The NFL’s Offensive Line Crisis

May 5th, 2019

Takes time to develop.

For the folks who love to habitually holler about the offensive line, this post is for you.

The NFL is in an offensive line crisis. In a sense, it’s a perfect storm of NFL rules limiting contact in practice and the scourge of the rash of spread-option offenses in college.

The fact the Bucs did not draft an offensive lineman early in the draft (or at all) did not surprise Joe one bit. No, Joe had no inside information. It was just a matter of putting a puzzle together.

Last summer (unless you believe in conspiracy theories), long before Bucco Bruce Arians was being scoped out by the Bucs, Arians did an interview with Barstool Sports where he said because of the NFL’s offensive line crisis, to draft an offensive lineman high in the draft you are developing him for the next coach.

Throw in the fact the Bucs brought back four of their starting five offensive linemen with Arians saying he had no interest in rebuilding and then combining Arians’ words last summer, to Joe this added up to no offensive linemen drafted on the first two days of the draft — to the angst of those who constantly bark at their bartenders about the Bucs’ offensive line.

Last week when Bucs offensive line coach Joe Gilbert met with the Tampa Bay pen and mic club, he gave a three-minute dissertation as to why there is an offensive line crisis in the NFL. It’s a good chat. Here’s a snippet.

“People have to understand the style of offense that people are running in college — obviously, they have to run what they’ve got to do to win games — but the style is completely different than what we run in the NFL,” Gilbert said. “The time they have to hold pass blocks, half the time the guys in college, they don’t even know it is a pass block… it’s not a drop-back system. For the most part, it is a different game.”

You can see (and hear) Gilbert’s explanation starting at the 3:20 mark of the video below.

It’s rather enlightening and you have to wonder if this is why Caleb Benenoch struggled so much and perhaps why Alex Cappa, despite Benenoch’s struggles, couldn’t unseat him at right guard?

42 Responses to “The NFL’s Offensive Line Crisis”

  1. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    A quick read QB is an offensive lineman’s best friend…..cough..cough..cough…Jameis

  2. BucAllNight Says:

    no excuses but this is a great read joe… we will pickup a vet late summer at RG and be good to go this year. We will address line next year

    11-5 here we come

    Go Bucs!!

  3. Kord Says:


  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    One key for us is Cappa……we have to have success with him…..also Benenoch…..need him to excel at RT…..or it’s back to the drawing board.

  5. NPRSageBoy Says:

    Have no delusions…it’s back to the drawing board. It’s 5-11 again (or 6-10 if we’re really lucky) and both Licht and JayMiss are gone. This year is the “reload” try; next year the true housecleaning is full on.

    Go Bucs?

  6. Hodad Says:

    There are still plenty of programs that produce quality O linemen. The best guard to come out in the last ten years was Q. Nelson from N.D.. When you reach from a small school you get what’s pictured above, a bust! If O line play isn’t what it used to be in college as you say Joe, maybe we should draft them higher, and from better programs where they’re better coached, and play against greater competition then the smaller schools. Please spare me the Marpet story about the small school linemen who turned out good. I’ll give you he’s good, but not the pro bowl, all pro player low standard Buc fan thinks he is. Hey Cappa, get a hair cut.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Doubt Cappa will get a haircut…..he is from Humbolt County CA……Cannabus capital of the world…..
    Want to watch a good documentary series on Netflix….Murder Mountain…..all about Hubolt where Cappa is from…..let’s just hope he’s not a user.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Awesome video Joe. That’s the first time I’ve heard anyone satisfactorily explain the difference between college & NFL Oline blocking differences … makes perfect sense that it’d take time to develop a new OLineman the way he explained it. Also gives me a lot more hope that Cappa, Benenoch, Liedtke and/or Boozer can contribute this year.

    One thing Joe Gilbert said in that video intrigues me. He was indicating it sounded like that the left side of the OLine was fairly well set, but that the right side would be a ‘we’ll see what happens when we can see them actually butting heads in training camp’. Leads me to believe that MAYBE the OLine we start the season with isn’t what many of us thought it would be. Is Dotson’s job at RT secure? Not so sure (he is making $4.8 mil). Who’s the RG? Maybe they’ve retained Evan Smith for a reason … he’s probably better at Center than any other position. And Ryan Jensen came up as a Guard (both left & right), and might be looked at as our best option at Guard (left or right) given who else we have as OLinemen at present. Just sounds to me like NOTHING is carved in stone to this this new coaching staff. LOVE IT.

