The Ditch Dotson Line

December 18th, 2019

Joe hears over and over from fans and media that the Bucs should replace right tackle Demar Dotson.

Why? Because he’s old? Because the Bucs want to do something goofy and draft a right tackle in the first round?

First, Bucco Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich know Dotson can pass block very well. He’s proven it.

And in case anyone missed it, the Bucs are a humming passing offense. Remember the one game Dotson missed this season? See the seven-sack England debacle.

Second, consider how Arians said before the season that Dotson isn’t much of a run blocker. It was a classic exchange between Joe and the head coach. What did you see from Demar Dotson on film, studying him and making the call to bring him back?

Bruce Arians: I mean he can still pass block. I mean, to me, that’s where you start. Can he get better in the running game? Yeah. But, you know, sometimes you’re asking a guy [and] he just physically can’t do something. I’ve had a couple of tackles that were really good pass blockers that couldn’t cut off to the left. Don’t ask him to. It’s no secret. We’ll run some plays just one way. Alright. It’s the only [play] in the game and we’re going to run it right. They know it. We know it. Stop it. You know, but don’t ask him to do a bunch of that. You still have to do some of it. But don’t ask him to do a bunch of it because he’s going to lose. But he can still block.

There’s a reason Arians did nothing significant at offensive line in free agency or the draft last offseason.  He wanted the continuity and thought he could work what he had. Meanwhile, the Bucs are a high-octane offense.

Dotson missed one game last season and one this season. He’s durable and the pending free agent pulled in $4.8 million for 2019. Joe suspects he’d come cheaper in 2020, as most 34-year-old veterans do.

Arians talked on the Buccaneers Radio Network this week about the special durability of the current line, and he’s spoken of how he’s a believer in O-line chemistry as a philosophy.

The Bucs won’t be able to pay everyone, but Dotson has real value in a league hurting for quality offensive linemen.

Joe’s all in favor of the Bucs drafting a right tackle, but the urgency to replace Dotson immediately is misplaced, as was the August O-line freakout by legions of fans.

Draft a tackle later and let them compete.

TAMPA TWO!! Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks and victory-sweater-wearing columnist Ira Kaufman review the Bucs win in Detroit, including the defense playing through mistakes. And Brooks shares his thoughts on the absent Bucs’ running game, and more. TAMPA TWO is presented by Caldeo Air Conditioning & Heating. Another great production from The Identity Tampa Bay and Joe.

56 Responses to “The Ditch Dotson Line”

  1. WinnipegBucsFan Says:

    I know Arians said he didn’t believe in drafting lineman because he believes you have to develop them and if drafted you are drafting them for the next head coach. But would he draft one if he believed the next head coach of the buccaneers might be Bryon Leftwich or maybe Todd Bowles…
    That is something I wonder about.
    Cappa developing quickly as a late third-rounder might have changed his perception a bit.–Joe

  2. AwShbucs Says:

    Dude cant run block. Dude is old. Dude is good for one drive killing penalty per game. Dude will only get worse the older he gets. Dude has got to go.

  3. Buczilla Says:

    I’d rather we draft a defensive lineman or running back (pull the band-aid off already Licht!) in the first round, but if we drafted a right tackle I wouldn’t blink an eye. The fact that our running game sucks isn’t all on the running backs so improving the offensive line should be a priority. Hell, Arians admitted that Dotson is practically useless to run behind.

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    It would be nice to have a RT that can pass and rub block….

    We gotta draft DT..DE..OL..OL…don’t care what order….


  5. 813bucboi Says:


  6. AwShbucs Says:

    Also, the suggestion that drafting a Right Tackle in the first round is goofy, might just be the worst take I’ve seen in a while.

    There are just as many premium pass rushers in this league who line up against Right Tackles. One of the very best of them is in our division. His name is Cam Jordan.

    Outside of kickers, punters, and long snappers, I’m really not sure why Joe (one especially) gets so hung up on drafting what positions when. It all depends on the prospect. Off hand I can distinctly remember Joe being staunchly against the idea of drafting Quenton Nelson. He went on to be a 1st team all-pro in as a rookie.

