Jensen: Criticism A Little Unfair

February 12th, 2019

Defends Bucs o-line.

Joe is just numb to it.

Every year since Joe first launched this here website during Chucky’s final training camp as Bucs coach, without fail each year the biggest gripe Bucs fans have about their team is the offensive line. Year in and year out, week in and week out.

And it doesn’t matter who the offensive linemen are, Bucs fans can’t wait to get rid of them. Joe remembers well how fans screamed as if the IRS locked up their checking accounts, claiming Donald Penn was worthless AF and should be run out of town on the next bus leaving Tampa.

When Joe heard Super Bowl-winning quarterback Phil Simms say that in his travels for CBS Sports the two Monday things heard on local sports radio, no matter city, is fans freaking out about the offensive line and playcalling.

That resonated with Joe. Sometimes, Joe thinks people holler about the offensive line simply out of habit.

Five years ago in 2014, when inept Lovie Smith took over the Bucs, fans had a right to scream about the offensive line. It was truly horrid. Only two starters from that season returned to start a year later. And two starters were so rotten, Anthony Collins and Patrick Omameh, they were replaced by rookies — Collins was so pitiful at the end of November the Bucs told him to go home and not come back. He never played another snap of football — for any team.

Partly because Joe doesn’t expect five pancake blocks on each and every snap and is numb to the hollering, Joe doesn’t think the offensive line is that bad but Joe knows that’s a minority opinion.

Last week, Bucs starting center Ryan Jensen appeared on the “Locked In” podcast on and was asked about how many Bucs fans are flipping out about the offensive line.

While Jensen admitted the line didn’t play flawlessly, he also said the over-the-top criticism is a bit unfair.

“You know, as an offensive lineman, I don’t want to say you get used to it but when things go downhill on offense and things aren’t happening, a lot of the time, the offensive line is the scapegoat,” Jensen said. “You look at what we did on offense, and we were a top-five offense, besides in the running game – that’s one thing we have to be better at. You can’t be a one-sided offense. You have to be able to have a running attack. That starts with the guys up front.

“The run game, there is a lot of minor details that have to be taken into account. … There are some things we did wrong. We had missed assignments and mental errors.

“In the end, we were a top-five offense. You can’t have that unless the guys in front of the quarterback who are blocking their arses off.”

Joe believes that is fair. Jensen did not dismiss the fact the line could improve but also stated how it played well. The Bucs led the NFL in passing yards per game. That would be hard to pull off if the offensive line allowed a jailbreak each and every dropback.

Can the Bucs improve there? Sure.

One can start at right guard, though Jensen defended Caleb Benenoch and claimed he was turning the corner towards the end of the season. Too bad it wasn’t the corner at the exit of One Buc Palace and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

49 Responses to “Jensen: Criticism A Little Unfair”

  1. joestang Says:

    Jensen could be a little bit smarter and not get so many personal fouls that cost the team good field position or from scoring. With the exception of Marpet they are all guilty of stupid penalties that kill drives. They need to clean that up. we lost games based upon the o-lines penalties.

  2. Darin Says:

    I think part of the problem was the mindset and culture instilled by klueless. Bottom line is the pass blocking was pretty good but the run blocking wasnt. Its rare to see a run by the Bucs where the RB doent get touched before the line of scrimmage. Not just last years problem tho, this has been going on almost a decade. Pretty sure Arians will fix it.

  3. Bobby M. Says:

    This is the exact mentality that has to change. They drink their kool aid too much. The unit was undisciplined, lacked focus and at times looked incapable. They couldn’t run block AT ALL….The highest priced linemen was by far the most undisciplined. The LT who was playing for a contract looked lazy and unfocused. The RG looked incapable.

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    oline played well under “inept” lovie in 2015 when martin finished 2nd in rushing….lol…please dont remind us of that joe…lol…

    anyways, folks know the staff abandoned the run game early and often which led to predictable play calling….hard to block a dlineman when they know where the play is going….

    coaches moving marpet and benenoch back and fourth hampered their development as well….

    i hope goodwin develops cappa,wester and liedkte along with whoever we draft along the oline….