  9. Tbbucs3 Says:


    “Also Benenoch, we need him to excell at right tackle”……yea that won’t happen. The guy Simple lacks the physical strength to play o line in the NFL. Next time you go to a Bucs practice look at Caleb Benenochs legs…they look like toothpicks.

    I’m not betting on Alex Cappa or Caleb Bennoch to make it.

  10. louden Says:

    what O-Line crisis?

    it’s called “evolution of football” going from run heavy into Shot-Gun heavy era
    (and Nickel defenses)

    but a top team still needs to be able to run the ball..

    every single play starts with the both trenches so improving those should be top priority..

    but state of the Suckaneers:

    O-line: rotten
    >> will lead to bad rushing game (especially short yardage)
    >> will lead to Jameis being in much more pressure
    >> will hurt the Passing Game

    only realy good ones that are not so easy to replace:

    Godwin, OJ Howard, Mike Evans

    rest is (easy) replaceable
    only one injury away from being less than average = WR/TE corps..

    no good depth..

    so Offense isn’t in very good shape (=SuperBowl Contender Talent)

    don’t get me started with the Defense..

    just let me tell you, that besides the QB – the two Lines define a teams backbone..

    the O line is rotten (Dotson is lacking and old, even if some dump people are still talking him up, as if he is an good RT – don’t give me sh.. it about some gradings by some sites – he’s simply just not good – lacks strengh, gets overmauled way too often in run and pass game..)

    RG: is it possible to get worse?
    Marpet: i’m good with him
    Center: pffff, meeeh @ 10 Mio per year ?!
    LT D.Smith = Dotson , maybe average, easy replaceable, could have had drafted many many better players instead of Smith back then, and time and time again

    but Suckaneers suck @ drafting.. and @ evaluating talent..

    so they even decided to throw alot of money @ Donovan Smith
    and thats one of the reasons why Buccaneers are in Cap Hell, even though they got sh.. itty Talented Roster..

    MLB’s have lower value, which means you can easily get an capable MLB per Draft or FreeAgency, while pass rushers come at premium cost (FreeAgency or generall high draft pick)

    this year – many great D-liner were available (Clemson guys, and EdOliver the DT the Suckaneers weren’t drafting, will be one heck of a player barring injurys..)

    and a good DT makes whole defense better (against the run and pass), thats why they have more value then MLB’s and this guy was a freaking sure shot of top talent, while our new MLB may have great Potential, and looks to be a okay or good player, the DT had more value >>> better prospect (pretty much best player available) and we only have/had VitaVea and McCoy as good DT’s..

    as all teams tend rotate a lot, you can be very happy to have 3 very good ones.. especially since injurys happen all the time and MCoy is nearing the End of his career…

    why is it that i can see it, but the guy getting lots of money to do it for are living is too stupid to realize all that?!

    year after year i complain about things like:

    getting rid of good players (Michael Bennett as Steve White always said he should have played more)
    Matt Bryant (one of the best Kickers in the NFL)

    and now some fans even want to cut McCoy
    (when he should easily still be worth at least a 2nd round pick)
    he is old but good – maybe not very good, thats debatetable, but he is way better than anything the Bucs have at DT besides VitaVea.. but Vea is a different type of player/DT..

    and they spend too much money on too weak players like Dotson, Donovan Smith, Jensen

    and in terms of drafting:

    very often, there is still good talents on the board, but the Suckaneers just seem to like lesser talent..

    year after year i say: draft this one if available, and the Suckaneers even get the oppertunity, but they decide to get another future Suckaneer and the player i wanted goes on to have good career…

    realy year after year the same BS..

    i am better than the whole “professional” Suckaneers Organisation @ evaluating talent..

    it’s laughable
    because i am an arm chair GM..

    fans should start to boykott this Clown-Show until the Glazers decide to sign an actual intelligent football mind that is able to evaluate talent and to build a good Roster/Team..

    this Suckaneer team is full of holes, is lacking talented players and it’s even in SallaryCapHell…
    what the hfreaking heck..

    Bucsfans, join the Fire-Licht-Tonight movement!

  11. Joe Says:

    wht O-Line crisis?

    Did you watch the video?

  12. Joe Says:

    @Joe: you advocated to draft a RB

    Why do you think?