    It all depends on the prospect. If there is a dominant RT prospect available when we pick, and he’s the best player there, you take him no questions asked.

  7. JimmyJack Says:

    Either way……You cannot just write off Dotson’s age. Yeah it’s a problem. He aren’t gonna be around long-term. So we need to address that position.

    But his pass blocking is totally underrated. Last week was a great example. Don’t know what the Lions did to attack us without a LT but they certainly saw we ran extra blocking to that side…….I’m guessing they threw some things at Dotson who was kinda exposed without a LT. I don’t see him getting beat much did y’all?

    This week will be another test I’d D.Smith is out again.

    Also those who blame all our running fails on the OL are scapegoating. That’s the easy way out. RoJo sucks bad and Barber is a bruiser. Upgrade needed. Wouldn’t mind us snagging a RB we like Round 1……Or cool with a trench player. Could even get a secondary player if they love somebody. Basically lot of options to go BPA.

  8. TexBuc Says:

    I believe the 1st round pick will be a DL or Safety, 2nd RB, and finally in the 3rd OL. If someone is not going to be brought back it will be Suh and replaced with a rookie just my opinion that this is how it will shake out.

  9. MDFree Says:

    Our pass protection has been decent but we cannot consistently get a first down running on third and short. That’s a problem and we need more push up front. What if we drafted a guard in the first round and bounced Cappa too the outside? After all judging by his long stature tackle would be a much more natural position for him and he’ll bring some nasty to our right edge. I’m not in favor of drafting another running back high. Rojos got talent but he just needs to learn to be more patient behind the line and find his holes. If David Johnson gets released I’m sure ba won’t hesitate to go after him. Have them compete.

  10. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    He has given all he has left… I love the type of football player he is but athletic decline is at an ever increasing rate at his end of the road… walk away before you embarrass yourself Dot !

  11. Jameishas2go Says:

    DeMar has been a steady player but his play has dropped of over the last 2-3 years. He is penalized every game, for holding, for false start, for hands to the face etc. He has never been effective as a run blocker, even in his prime. I would not be apposed to bring him back but as a guaranteed starter, no. We need to address o-line anyway if we want to get this running game going. So if we draft a tackle early then I think we can move DeMar to the bench and Donovan over to RT.
    I know I know, he said he can’t play right tackle, he has 14.5 million reasons to do what the Bucs need him to do.

  12. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Watch the Play Off teams as they advance … they all have very good offensive lines and running games that can dominate when called upon. Dot received a Buc team award today… congratulations on your pro career… enjoy your recliner and remote control in your man cave next fall Dot !

  13. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Although I love Dot and all he’s done for the Bucs, it’s obvious he won’t be in the NFL much longer. I don’t believe we could get another year out of him. Just my opinion.
    I’d like to see us draft a Tackle that can play both sides, starting off at Right, then moving over to Left eventually. Like the Titans did with Lewan, and Panthers did with Jordan Gross some years back.

  14. jim Says:

    some key line questions

    given you are willing to live w jensen at center
    (not a given, just an assumption) questioning minds want to know:

    with marpets flexibility there are many possibilities
    finding a good college oline prospect you get to evaluate several positions
    LT LG RG or RT and take the best available

    is donovan a better lt than he is a rt or better than draft or cappa at rt?
    is donovan a better lt than he is a lg or draft? (coming out of college forecast as guard)
    is donovan a better rt than cappa ?

    is cappa a better rg or a rt ?

    if you select LT then
    smith to RT or
    smith to LG – Marpet to RG – Cappa – RT

    if you select LG then
    smith stays at LT
    marpet to RG – Cappa – RT

    if you select RG then
    Cappa – RT

    or just select RT

    Lots of moving parts depending on how you grade
    smith @ LT,LG,RT vs available draft
    cappa @ RG,RT vs available draft

    dotson is gone (or backup); marpet is a guard;
    is smith better as a LG or RT ?
    is smith better rt than cappa ?
    is cappa beter as a RG or RT ?

    hope coaches can determine the value (best use) of our existing
    resources first and then choose available collegiate talent accordingly.

