Who Is Better That’s Available?

December 22nd, 2018

Strongly defended by Bucs coach.

Joe just knew this would happen.

It seemed Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith was doomed in the court of public opinion before he ever got to Tampa Bay.

One of the greatest con jobs of the 21st century is that the PFF tribe has so many innocent football fans hoodwinked into believing they know more about offensive line play than the guys who actually play on the offensive line, and their coaches and NFL general managers.

Apparently, some dude in an Irish dorm room has ESP and not only had little to no use for Smith coming out of Penn State but suggested he should play right tackle or guard.

(Two years later, Joe asked Smith about this and Smith roared and explained to Joe — twice — how he cannot play right tackle).

So as a result, Smith has never got the benefit of the doubt, and he may never from fans no matter how much longer he is on the team.

(Joe is waiting for the day a player’s agent sues the PFF tribe for either defamation or business damages for the crap they pump out.)

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has heard and/or read people popping off about Smith and Thursday he had a direct question for those who believe Koetter should bench Smith or worse, cut him.

Koetter was asked if Smith was improving on his consistency and Koetter launched into both a strong defense of his left tackle, and slammed Smith’s critics.

Smith is playing “better than most people think,” Koetter said. “Every time I get asked about this and I say what I’m about to say then the critics come back and they name off the people they’d rather have. But guess what? Those people they’d rather have aren’t available. Those elite left tackles you think you’re going to get are under contract by another team and they’re not going to come free.

“I think Donovan is a much better player than he’s given credit for. Can he have some plays at times that don’t look great to the eye test? Yes – most players do. I just think that Donovan is a much more valuable piece than people think.”

Joe would not be shocked if Smith was franchised next season for a prove-it contract. Yes, Joe understands folks may have fallen off their chairs reading this. It’s the current nature of the NFL, where there is an offensive line crisis.

There is no doubt in Joe’s mind if the Bucs let Smith go as a free agent after this season, Smith will start for a new team with a fat contract. Then, as Koetter mentioned, what do the Bucs have?

Shoot, The Athletic just ran an exhaustive feature on why the NFL is buffaloed in trying to project college offensive linemen into the NFL in the age of the spread-option. That’s one of many reasons offered why the NFL is in the midst of an offensive line crisis.

The way Joe looks at it, so many folks are willing to give America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, another year with a new coach to see what might happen. Why not offer the same luxury to Smith? The only coaches he has known in the NFL are George Warhop and Koetter.

Joe’s not saying Smith is the next Tony Boselli. But the Bucs could do much, much worse. Anyone ever heard of that pylon known as Ereck Flowers, a former top-ten draft pick?

41 Responses to “Who Is Better That’s Available?”

  1. jjbucfan Says:

    Must be Stat geeks not football guys. Sorry but you cannot watch our games and say this guy should be protecting our QB’s backside. If he is doing well in the run game- move him to guard where every team but us had him pegged to play at the NFL level. All said his feet were too slow and he took plays off which can get your QB killed. It is amazing that 5 years in, those are still his problems. Move his a$$ to guard where he can become an All Pro, move Ali Marpet back to RG where he belongs even though he had a pretty good year at LG. Pick up the kid from Alabama or the kid from Mississippi. We can probably get either even in a trade down scenario. Go pay the the best RT on the FA market, not the best out there, but the best that fits our new offensive scheme. Yes folks-there is a huge difference as we have found out in FA over the past 5-10 years. BPA that doesn’t fit our schemes = Anthony Collins and JR Sweezy not to mention numerous defensive players. Now that I have fixed the Bucs, LOL Merry Christmas to everyone here, even the haters, let’s all ask Santa for a playoff year next year no matter who is at QB or LT or DT and no matter who the coaches are. Go Bucs!!

  2. jjbucfan Says:

    Joe why would you play RT or G when coming up on a contract year? LT worth what 3-5 mill more a year? Of course he is going to say he can’t play those positions, not everyone is unselfish like Marpet and Pamphile and Evan Smith. He has played LT his entire professional career, I don’t blame him for wanting LT money, he just isn’t worth that in my opinion. BTW, why would you ever listen to what Koetter thinks, that guy keeps playing Benenoch and kept Doug Martin in. Dude actually suck as a talent evaluator, IMHO.

  3. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Donavan definitely has that key ability that Dungy, Parcell and others like to talk about. Donavan has availability. He shows up every game!!!! Is there any other Buc on the roster right now who can make that claim.

  4. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    JOE,,, really well-written article in laying out the back-n-forth that we all end up doing, when it comes to Donovan Smith.

    I have been on both sides of this fence, most recently the side of letting him go. But I am open to the scenario you laid out, with him maybe getting a 2nd look from a new coaching staff.