  5. Robert Says:

    he’s spot on in his assessment. The o line is fine. the decision making behind them though is that of a selfish 5 year old.

  6. SchwiftyBuc Says:

    The thing I learned from this article that if the O-line isn’t 2014 bad it really isn’t that bad.

    They stunk at run blocking for the 3rd consecutive year, had a ton of drive killing penalties, and while they certainly were better at pass blocking to start the year, Jameis and Fitz still got lit up at times this season.

    In my mind, we have 3 starting Olineman in Marpet, Jensen and Smith that are capable of being part of a top caliber protection and run-blocking unit, but it’s absolutely imperative that our starting RG and RT be replaced in this off-season.

    Luckily for me and others with a discerning eye, BA has correctly identified that the 2 things holding back the offense from being truly great is the lack of running game and need for improvement in the trench. And their are a pair of free agents that for the moment are available and could help out our team tremendously in Trent Brown and Mike Iupati.

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Bucs were 12th in scoring not top 5.
    Bucs O-line was bottom 3 in getting RB hit at or behind LOS. 2nd time in 3 years.

  8. Robert Says:

    They looked un interested, thats true…..but who wouldn’t be pissed knowing a fumble or int was coming aithin 4 plays.

    guys lose heart.

    the penalties though, they got ta go!

  9. JimmyJack Says:

    Really …….Fans said that about Penn? WTF dudes?

    That doesnt mean they are wrong this time though. I thought most were overly critical of D.Smith but he proved all the naysayers right this year. Easily the worst year of his career. It’s kneejerk to cut him though. He is worth one more year in a seperate system. Also, using the tag on him while developing behind him is the best possible plan for the position looking ahead. I defy you to come up with better plan.

  10. 813bucboi Says:


    he might have meant top 5 in yards….lol…


  11. doolnutts Says:

    Lord Cornelius — The NFL does not use scoring as a metric to determine where an NFL unit is ranked. I have no idea why, I won’t even say if I agree but I will say the bucs, in fact, did have the 3rd best offense in the league last year… This is according to the league-wide yardage metric that every NFL professional uses.

  12. scbucsfan Says:

    Might help the o line if we didn’t trot out practice squad rbs. Oh I forgot those in here still think Barber and his heart belong as a starting NFL RB.


  13. Loyaltotheend Says:

    If the Bucs franchise Donovan Smith like the Joes and others think they will the team will be paying three starters at least 10 million each. Can’t invest that kind of capital into a line that’s only average at pass blocking and awful at run blocking

  14. Bucsfanman Says:

    Schwifty- As bad as Dotson played, you could say that Smith played equally as bad. The Bucs should’ve already had a plan in place for RT knowing full well that Dotson is, at best, an average, injury-prone RT. At best!
    If anyone thinks our o-line is “OK”, I have to wonder what you’ve been watching.

  15. scbucsfan Says:

    Problem is blowing up the O line with new starters means you have to have players better to replace them

  16. JimmyJack Says:

    A lot of our pentaltys are a byproduct of being bad players.

    Some of the Carolina games are the best examples. That team usually dominates our line. They will do it all day too…….Late in the game if we get into a critical passing down our line starts getting scared……They know Carolina is coming and they know they can’t stop them. They start overthinking it start tensing up…..and poof….presnap pentalty.

    That’s called Carolina being in your head…….This is not just a boneheaded pentalty. It’s a result of getting mentaly beaten. This scenario has played itself out time and time again.

    Just another problem with this team that has been ignored and gone unfixed for years.

  17. JimmyJack Says:

    Bucsfanman ….,…I’m sure they did have a plan in place. It’s called developing young players. Something they were incapable of doing.

    Just like a G where they developed 2 players to take that spot opposite Marpet(phapmile & Benechot)…and both were proven to be developmental failures.

    Good teams don’t have this problem because you see these developing players in practice every day. If they’re not good enough you simply replace them.

    Apparently our staff didn’t know what a NFL caliber lineman is supposted to look like and stuck with their guys. As much as it’s only the players it is just as much on the FO and staff for misevaluated their own team.