  15. JimmyJack Says:

    MDFree……That’s actually a great idea. If Cappa can handle that position.

    Great observation on 3rd & 1. A critical down we have struggled with for maybe a decade now. Credit to this coaching staff to figure out how to get us running the QB sneaks……That has helped some but we still need more. Your Guard idea may just be the answer.

  16. JimmyJack Says:

    Also Cappa is a converted Tackle from college so it would not be a completely foriegn position for him.

  17. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Yes, let BA. Mike Caldwell and staff develop their own offensive linemen.

    Draft for the trenches this year, offensive and defensive linemen as well. Draft the best available at any position also.

    Continue the retool/rebuild for the championship run!

  18. TSmitty3000 Says:

    The issue is relying on Dotson and not using this year to groom a young RT in the event Dotson decides to hang it up

  19. WestChap Says:

    Hmm. I’m tempted to go pay for PFF so I can see some objective confirmation of this pass blocking prowess. My lying eyes are misleading me again?

  20. SammyRebel Says:

    Yeah. I’m down for Dotson to leave, you can tell he is getting older, always loved Dotson, but I’m all for Brian Bulaga from the packers 30 and pro bowl proven

  21. Gaston Spires Says:

    You say draft on the o line but who are you going todraft?

  22. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Draft a LT first. …Move Smith to RT.

    Quit screwing around and fix the trenches.

    We can keep Dotson as a backup.

  23. gotbbucs Says:

    No, Dotson needs to walk. It’s time to move on.

  24. pryda...sec 147 Says:

    We need to draft to build the trenches

  25. Miller5252 Says:

    Didn’t Josh Wells do a good job playing left tackle the week before? Why can’t he play right tackle next year or be the back up for both tackles next year and use a draft pick for something else. Dude came in and had a couple bad plays but did really good the rest of the way.

    I’m really stating to think the run game has a lot to do with Rojo. Watching him last week he never lets holes develop and as soon as he gets the ball it’s full bore to the hole. Barber does the same thing. Dojo needs to learn some patience and I think he would do a lot better.

  26. westernbuc Says:

    I think he’s great depth but not starter quality anymore. I don’t want to go into next season with him as our only option

  27. TexBuc Says:

    Letting D Smith go is like when we gave on Penn then we spent draft picks to replace him with a near clone. We keep D. Smith and use draft picks to add talent not replace talent. My vote would be a BIG NO on paying any RB big money. On short yardage plays line up Vita Vea as RB with another DT as fullback…

  28. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I wouldn’t mind keeping Dotson for vet min salary as depth……but he shouldn’t start…..we need to draft a RT in either round 1 or 2…….someone who will play there for a decade….

  29. orlbucfan Says:

    The idiots involved in the off season according to all the hot air on here better focus on drafting linemen for the offense and defense in the draft.

  30. Craig Says:

    Being old myself I know that injuries take longer to heal when you get here. We need more depth along the O-line. We were lucky that they held together so well this season, but what of the next one.

    We need to go for a run blocking RT to spell Demar some anyway. That doesn’t have to be in the first round. That should be used for Brad Delpit, if they can get there.

    Rounds two and three for O-line, four for a QB with an attitude because he fell to the fourth round. Five and six, maybe some more O-line

  31. Brandon Says:

    I would love to see us draft OT and DL with our first and second round picks. And then start looking at RBa in round 3.

  32. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    I love how before the season you said “The 49ers invested picks in the first round in D-Line”…yeah, they also invested in the first round a RT (McGlinchey). And so did Jason’s former colleague in Tennessee (Conklin) and so did the Eagles (Lane Johnson). Seems to be working out ok for them.

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Dotson has been on borrowed time for a couple years now.

