Monken Won’t Out Offensive Line

November 16th, 2017

Not just offensive line.

Joe hates to be repetitive, but Bucs fans just love to crucify the offensive line on gamedays, as if the line should be blamed for everything, including the Tampa Bay area not having light rail and for the Rays playing in a mausoleum of a stadium.

Naturally, in the eyes of many fans, Bucs’ running backs can do no wrong. It is the offensive line that is laying down for them, so these same fans believe.

Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken won’t go there. Asked directly today if the offensive line was a giant dirt mound that prevents the Bucs from running the ball, he wouldn’t take the bait. While not absolving the line, Monken said there are a variety of factors for the ills of the running game including — gasp! — the running backs.

“If we had that answer, we’d have it fixed,” Monken said of solving the puzzle of the putrid Bucs rushing attack. “We all want the answer. What is it, the backs, the scheme? It is all of it. It is not just one scheme. Up front, we [at] times [tend] to not be as consistent, that the running back[s] hitting it.”

Like winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter suggested yesterday, Monken said part of the reason for substandard yards on the ground is the lack of explosive run plays. Monken noted how important a legitimate threat in the run game is to both the play-action play and the offense as a whole.

Monken added that each week coaches try to come up with a scheme that may spring the run game. Clearly, this has rarely been a success. Monken also noted the Bucs were not going to give up on finding a run attack because it is such an important piece to Koetter’s offense.

Joe will just say this about the offensive line and the running backs (Joe’s written this before): If you are of the mind the Bucs offensive line is terrible, watch Denver and Seattle for context. Yet these teams get better production from their running backs than the Bucs.

If it takes pancake blocking on every play, if it takes a four-yard wide hole for running backs to run through to have any modicum of success, perhaps the Bucs have the wrong running backs?

24 Responses to “Monken Won’t Out Offensive Line”

  1. Alanbucsfan Says:

    It is all 3:

    RB issues
    Offensive line issues

    Who is responsible?
    Coaching, Coaching, Coaching, GM

    How often do you see Bucs offensive linemen coming off their initial block and taking on linebackers? Rarely- is this physical issue? Talent? Scheme?

    Don’t see other teams RB’s getting hit in the backfield as often as Bucs.
    I see gain 6 or 7, then loss of 2, gain 4 or 5, loss of 1…

    One thing is certain: offense stinks because there is no running game !

  2. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    I do not disagree about the absence of the Bucs running game harming our offense. But I’m not seeing a great passing game either.

    Seems to me this year has been a perfect storm (bad pun with IRMA)btw how much do we think a bye would have helped this week? Certainly #3’s arm with another week to rest and perhaps he wouldn’t miss as many games. But LOTS has gone wrong no single area or player or coach. We’ve played poorly across the board…offense and defense…and when one unit plays well the other drops the ball…defense couldn’t hold the lead against Buffalo…offense hasn’t shown up for awhile…DL and OL both very inconsistent and certainly not dominating…DB’s same…WR’s same…QB’s same….we just need to keep on plowing the field and work through this.

  3. ndog Says:

    Simply something is just wrong (missing?) with this team. Maybe it is Jamies getting hurt, maybe it is the line playing soft, maybe it is not having a real runningback, maybe it the new pieces trying to fit in, maybe it is feeling pressure to score a ton of points cause the defense is poor, maybe it is knowing the had to score 6 because the kicker was horrible, maybe it is play calling (not enough screens, not enough rollouts, not enough quick slants, not enough shorter pick plays, etc…). But really it is probably all of those cause all of those things are true and can kill a offense.

  4. William Walls Says:

    Donovan Smith delivered a heck of a pancake block on Sunday. It was awesome. Then a ref flagged him for it. *smh*

  5. Espo Says:

    William, it reminded me of Davin Joseph absolutely mauling someone so bad the ref assumed there was something shady going on.

  6. Joe Says:

    Donovan Smith delivered a heck of a pancake block on Sunday. It was awesome. Then a ref flagged him for it. *smh*

    Was that the one where he ragdolled a guy and got flagged for holding? Picked the dude up in the air and threw his aside like a load of laundry?