  18. SchwiftyBuc Says:


    Smith without a doubt had his worst year as a pro in 2018. But I also am under the impression that he was the most injured he’s been as a pro in 2018 as well.

    I think Smith is capable of being a good starter in a much better offensive system and a clean bill of health.

    Smith, Marpet, Jensen, Iupati, Brown. That’s an O-line that more than likely could throw it’s weight around and finally improve the bad runblocking around here for 3 seasons straight, while not requiring the investment of any signficant draft capital in a draft that’s FLUSH with impact players along the D-line when we need to reload at that position group.

    I say tag him and give him one more shot to earn a long term deal. But not addressing RG and RT would be negligent to the max.

  19. Buc4evr Says:

    I think we have one decent player on the O-line – Jensen. The rest are back-ups that can’t run block and can never pick up a bull rush. The big problem is that the NFL is so short of O-lineman that the Bucs will struggle to find better players. Not sure I can take another season of Smith at LT…. Sad situation that Jason Gump has gotten us into.

  20. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Yeah I get it’s yardage but I only care about points personally lol. At least if you’re going to tout yourself at being really good at something.

  21. DB55 Says:

    How many times did the QB get hit? Sacked? Or had to scramble?

    The left side of the line may be serviceable but Dotson and Caleb gotta go.

    No mention of Caled and Smith rotating every other play either that in itself throws this entire argument out the window.

  22. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    @ Buc4ever “I think we have one decent player on the O-line – Jensen. The rest are back-ups that can’t run block and can never pick up a bull rush.”

    Ali Marpet is our best OL player – hands down. Don’t know how you missed him.

  23. Bucsfanman Says:

    JimmyJack- They definitely failed in that aspect, IMO.
    What truly perplexed me all year was the insistence on starting Benenoch. There was NOBODY else?! Nobody?! I mean we would’ve been way better off with Evans in there and that’s saying something!!!

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We simply haven’t made the investment in our Oline…….not one 1st round pick. Most teams have 1 or 2…..year after year we pass on the top talent…….we have developmental players like Kadeem Edwards, Kevin Pamphile & Caleb Benenoch and none of them worked out……now we have Donovan Smith who is questionable.
    I know it isn’t sexy to pick a Olneman high in the draft…..but the good ones play for 10-12 years…..

  25. JimmyJack Says:

    Bucsfanman…..There was somebody else. There is always somebody else. Washington prooved that to us when they played us with guys off the streets.

    It is puzzling why they didn’t cut somebody and recruit some help. Perhaps didn’t want to let any invested players walk til they brought in a new staff…..knowing Dirk was dead Man walking.

  26. Bucsfanman Says:

    Schwifty- He might still be here next season but he’s going to be held to a much higher standard, AND with the microscope on him.
    Agree totally on RG and RT. What are your thoughts on guys like Cappa, Wester, and Liedtke? Can you envision one of those guys taking over a spot?

    Don’t get me wrong, Brown and Iupati would be nice additions. Just wondering what the consensus was on the other guys.

  27. SchwiftyBuc Says:

    I see Cappa as a player with good upside and potential who is still needs to refine his technique and handwork. Liedtke had a good showing in the one preseason game he started but that’s an incredibly small sample size so he’s a question mark. And in my eyes Wester is just a guy.

  28. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Joe says Lovee was inept, but doesn’t mention coaching staff of last 2 years.
    Agree wuth Schwiftybuc- need 2 new starters on OL and better coaching and scheme

  29. Joe in Michigan Says:

    We can improve our offensive line with better coaching, maybe one free agent and a few draft picks. The people that are talking about Jawaan Taylor as our pick in the first round…I’d be okay if he fell and we drafted him in the second round. Taking a right tackle that high would be a waste of draft capital, as bad as taking a kicker in the second round. As for the people who project Taylor at left tackle, if that was his position he woulda beat out Martez Ivey. We already made the “projection to LT” mistake with Kenyatta Walker. Take the best pass rusher available with our 1st pick, IMO.

  30. GhostofSchiano Says:

    IF Licht wants to get serious, trim some more fat, put Glazer loot $$$$$$ on the table in front of Free Agents Trent Brown to replace Dotson and either Rodger Saffold or Ramon Foster to replace Benoch/Smith.


