“He Listens”

August 29th, 2018


The right knee of Donovan Smith will determine Tampa Bay’s starter at left tackle in New Orleans. If Smith is cleared by the doctors, he figures to be charged with protecting Ryan Fitzpatrick’s blind side.

That’s a medical issue. The murky situation at right guard is a competitive issue.

And don’t count out the big lug from Humboldt State. Alex Cappa, a 6-foot-6 converted tackle, didn’t look out of place at guard during the first half of Friday night’s preseason matchup against Detroit.

This guy looks like a wrestler and attacks like a linebacker. He’s all hair and hands and when Cappa gets his massive paws on you, he’s usually in control.

Caleb Benenoch was supposed to grab this job by the cojones, but a lingering knee injury has opened the locker room door for Cappa, who was the first Lumberjack ever invited to the Senior Bowl.

“He’s a young kid who is coming along very well,” says center Ryan Jensen, who attended Colorado State-Pueblo. “He’s going to be a very good football player. Coming from a D-2 school, just like me, once you get here you want to take advantage of it.”

Veteran Evan Smith is also in the mix and it will be interesting to see who gets the snaps at right guard Thursday night against the Jaguars.

Alex Cappa photo courtesy of Buccaneers.com.

Can the Bucs be serious about starting a D-2 and a D-3 guard (Cappa and Ali Marpet) against a division rival on the road in one of the NFL’s loudest venues?

Yes and yes. I asked the guy on the other side of Cappa what he thought of big No. 65.

“He’s young and he’s going to get better,” says Demar Dotson. “With any rookie, especially from a D-2 school, there’s going to be some ups and downs. But Cappa’s working hard every day. One thing about it, the guy’s going to be a good football player. He’s smart, he’s physical and he listens.”

Humboldt State’s campus is in Arcata, Calif., 280 miles north of San Francisco. It sounds like Cappa got out just in time because the school announced this summer that the football program will be discontinued after the upcoming season due to financial considerations.

“That’s crazy,” says Jensen. “Given what just happened, how he plays means a lot for Alex and for his school.”

Enjoying The Punishment

At the moment, Cappa prefers for his play to do the talking. Sensing he has a real shot at a starting role between Jensen and Dotson, he is appreciative of the opportunity.

“I felt good out there, excited to be able to play a lot,” Cappa said after his extensive playing time against the Lions. Obviously, I’ve got a lot of things to work on. It was fun to come out and start hot as an offense. Peyton Barber runs hard. He’s downhill and he’s going to punish somebody when he gets the chance.”

That’s also an apt description for Cappa, who built a reputation for physicality in four years at Humboldt State, where he arrived as a 240-pound freshman. The Bucs moved up eight spots to draft the 305-pound mauler near the end of the third round.

Since then, Cappa has worked hard to move up in class. In the process, he’s done a heck of a job moving up the depth chart.

Now in his 40th year covering the NFL, Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in the Tampa Bay area. He scored a full-time seat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters in July of 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays at 5 p.m. during football season. Also a TV star, see Ira now on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360 (aka BayNews 9). Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday NFL show and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, tennis, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

30 Responses to ““He Listens””

  1. stpetebucsfan Says:

    The long shot stories are my favorites. Gotta love Cappa and Liedtke and others like Brate who come out of nowhere to become solid NFL players.

    Love finding “diamonds in the rough”.

  2. 813bucboi Says:

    cappa has looked decent…..


  3. Destinjohnny Says:

    Jason loads up at certain positions and leave others none dry.
    I don’t get it

  4. JimmyJack Says:

    Seems like Cappa was burried on the depth chart and got the nod Friday due to injuries. I won’t be expecting him to start if we are at full health.

    But I did go back and watch Cappas game and he did a good job. But I didn’t recall seeing any stunts so that could be a concern. And he wiffed on a Blitzer so you know opposing coordinator are going to try to capitalize on that.

    All in all I’d say he’s not ready yet……And let’s face it reading JBF make me a expert on evaluation of offensive lineman.