    He’s become a slightly below average RT.

    Could he play guard?

  34. BucDan Says:

    I’ll add to the “Can Wells play RT?” line of questioning. Would be good to know, if the team was looking to replace Dotson.

    My biggest issue with Dotson the last two seasons has been the pre-snap penalties. He’s the longest tenured OL and veteran and he’s out there making dumb penalties, lacking discipline. I can deal with the occasional hands to the face or hold. Sacks also happen (just don’t have your guy be the one causing a fumble). What we can’t have is our team OG making rookie penalties.

    If his knee can heal up further this offseason, I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back to start. But a replacement, whether on the team now or drafted/picked up before the season, preferably.

  35. Ocala Says:

    Dot has had a great career but it’s obvious he is a below average NFL starting right tackle.
    If Dot wants to come back on the cheap and be the swing tackle then I’d be all for it.

  36. Clw JB Says:

    Bring him back as a reserve swing tackle at the vet minimum if he wants one more year

    Time to move on

  37. Chris l Says:

    Freak out in August by the fans? I said to relax but joe you were reallybworked yo over the Cleveland game and talked about it for a month. Don’t fall out the fans you were worried as much as them

  38. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Typical ostrich mentality…
    Keep ignoring need to upgrade OLine talent, then blame RB’s and playcalling for lack of running game.
    Arians was a RB coach back in the day – his Chief’s OLine featured a 1st round and 2 -2nd round picks , and they ran for 1700-2000 yards each year.

  39. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Also, the top 7 rushing teams this year are all making the playoffs- and they sll have top picks on OLine

  40. LaMarcus Says:

    He holds up well. Idk what that reverse choke hold he does against smaller guys. Could be flagged for that every time he does it. But no flag is good.

  41. James Walker Says:

    Dotson is done. RT is a early draft emphasis.

  42. JP_09 Says:

    Joes are becoming predictable with their articles. It’s pretty fu?xing simple Dotson needs to be replaced, maybe not this year but soon. Seems like you might not have read everything written here. –Joe Just because you draft someone in the first or second round does not mean they need to be immediately thrown into the starting lineup. It’s called a succession plan, putting pieces in place for the future………..

  43. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    BA could not fix everything in his “retool not rebuild” first year.

    This off season he will know what he wants regarding the OL, RBs and the DL (the areas many fans and commenters are now focused on). He has now seen how various guys perform in the games.

    With a year under their belts this coaching staff plus our personnel scouting staff should be even more in sync than they were this past year.

    Licht and Arians are set up to outdo what they have doe since January of 2019.

    Fans should be more trusting and a bit more optimistic this time.

  44. unbelievable Says:

    No run blocking + tons of penalties = why he needs to be replaced.

    He’s responsible for at least 60% of the big runs that have been called back. His pass protection is still decent, but all his penalties negate so many big plays and drives it hurts this team.

  45. adam from ny Says:

    arians is praising him out of respect and tenure, on his way out…

    lets get real

  46. adam from ny Says:

    once wells settled in, he did ok…but he is a back up…and if kept, should remain a back up…

    dotson has to go because just ask yourself this question…

    when you look at dotson play does he look like a twitched up guy out there ???

    the answer is a firm no…

    he’s more so huffing and puffing on his last leg…with all due respect to big dot, it is what it is in the nfl at 35…

    the man is not a back up next year…time to hang those big ole cleats up…

    we need to add a couple twitched up, frothy mouthed dudes to beef up the trenches…

    beasts who urinate down their own legs during the game… 🙂

    and that’s a fact


  47. adam from ny Says:

    so when jameis gets in the huddle he says:

    “there is fungus among us”

  48. onetrickpony Says:

    jim Says:
    December 18th, 2019 at 7:52 pm
    some key line questions

    given you are willing to live w jensen at center
    (not a given, just an assumption) questioning minds want to know:

    with marpets flexibility there are many possibilities
    finding a good college oline prospect you get to evaluate several positions
    LT LG RG or RT and take the best available

    is donovan a better lt than he is a rt or better than draft or cappa at rt?
    is donovan a better lt than he is a lg or draft? (coming out of college forecast as guard)
    is donovan a better rt than cappa ?