  7. Alanbucsfan Says:


    You’re right about inconsistency on both sides, however lack of running game has been devastating- Jameis’ interceptions are down, but his accuracy is inconsistent, I think Godwin has not been used enough and that was proven in Jets game… how many times do we see 2nd down losses by running game? Then when forced to pass, D lines Tee off on QB… you just can’t win with negative rushing plays every game…a big part of defense is keep away and wearing down the other D… not happening with Bucs

  8. Buccon Says:

    I wouldn’t be quick to put this on the coaches! Players are paid to perform with that being said I would first ask is any one on the oline limited in what they can do!! I here coaches talk about strength and weaknesses, so what I’m asking my self is what are the oline weaknesses? Is it rhythm? Is it communicating. Or is this just a bad group of guy tryna work Togather? Lt, is good but not great. Lg still ain’t solved! Center is least of my worries! Rg, sucks big time as well as rt!! No more washed up talent off other teams we have to develop an oline 2018 draft to provide players who can excel in big moments!! I’m sorry but if you ask me I rather win 0 games in have Garrett In Tampa then to win 9 in come out with ok Howard?? If play off not expected then why win any games when you can stack up on talent??? The Yankees do this every now and then to Get better players that’s can make a difference!!!

  9. SOEbuc Says:


  10. 813bucboi Says:

    half way thru the season and this staff still has no answers….SMDH….GO BUCS!!!!

  11. Chris Says:

    Officials have killed the NFL. I’ve read multiple teams fans complaining about flags. They’ve made the game terrible to watch. The only game fairly calles anymore is the Super Bowl.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    What I think I’m seeing from coaches & fans is a lot of ‘chicken or the egg’ stuff. Run game? Pass game? What’s most effective to W-I-N with this team? To me, the answer is ‘Yes’ (ie, you do whatever it takes to win). If you’re not winning, you’re doing something wrong. So what do you do until the next season comes along & you can re-arm? You do something different.

    Look at our 2 games against New Orleans last year as an example. We won the 1st game 16-11. We certainly weren’t an offensive juggernaut in that game, but we did manage to control the TOP (33 to 27 mins), went light on the deep passes (2-for-5 for 34 yds), heavy on the short passing game (14-for-21 for 150 yds), heavy on rushing (35 runs for 104 yds) and won the turnover battle (3-to-0) & the 3rd down conversion battle (6-for-13 versus 5-for-15 for the Saints). The Saints ran only 16 times for 46 yds, but outpassed us by a bunch (they were 25-for-41 for 257 yds). Ultimately they beat us in total yards … but lost the ballgame. Sound familiar yet?

    Our 2nd game against New Orleans last year was almost identical … except that the Saints played our game and we played theirs. And oh ya, we lost 31-24. They won the TOP battle (32-to-28 mins), they won the turnover battle (2-0), they ran more than we did (31-for 123 yds) and they used the deep pass less than we did (Saints were 3-for-5 on deep passes for 80 yds … Bucs were 4-for-9 deep for 97 yds). They also used short passes more effectively in that game.

    The deep ball is an awesome weapon … IF you’re hitting it. If not, take what the defense gives you. If they’re focusing on stopping the run, quick short passes are likely to be available. If they start dropping folks to play the short passes, work the run game. It seems like it’s not just the players who are out of sync, it’s also the play-calling. Maybe we’re just being too ‘scripted’ and not allowing the QBs sufficient latitude, I don’t know. But I do believe that IF what you’re doing isn’t working, DO SOMETHING ELSE.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Koetter runs the ball on 1st and 10 six straight times……stuffed.

    Then, he goes with an empty backfield on the next 1st and 10…….surprise!!!

    Real tricky……Newsflash for Dirk…..Play action on 1st down will work because the entire free world knows we are running up the gut.

    Koetter’s playcalling is killing Jameis and the offense.

  14. Bucnjim Says:

    How many times this year has the offense been rolling only to have a holding penalty and or a false start stall a drive? Next thing you know it’s third & 25 out of field goal range with no hope to convert. Watching other teams with successful running games compared to the Bucs is night and day. Martin or whoever is running the ball gets hit in the backfield way too many times. Not sure if it’s scheme, but if the RB doesn’t even have a chance to make a move he has very little chance of success. Defenses have also figured out that stacking the box against us has been working all year so that will continue.

