Finding A Fresh Identity

May 27th, 2019


Let’s get real, Buc fans.

That’s what we do every day on this growing website, which is the primary reason why our pages and podcasts are the No. 1 destination for news and honest views about this franchise.

Unlike some other outlets, we aren’t beholden to anyone. In the spirit of telling it like it is, let’s take a look at an embattled position group that has much to prove this fall.

The No. 1 reason Tampa Bay supporters are bullish about their team is a new coaching staff is in place, headed by a proven winner in Bruce Arians. He has surrounded himself with a large staff, many of whom have worked with Arians in previous locations.

Better coaching is expected to yield better results – especially along an offensive line that returns virtually intact.

The Bucs have a lot of money invested in Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet and Ryan Jensen. They would like a better return on that investment.

Need to “squeeze more juice,” says Sage columnist Ira Kaufman.

Second-year pro Alex Cappa will get every opportunity to win the job at right guard, where Caleb Benenoch somehow managed to stumble his way to 16 starts. Demar Dotson, the longest-tenured Buccaneer, returns at right tackle for what is likely his final year in pewter.

The only significant addition in the offseason is Earl Watford, who will compete against Cappa. Watford goes back a long way with Arians, but he was cut by both the Jaguars and Bears in recent years and didn’t start a game for the Browns last season.

Offensive line coach Joe Gilbert and run game coordinator Harold Goodwin have to squeeze more juice out of this underperforming unit.

Flushing Finesse

One of Dirk Koetter’s biggest sins in three years as head coach was an inability to develop a credible ground game.

That stunted Jameis Winston’s progress and made the Bucs a softer team to play against. Nobody knew that more than Koetter himself.

“No matter what your identity or your perceived identity is, your identity when you really get on the field has to start with the offensive line,” Koetter said last week in his new role as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator.

The Falcons drafted two offensive linemen in the first round and signed four more in free agency to play a more physical brand of football.

There’s too much finesse on this Buc roster and not enough grit.

That’s one reason Ndamukong Suh was signed.

The Bucs need a Suh to emerge on the other side of the trenches. Drafting and developing guys up front with the right stuff has proven to be a big challenge around here.

Opening day tests

Since 2000, the only homegrown offensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl is Davin Joseph. Spanning four general managers and six head coaches, that’s hardly a track record to be proud of.

A big test will come early when the 49ers visit in Week 1, with DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford and rookie Nick Bosa all taking aim at Winston.

“Speed and violence affect the quarterback and make people do stupid things before they want to,” says San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan.

The Watford Files

Assistant head coach/run game coordinator Harold Goodwin

The Bucs must be ready with an answer. Unlike last season, when Tampa Bay enjoyed inordinate health up front, depth will be tested. Perhaps Watford’s versatility will help.

“I call Earl the Swiss Army knife,” says Goodwin. “He’s played a lot of positions. He gives me comfort from the standpoint that I know I can put him on the grass at any position and he’s going to give me all he has. That’s a little bit relaxing for me. I would like him to always available to me, from the standpoint that he could be a starter or not a starter.”

You can’t say Koetter abandoned the running game during his tenure. He tried for offensive balance, but the 2018 Bucs gained four or more yards on their first-down runs only 20.6 percent of the time.

That’s bad for Pop Warner.

Plugging that yawning hole at right guard is a first step.

“We’ve got to figure out where does Benenoch fit, where does Capp fit?” says Gilbert. “I think those will be the pieces of the puzzle that we’ve got to put together, put them in the right spot to have the chance to be successful. Cappa’s a guy, if the crap hits the fan, he could play tackle if he had to. But right now, in my mind, I envision him at right guard.”

This defense has been overhauled. Todd Bowles has lots of new toys to play with.

Not so with an offensive line that remains relatively stable. Gilbert and Goodwin are on the clock.

The Bucs need a fresh identity.

It starts right here.

31 Responses to “Finding A Fresh Identity”

  1. DooshLaRue Says:


    Speak truthfully and carry a big staff.

  2. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Certainly understand the concern but one thing that mystifies me is how Michael Liedtke is never mentioned in these conversations.

    At 6-3 305 he seemed to do a solid job when pressed into action after being mostly a practice squad player.

    Have we written him totally off already?

  3. DB55 Says:


    Can you let coach know that Richie Incognito is a free agent? Thanks

  4. I ambucfan Says:

    I agree stpete. I also do not think Cappa is a guard

  5. LocalJoker Says:

    Remember those today that gave their life for us to be free to watch football on Sunday afternoon.

  6. SOEbuc Says:


    I love Liedtke. Guy is a mean man beast and played lights out in PS last year. He switched from OG to OT and found his spot. I would’ve had no problem what so ever to start him and save $40 million of what Donovan Smith is not worth. Even if they didn’t start him, they could’ve had more time to find a LT and RG under $40 million. SMH.

    Drop JPP. If Benenoch and Cappa are getting run over by freight trains after week 3, Jason needs to make a serious move at RG.

  7. Barbosa Says:

    Time to cut JPP and get more options. Lots of good talent out there

  8. zzbuc Says:

    Ira I hace a big time respect on your person and the way you anaylze football, but I have to desagree when yo say….
    One of Dirk Koetter’s biggest sins in three years as head coach was an inability to develop a credible ground game.

    Well, he never got the talent and the players he needed, the only time we had a reliable RB he lasted just one year with severe personal issues. He never had a good or talented OL, and everybody knows this.

    I am not Koetters lawyer. I think he is an extraordinary ofensive mind and had severe defense troubles , and aldo had to deal with very inmature and big time ego players, TJ Ward, Desean, Baker even JW……But the biggest problem was not and is not on the coaching staff, the problem has been management……..Little talent, cap hell and no depth…….and we are pointing fingers to the coaches????

