Tackle Depth Not Bad

August 25th, 2017

Gives Bucs quality depth at tackle.

It always interests Joe how two pairs of eyes see things differently.

And that is the case between Joe and one of the hardest-working beat writers in the NFL, Jenna Laine of ESPN.

Joe respects Laine a lot. You talk about America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis, being the last person to leave the building? Joe’s willing to bet no one has been the last to leave the media work room at One Buc Palace more than Laine the past two seasons. But on the following subject, Joe and Laine don’t see eye-to-eye, and that’s fine.

Laine wrote a piece this morning on what she sees as a lack of depth at offensive tackle. And she believes this is a valid concern among at One Buc Palace.

If you watched David Irving in the fourth quarter of the Bucs’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys, you understand why this is concern. Starting right tackle Demar Dotson has been nursing a groin injury and is not expected to play Saturday. Starting left guard Kevin Pamphile has moved outside and Evan Smith has stepped into Pamphile’s spot. Ideally, you’d want to see Caleb Benenoch, Leonard Wester or Mike Liedtke — who have all been vying for the backup swing tackle role — to play there, but it goes to show you that nobody has really grabbed ahold of that position.

Joe has to add a bit of context to her talking point. No, Laine is not wrong to cite how David Irving blew up in the fourth quarter last year in a key game at Dallas. One could argue Irving destroyed not just the Bucs offensive line but killed their playoff hopes.

Let’s remember who Irving faced. Demar Dotson was hurt and swinging saloon doors Gosder Cherilus was at right tackle. Cherilus was on the roster, Joe believes, more for his intangibles (you should hear how the young Bucs offensive linemen rave about how much Cherilus helped them improve as NFL players) than his skill set. Frankly, Cherilus was washed up and he retired a few weeks after that dreadful game.

To make matters worse, we found out later Cherilus himself was playing injured. Why the hell he was even on the field is a mystery. He eventually was pulled for being ragdolled play after play. So to cite one quarter of a game last year against a washed up and injured player who is out of football seems to be a bit unfair and clouds the argument.

The Bucs are more than content if Kevin Pamphile, who the Bucs call their swing tackle, has to move from left guard to replace Dotson on opening day. All indications both from the team and from Dotson are that he will be ready to start against Miami.

Shoot, just Wednesday, when winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter was again kvetching about a lousy practice, he was asked if there was anything good he saw at practice and he quickly responded “Kevin Pamphile playing right tackle.” Joe remembers at the bye week last year Koetter said Pamphile graded out as their best offensive lineman.

Laine has a point if Doston and Donovan Smith (who has never missed a snap) went down with injuries. Honestly, what NFL team wouldn’t be in a pinch if they lost their starting offensive tackles?

24 Responses to “Tackle Depth Not Bad”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    I agree with Jenna Laine … but not about RT. Losing Donovan Smith at LT could radically alter the Bucs’ game-plans. Thankfully Donovan has been an Iron Man at the position over these past couple of yrs.

  2. bucsfaninchina Says:

    But on the following subject, Joe and Laine don’t see eye-to-eye, and that’s fine.

    Laine has a point if Doston and Donovan Smith (who has never missed a snap) went down with injured. Thought what NFL team wouldn’t be in a pinch if they lost their starting offensive tackles?

    …So where’s the point of disagreement?

  3. Maze Says:

    Jenna may work hard but usually find her a step behind

  4. Guzzie Says:

    If any team loses both starting tackles of course they would be in trouble duh

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    Based on what we saw in 2016 – Offensive Tackle is one of the weakest positions on our team and likely needs major attention next offseason.

    This year’s FA crop and draft crop of Olinemen was worse than lacking so I don’t begrudge Licht not doing anything about fixing the OT problems this year.

    I also understand the wisdom and patience in trusting your eval and coaching and wanting to give it another year to see how far Donovan Smith and Caleb Benenoch can develop in 2017.

    If Smith takes a big step and becomes a top 10 player at his position and Benenoch becomes a capable starter at RT in his 2nd year – then you smile, draft for depth and look at other positions.

    Anything short of that result, however, means you have to spend some resources. Either $8-10M for a good FA to plug in at RT, a 2nd-3rd rd pick for the same spot, or a 1st rd pick on a LT and move Smith over to RT.

    Winston MUST be protected as well as can possibly be managed. Our OTs were no where NEAR good enough last year.

    If major progress from the talent in house at both LT and RT is not seen this year – then Licht really has no choice but to upgrade the talent.

  6. Lamarcus Says:

    Well what do u know

    After reading the post …… it’s not a matter of depth. It’s a matter of who is starting lol

  7. tmaxcon Says:

    any team with Dotson on the roster is in trouble at tackle. and not only is he on the roster he is expected to start. scary very scary it would be one thing if it was him just getting beat repeatedly but when you couple him being abused every play with his timely penalties dotson is the unquestioned weakest link on offense.

  8. Joe Says:

    …So where’s the point of disagreement?

    May want to re-read the story.

  9. SOEbuc Says:

    The Bucs drafted a really good OT this year named OJ Howard.

  10. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I made fun of the Jags pointing out their talent level is just not the same as the Bucs. I was immediately ripped…understandably for not giving the Jag DL props. Apparently opinion in the NFL believes the Jags front defensive seven are actually quite good.

    If that is the case who played OL in that Jags game? They did a great job!!! Again #3 frequently went through all of his progressions before unloading the ball. I really really like the middle of this line…Pamphile…Marpet and Sweezy makes us mean and stout up the middle. Evan Smith and Joe Hawley are servicable as backup guards…so even if Dot is out and we move Pamphile out to tackle I simply do not see a giant dropoff.