  15. tnew Says:

    “Up front, we [at] times [tend] to not be as consistent” is a pretty damning statement regarding the O-line. It seems to me Monken has a good handle on it listing the scheme and the execution from BOTH the O-line and the running backs as the issue.

  16. tnew Says:

    Picking a guy up with hands outside the frame is a penalty when it is seen. I know Gannon didn’t like the call, but most times, that is a hold. If his hands are inside the frame, he most likely won’t get a hold called.

    Refs will start reaching for the flag anytime the hands go outside the frame of the defender. Both of Smith’s hands were outside the frame. Couple that with “rag dolling him” you get a hold. Thing is, D. Smith’s physical dominance was on stage there. Why not just work harder on technique, keep your butt down, maintain leverage and keep the hands inside the frame. That play reveals both his flaws and his gifts. Can the flaws be coached out? Playing left tackle, he is a focal point. If he does anything that is questionable, it will be seen.

  17. SOEbuc Says:


    Those obvious and constant first and 10 run plays may be what I hate most about Koetter. Funniest thing though is I was watching BSPN or NFL Network last week and someone was saying the Bucs need to run the play action on first down a lot more. And what happened?? They ran a few more play action first and tens against the Jets. Hahaha. Just makes me picture Koetter late at night in his onesie taking notes off the boob tube.

  18. GhostofSchiano Says:

    SOEbuc Says: Just makes me picture Koetter late at night in his onesie taking notes off the boob tube.


  19. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Just please hand this man a play chart and headset and put us all out of our misery

  20. BucTrooper Says:

    You had no running backs last year.

    You sucked running the ball.

    You did nothing to address the problem.

    You still suck running the ball.

    This isn’t rocket science, people. If this is what it takes to be a GM, I SOOOOOOO got this……

  21. Jeffbuc Says:

    Yeah Seattle is doing great running the ball
    Thomas Rawls 2.6 ypc 125 yards on the year
    Eddie lacy 2.8 ypc 128 yards on the year.
    Try again joe. You must have looked at overall rushing yards and ypc for Seattle that is greatly inflated from Wilson scrambling. Have you watched a Seattle game they are worse than the bucs at running the ball.
    They have 616 yards rushing all year from there running backs
    The bucs have 645 rushing yards from there running backs.
    But keep making up stuff about how great they are running the ball

  22. Bob in Valrico Says:

    One essential ingredient to a short passing game is a quick release. A telling stat that Rich Gannon shared is that Fitz’s release was almost 2 seconds and Jameis’s was almost 3 seconds. I am no QB guru,but could this be why the short passing game isn’t used as much. This could also affect Jameis’s ability to lead the receiver properly on short crossing routes.

  23. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Now here are some thoughts on playcalliing. When Koetter first came here ,as I recall Koetter wanted to call plays from the booth and Lovie wanted him on the
    field. Calling the plays on the field has been an adjustment for Koetter,no doubt.
    But I have to wonder if there is an advantage to being in the booth and seeing the plays develope better. Supposing Koetter did turn over playcalling with an override option or even use Montgen as a sounding board when calling plays.

  24. DavidBigBucsfan99 Says:

    It’s not the scheme it’s the oline players and coaches. When you watch them block on run plays they consistently get pushed back. Like was the case last year the backs are constantly being met in the backfield. They simply can’t maintain their blocks.Though each back has had times they’ve made some good runs it’s never consistent because the line never blocks well consistently. Contrary to the belief that Dougie sucks he is the only back that has had any consistency since he’s been back. Contary to JoesFauxNewsNetwork belief offenses start with the line. They block well the offense plays well. The backs don’t block for themselves. Only way play action works. It isn’t working so you tell me the problem. Atlanta backs put 123 yards on the Jets and we only put 83 on the same defensive line so please you tell me where the problem lies.

    The coaches have to seen the same thing 2 years running and won’t do anything about it. The Ali Marpet to center is not working and Sweezy sure isn’t either.