  9. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Liedtke is a guard that can also play tackle in a pinch but he is a prototypical guard who played guard in college. Cappa is a prototypical tackle and played only tackle in college. Only makes since to play them in their natural positions. Stop trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

  10. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    stpetebucsfan Says:
    “Certainly understand the concern but one thing that mystifies me is how Michael Liedtke is never mentioned in these conversations.”

    I concur with this remark. While I’m not a pro talent evaluator, he looked completely comfortable and competent when he got the preseason week 3 start at left tackle. It was enough to get him a roster spot. I keep expecting to hear more about him, also.

  11. Alanbucsfan Says:

    An effective running game is probably more difficult to achieve than passing game because it requires coordinated blocking effort from everyone, including receivers, to create holes for backs. It also takes a coaching staff committed to effective run game.
    Bucs may need upgrade in OLine talent, and roster is probably not set yet , but I’d bet they get a 1/2 yard per carry more than last year.

  12. Rob Says:

    Bottom line here is that if Arians doesn’t think the offensive line will be able to achieve what he envisions this offense to do, there’s no way we enter the season with the o-line we have. Better coaching will get more out of our current players, but don’t forget that when training camp comes, you’ll see surprise cuts that will enable us to add a few key pieces. BA preaches accountability, most important to himself and his coaching staff. That’s the difference between BA and Koetter, who in retrospect was way too nice to be a head coach in this league. Need to ruffle a few feathers to get wins in the NFL, and BA has the credibility to do it. Very excited to see how this season unfolds with a real coach.

  13. Barbosa Says:

    We need the defense to improve and reach the middle tiers of the NFL. If the Bucs do that, 9 wins this year. I think we have the right defensive coordinator to get there, time will tell.

  14. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Incognito is literally insane DB55. Not a joke. He stole his father’s ashes from a funeral home. He also told a cop that he was undercover for the NSA. On a 3rd occasion he said aliens had abducted him and were performing tests on him. He may be talented but mental health is no joke.

  15. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Agree totally about Incognito. These people are too lazy to simply go the internet and Wikipedia. It’s not hard.

    I genuinely appreciate you focusing me. You are so correct that mental illness is no joke. And so this time I refrain from name calling of Incognito I’ve used in the past. He’s INCREDIBLY sick.
    Just read his record.

  16. Darin Says:

    Was gona ask DB55 f he was joking. Google Incognito. He aint playing again, ever. I’d be surprised if he is alive in another 2 years.

  17. SteelStudBuc Says:


    Maybe Incognito is a scientologist

  18. I ambucfan Says:

    WhatTheBuc Says:
    May 27th, 2019 at 4:36 pm
    Incognito is literally insane

    this makes me wonder if he’s suffering from CTE?

  19. I ambucfan Says:

    WhatTheBuc Says:
    May 27th, 2019 at 4:36 pm
    Incognito is literally insane

    Maybe he has CTE?

  20. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    “Agree totally about Incognito. These people are too lazy to simply go the internet and Wikipedia. It’s not hard.”

    I went to the interweb and saw saw Richie beating a Ferrari to death with a baseball bat.

    So that’s a good thing, he won’t be driving an Italian sports car lare at night on I-95.

  21. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:


  22. Stonedbuc Says:

    @Whatthebuc. Do you know that hose things aren’t true about incognito? Or do you believe everything the media tells you?

  23. Mike Johnson Says:

    I’m sick & tired of predicting what will be. The season tells no lies. Your record will indicate what you are. Sorry fellow Buc fans, Save the pom-poms for the young and optimistic. I simply cannot/will not buy into the hype. Been there done that repeatedly. Shoe me..come September.

  24. DB55 Says:

    Incognito is a pro-bowler and what you see as a liability I see as a strength. Time to change the culture boys!!!!

    As a wise man once said:

  25. I ambucfan Says:


    As a Buc fan I’ve had beer cans and insults thrown at me but I’ve never been stoned.

  26. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Soooo…you want a player who costs us games? The locker room? Any self respect.

    Again…read the Wikipedia about what Incognito has done. His rep was built over years at many different places. But yeah I’m sure it’s all “fake news” because some people may wish to believe it.

    It would literally take too much space for me to type all the things Incognito has done…literally LOSING games for his team with brain dead penalties…getting pulled from one of those games and fighting with the Coach over it….it goes on and on and on. Stop being lazy and check it out for yourself.

    On the positive side…if we could find enough Incognitos we could change logos, those hideous unis and call ourselves the Tampa Bay Cuckoos.

  27. SenileSenior Says:

    Thanks for the stuff on the OL, Sage. I have been looking for this info. I’ve checked as many sites as I could in recent weeks to find some general discussions about why the Bucs via BA and Licht did not address the offensive line OL with more new people during free agency and in the draft.

    Things are a bit clearer now.
    Go Bucs!!!

  28. Tom S. Says:

    “Unlike some other outlets, we aren’t beholden to anyone. ”

    Amen. That’s why you’re number one, Sage.

  29. KingBuc17 Says:

    Great article and I also can’t wait to see what transpires from this new identity. we have been bad for so long it is time for a culture change, especially the defense. The only thing that still worries me is the OL.

  30. View from 132 Says:

    A fresh identity! Finally! New uniforms to place the current Arena League look? Oh, nevermind. Damn.

  31. Adam Lakers Carolla Says:

    Ira……Nick Pugliese wants you to change your 2019 Bucs prediction to 11-5 to be contrarian.