  5. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    @JJ,, right back atcha man, MERRY CHRISTMAS.

  6. gotbbucs Says:

    The reality is that this probably isnt the coach or GM that will be making the decision so this discussion is pointless.

  7. Joel Says:

    Is this a real discussion??

    Doesn’t matter who’s available.

    Smith is awful. No reason to resign him. So you look elsewhere.

  8. SteveK Says:

    I would see how the draft shakes out, and Jonah Williams- OT Bama, Greg Little- OT Ole Miss are two exciting prospects.

    I also like OL Dalton Risner from KSU, or Isaiah Prince from Ohio State, or Mitch Hyatt from Clemson.

    Perhaps the Bucs draft a talented LT prospect, and spend that extensionmoney on another position?

  9. martinii Says:

    Just an afterthought but if you had a RB that could consistently make the first man miss our OL including Smith would look much better. Additionally Jameis makes some of his best passes when he becomes mobile. It’s not just Smith and the OL that should receive all the blame.

  10. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    I suspect that Dirk Koetter knows he is on his way out, and is just wanting to help his guys and their future careers with positive comments on their game. This is who he is, and why the players love him. But I still think it is the right time for him to move on.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Connect your “keep him” argument to the amount of money it will take, and then tell me he’s worth that. I can show you a dozen other positions on the team where that $15 million a year would be better used. There is NO benefit to paying elite money to average players Joe.

  12. Bucs Fan #7423 Says:

    This is true, but he’s lazy, so pay him a relatively lazy amount of dollars

  13. Joe Says:

    Thanks Demon!

  14. Sarasota Garey Says:

    Franchise Tag, draft o line early next 2 yrs, till we can replace him.

  15. Owlykat Says:

    PFF can count the number of sacks allowed and pressures allowed by Turnstyle Smith. Any Bucs fan can do the same. It doesn’t take a scout to say so. Go back and pull the Lindy’s Draft Issue when Turnstyle Smith was drafted and they are experienced football authorities and they already had spotted Smith’s pass blocking ineptness and commented on it and said he would be needed to be moved to Guard in the NFL. Koetter is just repeating what he hears from his pet Warhop who would have to be the worst OL Coach in the NFL. If Koetter had just cut both Warhop and Smith at the end of last year and gotten competent replacements he would not be losing his job now. His stubborn support of his dumb pets is what has taken him down! He can take Rogers with him too, his other pet! There are plenty of better LTs in College right now. Let the next HC either move Smith to Guard or trade or cut him. If another NFL Team is stupid enough to play him at LT we will have a ball watching PFF and Nassib run around him and a have a field day destroying their QB! There were dumb fool Bucs Coaches here before who thought Glennon was a Franchise QB in the making too. They got fired as well!

  16. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Klueless is the worst evaluator of talent, how to use players correctly and hire experienced coaches on his staff…

    We are rotton to the core”

    Kobe Faker

  17. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Bravo Dirk. This is a great example of how to give someone a compliment without really giving them a compliment.

    Better than most people think. Well most people think he is lousy.

  18. LakeLand Says:

    I can’t really evaluate the play of the Bucs offensive line

    It’s hard for a o-lineman to hold off a pass rusher
    When he’s in a pass happy vertical offense
    It take awhile for a WR to get open 30 yards up field
    And as far as run blocking
    I don’t see the talent at the RB position
    And the run plays are too predictable

  19. tmaxcon Says:

    the entire bucs roster is a collection of bums that bucs have had to SETTLE for and that low standard bucfan actually thinks has talent even whne results prove otherwise…

  20. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Kobe went to walmart to do some late christmas shopping…

    Some homeless bums were selling dvds of Stormy Davis or Tampa bay Bucs vs Atlanta tickets for $2

    Cant wait to get home and see it ”

    Kobe Faker

  21. BucTown Says:

    Ya see Joe, the problem is you think Jameis is of NFL starting caliber. Makes it that much more difficult for you to properly appraise a bum like D Smith.

  22. TOM Says:

    Jonah Williams best LT in draft. I happen to like Risner K state more than Little. Also like the kid from N Illinois. Forget his name. Once again Koetter opened his mouth and proved what a bad evaluater he is, along with Licht. D. Smith deserves no more than 6 mil a year, or let him walk along with Bennoch. Be sure Licht, Koetter & Warhop go to.

  23. Not there yet Says:

    Stupid argument but I don’t care what Koetter or anyone on this coaching staff says because they are pathetic. Who’s better that’s available… he’s had that same mentality on Chris conte but who’s talking about him now. Same goes for benonoch and he said the same type of things about running back last year and about Mike Smith. endorsement from this poor excuse of a head coach means nothing. Lovie got rid of Donald penn then drafted this guy in the second round, now the narrative is we are stuck with him. That’s the kind of mentality that is leading Koetter to the unemployment line.