  31. Not there yet Says:

    I get it and probably unfair because most of the blame was thrown at the sorry right guard and also warhop and his buddy Koetter were garbage coaches. I think now that we have a competent coach no one will be able to escape criticism on offense or defense including the quarterback. I thought they always needed a decent coach so whoever sucks this year just flat out sucks

  32. Widerightandleft Says:

    jameis Winston is sometimes running milliseconds after the snap.Rarely is there a hole a thin running back can make it through.
    I dont think all the o-line is bad but there sure is room for improvement ,especially the run blocking.Can you imagine hoe lethal the bucs offense would be if they had a legitimate running game?

  33. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Here is the problem with this team: reading press clippings and being the paper champs! …TOP 5 OFFENSE??! The players believe this? Points for and points against are the only barometers. MENTALLY WEAK TEAM, INDEED!

  34. bucsfaninchina Says:

    bro, when have we had an at least competent line since you launched your site? Fans absolutely have an opportunity to b*tch and moan about this team as NOTHING CHANGES. the Bucs have chronic problems that just don’t get fixed, no matter who is running the show.

    Since I’ve been closely following the team since 2010 these areas literally have never been a strong point of the Bucs:

    D line (this year was the first time I can say we had actual players on the line)
    O line

  35. BigMacAttack Says:

    Too many penalties at in opportune times, especially Jensen and all of his stupid personal fouls. I like his mean streak but when the whistle blows, STOP, you idiot. This o line was as guilty as any other unit on the team when it came to losses.

  36. Pickgrin Says:

    “Joe doesn’t think the offensive line is that bad”

    We know – We know – Joe. It’s all Doug Martin’s fault…. Oh wait…..

    Joe – do you know who else disagrees with you? Bruce Arians! Ya-know, the new sheriff in town….

    In fact – its one of the first things BA said when he got here. That the OLine needs to improve. Not the Defense. Not the Kicking. Not the special teams – all of which were piss-poor last year – and the year before – The OLine was the only unit he singled out for poor play.

    What does that tell ya?

    We have a center and a guard – both playing OK – but inconsistently and neither came close to living up to their advanced pay grade last year.

    We have a very inconsistent LT who now thinks he should be paid like a Paul Gruber – yet his tape more closely resembles a Kenyatta Walker….

    We have a RT turning 33 years old. A UDFA who may well be our most consistently decent Lineman – when he’s not injured….

    And then there’s Caleb Benenoch…..

  37. Miller5252 Says:

    I still remember that time Bucs where playing the Vikings and Penn pissed off Jared Allen by hitting him in the face. The next 2 plays Jared Allen made pig Penn look like a collage lineman and sacking the QB.

    I liked how Penn played in the trenches and it sucked to see him go and continue on being a good lineman. I think Jensen has been good for the line, yes makes stupid plays sometimes, but that nasty in the trenches is what Tampa needs, no more of the soft play. Plus Jensen is always that guy that will defend his QB and make people think twice about hitting him late.

  38. The Buc Realist Says:

    Once again, the realist tells it “how it is” a year before the sheep start to wonder what happened!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 season will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Its another “realist repost”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    June 20th, 2018 at 12:08 pm
    Joe, keeps trying to say how great the Bucs O-line is every year!!!! But then every offseason, there is massive turnover on the Bucs O-line!!!!!!!!

    And from some of the highlights I saw of Jensen, the one thing I noticed, was how reckless his play was at times!!!!!! I don’t know how many penalties he got last year, But if he is wearing a Bucs uniform and plays like that, we will see many yellow flags being thrown!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. 813bucboi Says:


    you continue to bash every aspect of the team except the coaching!!!!…once again their are massive turnover to the staff!!!!!

    going back and watching some games from 2018, i noticed how lost and clueless the defenders were while smitty was running the show!!!!!…..i noticed how predictable the play calling was and how the offense or defense never seemed to adjust!!!!!!!…..

    look at the 2018 film and you’ll see why smitty to selling books and not coaching in the NFL!!!!!!!!!