  13. Rod Munch Says:

    I agree with this, you shouldn’t ever really rely on rookies to play at any position or call them busts after their rookie reasons if highly drafted. Ronde, for example, barely played his rookie year and I remember at the time people saying he was a bust. But, with that said, the issue with Cappa is that his combine wasn’t good and he never looked good anywhere. Watching the senior ball practice highlights he was getting manhandled, and watching him in preseason last year he was getting manhandled. If he had fantastic measurables you could say he came from a small school and needs to learn technique, which would be fair, but the poor combine makes you question if he really does have the physical skills to make it.

    But, as always, just like with Ronnie Jones, I’m not calling him a bust either. If you don’t really play much and we don’t see much, it’s hard to say someone is a bust. If the coaches think he’s looks great, if he spent last year and this offseason getting in fantastic shape, then awesome. If his numbers at the combine were just do to poor diet and coaching and not having access to top level stuff since he was a D3 school guy, then great, that can take a year or so to show-up.

    Anywho I hope he turns out to be worth that 3rd round pick, if so the o-line looks much much better.

  14. SenileSenior Says:

    After having listened to several of the new coaching staff pressers here’s what I think.

    If you know your business you can talk about it. If you truly know what you are talking about you can find a way to communicate it to others.

    I am impressed with what I have heard from these guys (men and women) so far.
    Culture Change, Team=>Fans
    Go Bucs!!!!! Win Now!

  15. Alanbucsfan Says:

    “Smart, physical, finishing…”
    “Install my will over yours (opponent)”

    Sounds to me like Bucs have an OLine coach who knows what it takes to succeed

  16. louden Says:

    sorry.. got disturbed..


    i don’t understand that you use your public presemce to advocate drafting a RB while O-Line would be much more important

    not even AdrianPeterson in his prime would be good behind this line..

  17. Pryda...Sec147 Says:

    Can’t wait for training camp! I wana see these fools hit each other with pads on , see if we make a trade, pickup someone off the waivers going to be interesting next few weeks

  18. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Bucs are waiting for teams make their final cuts to 53 players. I suspect the Bucs will line up a couple good veterans.

  19. SenileSenior Says:

    Now I get why BA and Licht brought Watford in.

    BA and Arizona originally drafted him. No, he did not come at a high price or in a trade. BA knew what he was getting.

    I am willing to see how Cappa grows and see what position he will end up playing.

    What DefenseRules said also added a lot to the emerging picture for me.
    Culture Change, Team=>Fans
    Go Bucs!!!!! Win Now!

  20. TOM Says:

    Coach! I know where Bennoch & Cappa fit. The unemployment line. More BS.

  21. Todd Says:


    I may have to break down and call the authorities.

    I just got eye-raped multiple times by @louden.

    He’s ruining your discussion time and time again. This otherwise would have been some good dialogue.

  22. JimmyJack Says:

    Cappa was brought in as a developmental player.

    Not sure why anybody expected him to make a impact year 1.

    Not everybody drafted is a instant starter year one. Especially at the OL position and especially when they are from a small school & even called developmental players by the analyists.

    Y’all do realize there’s nothing wrong with grooming rookie players yo be eventual contributors, don’t you?

  23. JimmyJack Says:

    Do y’all really think that third round picks should be day 1 starters and impact players?

    That’s not even close to reality.

  24. Jean Lafitte Says:

    As far as RB, I’m actually excited that Florida native Bruce Anderson/NDSU signed as a UDFA. I’m going to say this already this early that after watching his tape, he will start the season as our 3rd down back. Bank on it!

  25. Cobraboy Says:

    Gilbert was stating the obvious for those who understand football.

    And the “OL Crisis” will continue to rise along with the RPO in the NFL.

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    If I could buy loudon for what he is worth, and sell him for what he *thinks* he’s worth, I could buy, pay the staff a King’s Ransom along with a lifetime supply of Ed Morse Cadillacs, and move JBF World Headquarters into luxury digs next door to One Buc Palace.

    Give it up, little dude.

    When someone asks you what time it is, don’t explain how to build a clock, especially with a tinker toy set.


  27. SenileSenior Says:

    Coaches at the pressers have to talk to the most knowledgeable to the least knowledgeable among the fans. Reiterating the obvious never hurts.
    Some of the same info is always new to somebody.

    Culture Change, Team=>Fans
    Go Bucs!!!!! Win Now!

  28. SenileSenior Says:


    Louden is getting awfully tiresome here!

    No, I don’t read anything he says anymore. I do have to keep stumbling over him as I go back and forth from one contributor to another in a particular discussion thread.

  29. DBS Says:

    If it was not for the negativity I would just think Louden was Bonzai. You know with the long drawn out book.