  24. Not there yet Says:

    We didn’t look at free agency to replace Donald Penn and we don’t have to in order to replace Donovan Smith. The worst thing about this coach and his staff is they keep investing time into players that they have no faith to fill in when a starter goes down. Being scared to replace smith who is average at best with a low motor, always caught standing around is asinine.

    Dirk is a horrible evaluator, who here thought Isaiah Johnson would be better than Keith Tandy? They have no idea how to coach or evaluate or teach. Loser big time loser and I doubt a new coach will fear letting smith walk in free agency

  25. Hodad Says:

    With big money going to Marpet, and Jensen the real question is can they afford to spend that kind of cap money on another underachiever? They might have to draft a L.T. for that reason alone, getting a L.T. on rookie salary for four years. Remember they’ll need to find s R.G., and R.T. also.

  26. Bobby M. Says:

    Top 5 pick seems like it could produce legit competition or an upgrade at LT. We have to upgrade the line

  27. ATrain Says:

    Why are we even talking about the Left Side

    The Right Side is a merry go round

    Fix that then let’s see what happens

  28. First Down Tampa Bay Says:


    Well said. Considering how awful the right side is, we aren’t in a position where we can start a total rebuild of the OLine, fix the right, then the left.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    We are going to stay 6-10 forever

  30. Destinjohnny Says:

    We are going to stay 6-10 forever

  31. Rojas Says:

    My 10 year old can block better than Smith

  32. D1 Says:

    Not there,

    If dirk is handsoff with the defense and he’s not the GM. ..how the fck is he a bad talent evaluator for the Tandy decision. When he doesn’t coach the d or aquire the talent ..
    I mean it’s just fing retarded what you just said… NDOG is right ……

  33. Mike Says:

    Status Woe
    Low Expectations
    Losers Mentality
    Pathetic Paradigm


  34. denjoe Says:

    People who don’t remember some of the terrible buc’s teams, under value some of our players. 3 to 4 interceptions a game was normal for the QB’s we used to have. Them getting sacked 4 or 5 times a game was also normal. We have some decent talent here, enough for a GOOD GM and coach to work with for sure.

  35. Tnew Says:

    Franchise him and see what happens with a different o line coach

  36. SchwiftyBuc Says:

    Koetter defending players who don’t give 100 percent effort, and always have at least a handful of plays per game that kill a drive or get the QB maimed, makes me sick.

    Should have fired his a$$ last season dammit.

  37. gofortheface30 Says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of Smith personally but he’s available and a workhorse. Left tackle doesnt rank in the top 10 of concerns. However – WHYYYYYYYYYY aren’t we asking heavier hitting questions about the right side of the line? That is an abomination. Why in the FK isn’t anyone pressing on dirk or Licht for that matter on Benenoch or the development of Cappa. Is Cappa that awful that he can’t slide in for the worst RG in recent memory? In Lichts defense, he DID want to draft Quenton Nelson, whom Joe Poo Poo’d. Just some guy having the best rookie season of an offensive lineman maybe ever.

  38. Dapostman Says:

    Donovan Smith is always available to play.

    So is a saloon door in my kitchen but I’d rather not.

  39. catcard202 Says:

    With only 6 draft picks in 2019… The Bucs best option is to apply nonexclusive franchise tag on D.Smith & hope he finds a buyer elsewhere…(to reap draft pick compensation). He’s a middle of the road NFL LT…But it’s not worth starting a rookie, in JW3’s 5th yr option yr.

    Now, If the FO can pull another draft day trade-back steal & gain 2 more picks in the 1st 3 rds…They could think of targeting his replacement in this draft class…But more likely scenario is 2020 draft.

  40. gofortheface30 Says:

    Dapostman Says:
    December 22nd, 2018 at 6:19 pm
    Donovan Smith is always available to play.

    So is a saloon door in my kitchen but I’d rather not

    Doesn’t matter. Right guard, right tackle, cornerback, another edge rusher and/or interior lineman especially of GMC doesn’t come back, Running Back – all bigger needs than replacing donovan smith, and guess what youre not gnna be able to address all of them in one offseason. Priorities. It’s the same logic for wanting to replace Winston. Making a lateral move or leveling down by going out and signing a Kirk Cousins or Keenum solves NOTHING

  41. lambchop Says:

    If the OL sucks, Winston just needs to get rid of the ball quicker. You can’t hold onto the ball past your 3rd read and think that line is going to hold their blocks.

    The problem I have with D. Smith is if you suck at least you can move the protection to the left. But, he plays well enough to lull you into not knowing when he’s going to loaf. That’s dangerous as hell.