  40. Rod Munch Says:

    Jensen had one year of starting after he was forced into the Ravens lineup because of injury, and he had a nice year. From that the Bucs made him the highest paid center in the NFL, you know, because he’s mean, GRRRRRR, and so what if he gets 15-yard penalties all the time, he’s mean, and that helps the team because, GRRRR!!!! He doesn’t read comic books either, GRRRRR!!!!

    Anywho if you want to be a tough guy, then do it in the pile when the refs can’t see it you moron. Also for the dopes that love the tough guy routine because it makes everyone else tough… well, what happened to that part of the equation? I mean the same people that would say how great it was to get 15 yard penalties were the ones that would say everyone else not getting 15-yarders were “soft”. So I guess the tough guy routine really didn’t do anything to make everyone else tough.

  41. Jean Lafitte Says:

    What’s unfair is telling fans who have eyes that you are being judged unfairly. What’s “really” unfair is how we fans have to endure all the damn losing. You suck at run blocking which is 50% of your job.

  42. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I agree with Joe Stang that Jensen had a couple of poorly timed penalties but most of his flags were not ill timed.

    I do not like dead ball fouls that are stupid…the worst being offsides. But Jensen was the ONLY player on the line who made it clear to opposing D’s that he wasn’t taking any spit.

    Jensen and Jameis and ME may have been the only truly physical players we had on offense. I LOVE his attitude and I can eat some of his penalties if he picks the right situations and time to send his message.

    Sad when your QB is one of the three offensive players with a badarse mean attitude. You can fault JW for plenty but never his toughness.

  43. Old School Athlete Says:

    As usual, bucboi is spot on. Out opponent knew exactly what we going to do at least half the time.

  44. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Here are the only problems with the Oline:

    Demar Dotson needs to retire.
    Leidkte and Wester are not under contract.
    Caleb should be depth.
    Marpet should be playing his original position.

  45. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    doolnutts Says:
    Lord Cornelius — I will say the bucs, in fact, did have the 3rd XXXbestXXX >>RATED<>BY YARDS<< in the league last year… This is according to the league-wide yardage metric that every NFL professional uses.

    There. Fixed it.

  46. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    SchwiftyBuc Says:
    Smith, Marpet, Jensen, Iupati, Brown.

    Brown, Smith, Jensen, Marpet, Leidke/Wester
    Leidke, Smith, Jensen, Marpet, Brown/Wester

    These IF we keep Smith. If not, Iupati in play? I believe, though, that between Cappa, Leidke, and Wester, we have a group that is at least very good depth. I’m with those who believe they can be coached up with only 1 free agent and one early draft pick thrown in.

    Dotson is still effective, IMO, with a better guard next to him. Even moving him to guard may be an option if he really has slowed down.

    At least 2 of 3 early round picks should be defensive line. This is by far the strength of this draft, and would be a shame to waste.

  47. John B Says:

    Jensen needs to wake up, the Oline is not good, needs three new starters and he needs to cut his penalties by 90% or get cut next offseason

    I hope and pray thenew regime shakes that line up first thing out the gate

    Move Ali back to RG and rebuild the rest – FA and draft pick at each of the other 3 spots

  48. RickinFtMyers Says:

    Fans and pundits alike, and yes that includes you Joe, often rail about the offensive line, the defensive line, the this and the that as the cause for their team’s woes. Unfortunately, as fans and pundits, all we see are the results of each play. We aren’t privy to a key detail, what was the play called and what was each of he 11 players supposed to do. Without knowing what each player and that includes what each of the five guys on the offensive line was supposed to do, there is no way we can credibly comment. Sure, as Joe points out, if every time the Bucs drop back to pass Jameis Winston is faced with a jailbreak rush, then sure the offensive line is a mess. But, when we see Donovan Smith get beat without knowing a running back was supposed to help with a chip block that didn’t materialize any criticism of Smith starts to lack credibility. As always when it comes to NFL fans and pundits, not knowing what we don’t know is biting us in the butt.

  49. unbelievable Says:

    “besides in the running game”


    No one cares that you’re #5 is passing yards (NOT POINTS, which are all that matters).