  5. JimmyJack Says:

    Destin I am assuming you’re talking draft and I kinda disagree with you bro. I just think Jason goes for prime value.

    Yes, last year we needed a Dlineman most of all and he took a TE. But that was a crappy year for lineman.

    This year we still needed Dline and took a DT but no End. My guess is that Licht knows next year will feature loads of ends in the draft.

    Nothing wrong with bringing in late round players for WR and LB. Those units are strong and if you notice we are having success with young players joining them. Now all of the sudden when the Shawn Jackson and Lavonte David leave we won’t be scrambling. We will remain strong in those spots and ideally keep building in other areas…….like secondary(this year) perhaps.

  6. Joel Says:

    Considering this team is clueless on Vea, we wont see Donovan Smith probably all season. Start Cappa at LT. Might as well.

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Which position is “dry” right now?

    O-line/D-line have depth
    All 3 drafted secondary players have looked like potential starters in addition to VHIII playing better
    RB has depth and mix of 2 proven reliable guys and 2 rookies
    WR deep as f*ck
    TE deep as f*ck
    LB deep
    QB even looks deep
    P/K playing fine

    So is it long snapper where we really suck? F*ck you Licht!! lol

  8. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    What a bunch of hypocrites, lol.

    For weeks, including this week, you people have been saying Cappa sucks (not talking about Ira). Now you claim ‘ I did go back and watch Cappas game and he did a good job’.

    And yet, when other people said so, you just battered them and said they were wrong.


  9. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Destinjohnny Says
    “Jason loads up at certain positions and leave others none dry.
    I don’t get it”

    Please, name one unit on this team that is lacking in newly added talent.

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Lord Cornelius,

    Ironically, the long snapper was newly added. They brought the old long snapper back this week to compete because of the bad snaps.

  11. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    stpetebucsfan Says
    The long shot stories are my favorites. Gotta love Cappa and Liedtke and others like Brate who come out of nowhere to become solid NFL players.

    Love finding “diamonds in the rough”.

    Jason Licht seems especially adept at it too, which I love.

  12. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Joel, nothing about that statement makes sense, lol.

  13. JimmyJack Says:

    Lord Corn notice how you kinda glossed over O and D lines? Those are the positions Licht has under drafted. Call it what you will but it all boiled to a head last year and if you wanna defend our line play from 2017 you might be a bit touched in the head.

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    Buc Bonzai O and D line

  15. JimmyJack Says:

    Really Bonzai…….I never said Cappas sucks. And I don’t know if you are definitely talking about me but why use a sentence that I just said. Why quote me?

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    Nice article on Cappa Ira!

    Honestly – those quotes from Jensen and Dotson make me say – screw it – throw the kid out there and let him take his lumps.

    The sooner he learns what to do and what not to do in real games – the sooner he will become a valuable asset.

    Just like Justin Evans, Marpet and Kwon before him – this rookie needs to be on the field in a starting spot – learning as he plays in the NFL. Even initially – he won’t be worse than Sweezy – that I can guarantee.

  17. JimmyJack Says:

    Danged moron poster

  18. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “JimmyJack Says:
    August 29th, 2018 at 11:50 am
    Lord Corn notice how you kinda glossed over O and D lines?”

    By literally listing them first lol? Did you gloss over that?

    I would prefer more D-line investment in the draft but it hasn’t been totally ignored. We did just take a DT in R1. We took a DE in R2 in 2016.

    IN terms of O-line; Licht typically drafts one every year. 2 2nd rounders, a 3rd rounder, + multiple late round picks.

    D-line will be the focus in the draft going forward imo; if this team/regime stays together. That is obvious. It’s our oldest positional group; and he’s tried to make up for a lack of draft investment by bringing in proven vets.

    O-line is pretty damn young and full of potential. Sure could use another elite body there but we have a top 1/2 O-line easy in the NFL right now in starters/depth. If you don’t believe this then you don’t realize how truly awful a lot of teams O-line situations are.