  30. Clw JB Says:

    Bullspit -we didn’t take OL b/c we got out maneuvered twice – especially the Cody Ford pick

  31. TampaTown Says:

    Good one. Just ignore the haters. Great OL analysis Joe. Nice article

  32. Ndog Says:

    JimmyJack I have given up on these people including the Joe’s as it is clear they have no idea what they are taking about. They label anyone who is not HOF worth after week 8 of their rookie year a bumb. What they don’t realize or fail to recall is that year 1 for players like Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, Barber and countless others was scary bad but yeah everyone who is not dominate year 1 sucks according to these people. Again this why I say we have one of the most clueless fan bases in the league. Not to mention they are lead around by their nose but the likes of ESPN when in reality we should all be banding together to support our team while they rip us every chance they get, regardless if it is fact or fiction.

  33. Defense Rules Says:

    @JimmyJack … “Do y’all really think that third round picks should be day 1 starters and impact players?” If you’re asking do I HOPE that our 3rd Rnd picks both become impact players, the answer is a resounding YES. Do I EXPECT that? Yes I do, at SOME POINT this season. Maybe not ‘Day 1’ but at ‘some point’ in the season.

    We picked up TWO decent players IMO. CB Jamel Dean (6’1″ & 206 lbs), if he stays healthy, will see time on the field this season I’m convinced. He did great these past 2 years at Auburn, and ran a 4.30 with a 41″ vertical jump at the combine. What’s not to like?

    And personally wouldn’t be surprised to see Mike Edwards (5’10” & 205 lbs) become a full-time starter at Safety this season. He’s a tackling machine IMO (led a SEC DBs last year with 100 tackles in 2016, then had 97 in 2017 then another 82 in 2018). And yes, got more than his share each year of INTs, TFL & pass breakups. Of note JimmyJack, have read several places that Justin Evans toe injury still hasn’t healed up completely & is still bothering him. Could be significant come preseason as the competition for starting roles heats up. And besides, Bowles has been known to put FOUR safeties out there before.

  34. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    Todd Says:
    “I just got eye-raped multiple times by @louden.”
    Don’t get in the shower. Go straight to the ER. You don’t want to ruin the chance of getting a good DNA sample from the eye sockets.

  35. macabee Says:

    The Bucs intended to upgrade the O-Line in the draft, but fate would have it go another way. At minute 2:30 of O-Line coach Joe Gilbert’s press conference, he implied that but for the Bills trading up one pick before the Bucs in round 2 that the Bucs would have taken OG/OT Cody Ford in round 2. We got a CB that I assume will be a fine addition to the secondary, but it was not the pick the Bucs preferred. The Bucs wanted to upgrade the right side of the line.

  36. catcard202 Says:

    If the thought process is that you waste $$ on drafting OL – because it takes 3yrs to get them NFL ready…Then you drafting the wrong players to begin with.

    (IMO, it’s a pretty lame excuse for passing on RT Dalton Risner (in the 2nd). That guy will start day 1 in DEN & be a All-Pro early. Book It!)

  37. Tbbucs3 Says:

    What about the “Jameis Missile Crisis?”

    How he respond in a new bombs away offense? Will it lead to more touchdowns or interceptions? To be continued…..

  38. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Ndog nailed it.


  39. Bob in Valrico Says:

    What Godwin said makes a lot of sense. something else that sticks in my craw.
    We have too many specialists, IMO.The place for specialists is on special teams.
    and a third down back. How can we succeed if we have O lineman that can’t run block. DE’s that are not good at stopping the run. There has been a lot of attention on the right side of the line,deservedly so. TE is and should be part of the mix. while Cam Brate’s injury may have held him back last year. Auclaire
    saw a lot more playing time last year and if thats what it takes to help improve
    blocking on the right side I am all for it.

  40. SkBucsfan Says:

    Ummmm. Newly drafted O-linemen may not start immediately , but you still need people to develop. This article just shows that Licht and the coaching staff have no long term plan. Does a 5-11 season mean the end of them?

  41. Bob in Valrico Says:

    hey Joe how come it appears Bonzai was in moderation over 7 hours and me for almost three. Seems the ” Loud One” gets on without moderation what gives ?

  42. Joe Says:

    hey Joe how come it appears Bonzai was in moderation over 7 hours and me for almost three.

    Unfortunately, life happens and the Joes can’t be babysitting the moderation queue 24/7. Neither of you two are in moderation. Joe’s been over this before several times. A very few people are. You two are not.