are gonna have a big drop off. Webster is decent Left Tackle, but Smith is such a mauler.

    We would suffer a little bit, if we lost any starter, but we actually have some quality depth!

    This is probably the best Offensive line in Buc History. And I’ve seen them all!
    Good job coach Warhop

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    @Defense Rules: a tall guy with long arms can fend off a DL well…if he’s strong. It’s the “leverage” thing.

    Dotson, a former hoops player, is far more athletic than Trueblood, although Trueblood was much nastier…

    The greatest improvement is moving Marpet to center. While Hawley has great desire and nastiness, his size got him mauled ofter in 2016. He was the weak link in the OL, and the running game suffered for it.

    I’ve said it before: the Bucs led the league in having RB’s hit behind the LOS in 2016. No team can rush effectively with that kind of OL “push.”

  11. Capt.Tim Says:

    Defense rules,
    Ayers is 275, and 6’3.
    Im sure hes a lil faster- but I know Dotson is much stronger.
    Being tall does affect getting leverage, as tall linemen tend to bend at the waist, which robs them of power.
    But dont think that is Dotsons issues. Hes a decent right tackle- but has slow feet. Struggles shadowing fast DEs
    Benenoch had fastest times at for linemen at combine. Like his potential

  12. Bucamania Says:

    The Oline should be fun to watch this year. Ali looked like a stone wall in the middle of that line. Sweezy is just killing guys in the run game. Benenoch was pancaking Fowler. That kid may be the future at RT.

  13. darin Says:

    Yeah i agree. Jags have a pretty good defensive line. Expensive anyway. They should have some good weeks. Our line did dang good against them. Looking good so far. See how it goes tonight even tho i think 2 linemen will be out.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Capt Tim, I agree with you that Dotson is a ‘decent right tackle – but has slow feet’. And that may be part of his getting tagged with too many penalties, particularly when he’s pass protecting it seems. Benenoch is apparently faster, but he still needs more experience to knock Dots out of the starting lineup. Hopefully he gets to play a bunch in these last 2 preseason games & shows well.

  15. Joe Says:

    joe I appreciate your passion for dotson.

    No “passion” for Dotson. Just trying to be reasonable. He’s not an All Pro but he’s not a sieve either. Or Truebood, who was.

    If Dotson was as horrid as you say, Pamphile would be starting at right tackle.

  16. DB55 Says:

    Let’s see how they hold up against Suh and company. Shiii let see how they do against Myles Garrett. The true test is to see if Jameis’s jersey can stay clean and if RB can get at least 4.2 ypc.

  17. tnew Says:

    This years line is so much better than last years line. Not sure why the Martin dig was necessary. The O line was much to be blamed. The addition of Sweezy and Marpet, (yes, I consider him an addition there) is so huge. The interior of the line was getting caved. Hawley is in the perfect spot now as a guy who can give you 3-4 solid games if you need him. His body unfortunately just is wearing out and he wears out over a full season. Sweezy may just be a top 5 run block guard in the league. Donovan Smith, after a season and a half really started looking good. I know people like to kick him but he has shown every reason to be a long term left tackle (I’ve watched so much film on these guys, not even funny. Challenge anyone who disagrees to go back and really look at it) Plus adding Howard, Auclair and Brate doesn’t look like the same blocker, this is a line that has upgraded half of the positions. Implying the line wasn’t a factor with Martin.. I just can’t agree; however, I do believe his hamstring had more to do with it.

    I am one who admittedly feels we are thin at tackle. I am hoping for Benenoch or Wester. But I also don’t blame Licht. He has done an amazing job in rebuilding the line. Frankly, the job he has done in rebuilding the roster is amazing. This year, any attempt to bolster the position would have been a reach. This year’s tackle class in both free agency and the draft wasn’t stellar. Next year is much more attractive.