    He’s only had like 10 top 2 round picks; and 4 of them have gone to the lines… almost 1/2.

    The only times I’ve wanted D-line where he went another position; was VHIII over Rankins; and basically any D-line over Aguayo. No ones perfect tho lol

  19. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “If you wanna defend our line play from 2017 you might be a bit touched in the head.”

    um literally nothing I said is defending the line play from 2017…. Might as well just make up something else I said to argue about lol

  20. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    destinjohnny if you think the O line is loaded up then you must be a new Buc fan

  21. JimmyJack Says:

    Lord…..maybe the term “glossed over” is inaccurate. What I noticed was how you put up definitive cases for RB and Secondary. You also gave basic standing ovation to WR, TE, LB and QB groups by calling them deep as blank or just deep.

    Then what you said for the lines was they have depth….. Not much of a endorsement. Maybe not glossing over but I think we call all look to those two areas as the part that Licht has failed to keep strong…….or let dry up like Destin said.
    And I know you didn’t try to defend 2017 but the resolution of any argument lies on the field. On line play and their depth starts on the field and we are clearly lacking on both lines on this team. It’s be one thing if it was just a 2017 thing but it’s not. This was a 2016 thing….and a 2015 thing …..ect. Licht has failed in building both lines plain and simple.

  22. Destinjohnny Says:

    Ira is a pro writter that’s for sure

  23. JimmyJack Says:

    And part of this is on Dirk. You take a player, you groom a Center. You don’t worry about Center for a long long time ever again. It’s a very simple ticket process that Dirk purposely made confusing by trying to convert an already stud player

    He didn’t k ow what he had in Marpet or in Phampile(who is playing a new position BTW) he doesn’t know his team. Now we are back to square 1 and his GM had to bail him out by buying the most expensive C in history.

  24. JimmyJack Says:

    And now I hear Dirk might be thinking to put Benechot at tackle. Why do I feel like I should be surprised if it don’t work?

  25. Lord Cornelius Says:


    Fair enough. There are definitely legit criticisms in there.

    I only wrote more for the secondary because that to me was the biggest hole going into the draft – not either of the lines.

    Same with RB kind of in general.

    And no team is “deep as f*ck” at every position. Most are lucky to say that about any one position. IMO at least.

    I also disagree that we’re back to square 1 on O-line. This is the best O-line we’ve had since Licht’s been here; both in starters and in depth imo. Our O-line was atrocious when he arrived. Now at worst we are average with a chance to be better than that. And we are young with 3 key starters at 26 or younger; and if Cappa or Benecoch pans out that’s 4. Not to mention the 2-3 OTs the team is high on in Liedke/Wester/Gardner


    Go Bucs!

  26. Defense Rules Says:

    I’m confused apparently. Read several places where Cappa looked good early-on, but didn’t look at that great in the Lions game. Any number of sources have essentially said he’s got outstanding potential, but as of right now isn’t ready for prime-time. Obviously he’ll make the final-53, but breaking into the starting lineup is a whole different animal.

    IF Donovan is good-to-go in New Orleans, and assuming that Dotson starts at RT, I suspect that we’ll see Evan Smith at RG. Benenoch has missed some time because of being dinged up, and I think Koetter will go with a more experienced RG. Fully expect Cappa to break into the starting lineup by mid-season however … he’s got some decent versatility for a rookie & injuries happen. Still think that Licht will pick up an experienced OLineman with good versatility before the season starts.

  27. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    Asking Dotson anything relevant is pointless all the guy does is lose and suck…. Dotson most notable accomplishment is among the most loses by any active player.

  28. americasenabler Says:

    He came in and got absolutely manhandled by a 3rd stringer in Tenn at guard. It was tough to watch. At LT?! Ira Im not sure if you’re trying to troll us or youre actually this stupid, to suggest Cappa at LT.

  29. Skipper Says:

    Dotson is probably the Bucs best Olineman

  30. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:


    That means absolutely NOTHING the entire line is and has been garbage. Dotaon could not make another roster period