    is cappa a better rg or a rt ?

    if you select LT then
    smith to RT or
    smith to LG – Marpet to RG – Cappa – RT

    if you select LG then
    smith stays at LT
    marpet to RG – Cappa – RT

    if you select RG then
    Cappa – RT

    or just select RT

    Lots of moving parts depending on how you grade
    smith @ LT,LG,RT vs available draft
    cappa @ RG,RT vs available draft

    dotson is gone (or backup); marpet is a guard;
    is smith better as a LG or RT ?
    is smith better rt than cappa ?
    is cappa beter as a RG or RT ?

    dang my head hurts thinking about all that

  49. Bucsfanman Says:

    Say it again Alanbucsfan! The top RUSHING teams are making the playoffs. Top passing teams, passing QBs don’t make the playoffs without a run game.
    Asking offensive linemen to protect the QB for 35+ dropbacks a game is unreasonable AND a recipe for failure. There’s no other way to say it. You can say “passing league” till you’re blue in the face! No running game SEVERELY limits your success.

    On Dotson, he’s been needing to be replaced for a while now. I don’t care that he’s an OK pass blocker. This is no new revelation. The Bucs HAVE to find his replacement soon.

  50. lambchop Says:

    The Bucs will probably go D with the 1st Rd pick. McShay has Javon Kinlaw penciled in for us at this point. We can use S, DT.

    I wouldn’t mind Grant Delpit or Javon Kinlaw if one of those made it down.

  51. geno711 Says:


    Personally not much of a Todd McShay fan.
    I like Dane Brugler more from the Athletic.

    He has three tackles rated highly that I personally would love for the Buc’s pick this draft. Two are right tackles. Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills Jr.

  52. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    We have close to what was the greatest show on turf in this offense. The thing they had that we all know we don’t is a very good running game. People try to blame the rbs all they want but game after game you see them either getting hit or having to sidestep someone in the backfield constantly. Our Oline cannot impose its will on anyone. That’s why the Jags got gashed for over 200 yds one week but when they played us were could barely get it going. That’s why it’s a prayer on 3rd and short. Our guys simply are not strong enough st the point if attack so it’s no wonder they run straight unto the line because they know they have to make their own holes sometimes. Fix the trenches on both sides first then everything we already have will fall into place!

  53. Hodad Says:

    Is this a joke Joe? You think we should forget about drafting a RT, and ride Dotson next year? Where did Joe write that? Nowhere. Just saying Joe wouldn’t be in a hurry to toss Dotson to draft RT in Round 1 or 2. –Joe I thought you liked Jameis, and wanted us to run the ball better? Maybe Dot was our best option this year, but let’s be real, time to put him to pasture. If we release Dotson NO team would sign him to start. That’s all you need to know about keeping him another year.

  54. ocala Says:

    I watched some Iowa football and focused on Tristan Wirfs.
    I wanted to like him because I know the Bucs should highly consider an OT in the first round, but he did not look good at all to me in the games I watched.
    I am not sure why so many are so high on him. He was getting beat often, lunged a lot and was on the ground a bunch.

    The guy I really like in the first round is Mekhi Becton at Louisville.
    The guy is aggressive, a leader and gets extremely high grades from what Joe calls the nerds at PFF. He is a massive 6’7″ 370 pounds, but is surprisingly athletic.
    I think as the draft approaches he will easily end up in the first round even though he is considered a right tackle prospect.

  55. SOEbuc Says:

    Depth on both sides of the line is a very large problem. Delpit in the first, Chubba Hubbard in the second. Trade back into the second for a RT and stack the trenches with everything else.

  56. Buccaneerscotty Says:

    We do need to draft a tackle by the 2nd round Period! And DT 1st round! End of story !!!! # fix the trenches!!!!