“Absolutely Better Already”

August 3rd, 2018

Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith

There was a hidden/ignored downside of the Bucs’ subpar defensive line of the past several years: its effect (or lack thereof) on the offensive line.

Don’t take Joe’s word for it. Listen to Donovan Smith.

The Bucs’ rock of a left tackle spent much of his rookie training camp battling defensive ends like George Johnson, Jacquies Smith and Will Gholston. That wasn’t too much of a learning experience and/or extreme challenge.

A healthy Robert Ayers replaced Johnson the following season and was joined by a group of rookies DEs. So that was a bit of an upgrade before last year’s mess at the position, which included Noah Spence dropping under 230 pounds and squaring off often against Smith in practice, along with a washed out Ayers.

Now in his fourth season, a contract year, Smith told Joe today that the presence of manbeast DE Jason Pierre-Paul already has raised his game significantly.

“He’s a proven pass rusher, a great pass rusher. He’s going to make a lot of guys better, even me,” Smith said. “That’s one of the best things we did in the offseason was adding him. It’s not going to do anything but push the tackles. You know, to have a guy like that on our squad to push us every day is only going to make things better in the games.”

You feel like you’re better already because of JPP? Joe asked Smith.

“For sure, absolutely better already,” Smith said. “We talk a lot. That’s one thing we do good with, between Gerald [McCoy], JPP, Vinny [Curry], Beau [Allen], you know, a lot of older guys [breaking things down with each other]. You know, 1-on-1 drills, it might not look pretty sometimes; you look like you got beat because you’re trying different thanks. But that’s the time to try it because you know you’re going to get their best pass rush and you got to work on things. We sit down we talk about it in the locker room. ‘Hey, you did this. Oh, I did this because of this, and you got me because of this and why.’ Just help each other out.”

It all feels like Jason Licht’s dream has come true after he patiently waited for a green light from the Giants on the surprise March trade of JPP for a third-round pick.

Man, if JPP can be a consistent force, pull in nine sacks this season and make those around him better, Licht will get one giant new gold coin in his bank of great moves.

11 Responses to ““Absolutely Better Already””

  1. 813bucboi Says:

    iron sharpens iron…..


  2. bucsfaninchina Says:

    rock of a left tackle



    I think Donovan will improve significantly this year because he isnt practicing against TOMATO CANS this year. He’s going against a LEGITIMATE PASS RUSHER in JPP!

  4. Alphabucfan Says:

    The dude hasn’t missed a start yet. That’s called a rock. Good article joe. Keep em coming

  5. Dooshlarue Says:

    “He’s going to make a lot of guys better, even me,” Smith said.

    He really said that?
    WTF, does he believe he’s really good?

  6. BucEmUp Says:

    This is basically the same thing I have been saying about our offense as a whole. With Jameis, Brate, Humphries, even Evans to practice everyday against the worst coverage unit in the league that’s obviously going to make a difference on game day. Our offense had issues but showed signs of life while our defense looks like a dead body on life support. Play some FRIEKING man coverage every now and then like the competition does it will not only benefit our defense it will benefit our offense.

    Simple as that

  7. BucaneroDorado Says:

    I think we will be drafting a tackle next year…. Bucs will have to decide if they keep Marpet or DSmith, I would choose Marpet of course.

  8. SeattleBuc Says:

    A fan would hope that the contract year x factor comes in to play because both Marpet and Smith will be lights out. Would hope coaches and players are vastly improved and that the Bucs go deep into the playoffs…!!!!Giving rise to a new dynasty of multiple playoff years and a brilliant management of Capital by Mr. Licht. Now How does that kool ade taste? <I'll have what he's having.

  9. Bobby M. Says:

    Bortles talked about this recently…..He has made huge strides in his development because of playing/practicing against that Jacksonville defense every week.
    Hopefully our defense does the same for our offense.

  10. Godeep66 Says:

    Nice article Joe. I truly hope JPP is here to WIN and not here to pick up a paycheck like so many vets in the past.

  11. Owlykat Says:

    The proof is in the pudding. Let’s count how many pressures D. Smith gives up against Miami and see if he has really improved or not. If the answer is 3 more the Bucs need to move Smith to LG and move Marpet back to his best position at RG, try Cappa at RT and play Dotson at LT when he is 100 per cent and Gardner there in the meantime. That way you just pay Guard pay to Smith at the end of the year and when you draft a LT you will have him at reasonable pay for five years. That way you can afford to keep D. Smith who will develop into an All Pro LG, along with Marpet, and Dotson is already under contract. That will leave enough money to afford keeping our other stars. Cut Warhop and hire Logan Mankins As Offensive Line Coach. After all he is the one that stayed after practice and helped both Marpet and D. Smith to adapt to the NFL. He grew up on his Dad’s ranch in California and there are plenty of cattle ranches in Florida if he was so inclined in addition to coaching with the Bucs. He knows OL and would be a passionate OL Coach like Buckner!