    IMHO there is really only one HUGE dropoff at any position and that is QB. But when you have a franchise QB like #3 that’s pretty typical. None of our RB’s are superstars but we have a solid collection. Doug runs hard and is effective.
    Barber seems like he’s getting it. Quizz is Quizz and if Sims is healthy he finally gives us an RB who can actually make a defender miss. Oh noes he’s dancin’.

    I used to worry about LB but wow did that totally change in just one season!

    Where are we really thin except at QB?

  11. tnew Says:

    I’ve re-read this article 5 times now. I’m trying to figure out how our tackle depth is “not bad” This has been my drum that I have pounded on for pretty much the entire off season. Our starting 5 are really solid. After that, it is WAY MORE a hope than Doug Martin turning in a stellar season.

    The only way that its “not bad” is if Wester or Benenoch have (and that is what I was hoping to be reading) have made leaps and bounds during this off season. I do see glimpses from Benenoch. He might just be the answer.

    I would agree that the Right Tackle spot is what lost the game versus the Cowboys. David Irving looked like a Hall of Famer. It was like Reggie White and Derrick Thomas immaculately conceived a child and put him on the earth for the fourth quarter.

    No upgrades have been made at that position other than time. Cherilus has retired. Wester or Benenoch are the keys. Have they developed enough to be solid replacements when called upon? Pamphile is the other option but unforutately, he is best suited at guard.

    Being said, I’m not sure any upgrades really could’ve been made. The free agent class was not the strongest. Licht would’ve had to drastically overpaid for that spot and the tackle class in the draft was not strong. Will be much better in 2018. Now if Joe and Ira were pounding the drum for a 29 year old RT for a second round pick.. well then I might be all in.

    Keep in mind all of what I just stated involves and injury free season from Donovan Smith.

  12. tnew Says:

    Make that a 6th and 7th time. I guess Pamphile is the true depth. The problem is that shuffles the line. I expect Dotson to be healthy for Miami, but history tells us that other than Smith and maybe Marpet (although he has his share of ankle “tweaks” now), expect a couple of multiple game abscences from this unit. There (hopefully I am so wrong and we are this year’s Atlanta Falcons) is going to be multiple games that the starting 5 isn’t Smith, Pamphile, Marpet, Sweezy and Dotson. Pull any two out of that group and things get sketchy very quickly.

  13. Batman Wood Says:

    Pamphile will be better than Dotson at RT. I’m more worried about E. Smith at LG. I’m surprised Benenoch isn’t starting at LG. I agree Dotson is the weak link. He hasn’t been good for years on top of being injured.

  14. Batman Wood Says:

    Is Jenna Laine the woman reporter who asks all the stupid questions at the Bucs press conferences? I cringe every time she starts talking.

  15. tnew Says:

    And to Joe’s point… All of my kvetching about this, the LT backup for Dallas is ……Kadeem Edwards. If he replaces Tyron Smith for any length of time, that drop off is Grand Canyoun like.

  16. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Joe Hawley has been getting a lot of work at guard as well, which gives them two options in case Kevin has to move outside (which he will because Dotson is the biggest waste of money on the planet).

  17. destinjohnny Says:

    hate to harp on it but we left 3 2nd round picks on the table…..
    If we go wetn line and just one fo them hit we are $

  18. destinjohnny Says:

    meant to say if we went o line and just one of them hit we are $$

  19. bucsfaninchina Says:

    @tnew already many predications that Dallas line is going to take a step back this year, losing Ronald Leary and Doug Free. RT and LG are shaping up to possibly be a rough patch for Dak and Co.

  20. Owlykat Says:

    Interesting when Licht was hired everyone was complaining about our LG so Licht cut him and ever since he has been a real star LT with the Raiders and played better every year than our LT Smith. Dot didn’t play well the latter part of last year with a groin problem and that same problem has him out now, but if Pamphile plays well at RT as I fully expect, let Dot fully heal up and he can probably play at a high level for about three more years, either as a starter or a top quality sub for both Tackle positions. Beneoch was poor at RT last week but he proved last year he is a good sub at RG. If Smith isn’t great at LG, Beneoch should be solid replacing him.

  21. Capt.Tim Says:

    Caleb Benenoch is listed as the backup at RT.
    Joe mentioned earlier that Caleb was injured, in a previous post.
    Losing 2 players at the spot would strech any team. Yet despite that, the Bucs are fielding an experienced, talented Line.
    If Benenoch was starting at RT, Id feel fine. All he needs is reps, to be really good.
    With Pamphile starting at RT, And Smith at Guard, Im still feeling ok.
    Its a tribute to our Offensive line coach, George Warhop

    We’ll be fine- but I sure Wish Benenoch was getting the reps. As I’ve posted before- I believe that big monster is our future at the position

  22. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Ah Gosder “The Human Turnstile” Cherilus

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Capt.Tim Says:
    August 25th, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    “Caleb Benenoch is listed as the backup at RT.”

    That is for rotational reasons.

  24. $acbuc$ Says:

    Jenna seem to get a bad rap. Caleb done a pretty good job at RG in the KC victory last year. Fans didn’t even know he was there. What happened was Gottschalk went down in the game. Caleb got a double stack pancake block on a LB and a S. Smacked both of them. Kevin wants to play tackle so let him and Dot can be back up. Josh Allen and Mike Liedtke is the future. Mike has a lil nasty to him he finishes on blocks. I might sound crazy but here’s how I would do it Dirk. Donavan, Liedtke, Marpet, Sweezy, Kevin. We need Hawley in case Ali get hurt and Evan is the next in line so we need help from the youth.