“He’s Solid Now”

January 17th, 2020

It took about 4 1/2 seasons, according to a man who’s been studying Donovan Smith since he arrived in Tampa in 2015.

Joe is impressed, not by someone calling the Bucs’ left tackle a pretty good player, but because it was former Bucs guard Ian Beckles (1990-1997). Beckles spent the first four season of Smith’s career telling his local radio/podcast audience that Smith was inconsistent and too often unmotivated.

“He’s solid now,” Beckles said with a little admiration in his voice yesterday on WDAE radio.

Yes, Beckles reminded listeners, “You know I’m not a fan [of Smith], right?” But he went on to praise Smith’s improvement in various areas (without mentioning any steps backward) and added that nobody can legitimately say Smith doesn’t belong starting at left tackle, though Beckles said Smith probably is better suited for right tackle.

No, there was no position change advocated for Smith. Beckles noted that many offensive linemen simply can’t play the side of the line they’re unaccustomed to, and he gave examples.

There really is player development happening in various areas at One Buc Palace, which is refreshing. Beckles’ take also was refreshing. Over many years, Beckles has dug his heels in on players whose games he didn’t like, such as Gerald McCoy, Gaines Adams and Barrett Ruud. Smith was one, as well, but those days have ended.

31 Responses to ““He’s Solid Now””

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We are really in pretty good shape…….need a RT & some depth……we’ve got all of our draft picks…..as long as Licht doesn’t outsmart himself like Edwards, Pamphile & Benenoch…….(you can do that later in the draft)
    But….we need to spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on a top RT….

  2. The Coroner Says:

    No matter whom the quarterback is, they can’t get hammered like Winston was.
    Beckles is right.
    Draft a tackle (number one) and move Smith to the right.

  3. Tackleblockwin Says:

    Donovan Smith yearly stats.

    2015. Started 16 games, had 11 penalties, gave up 5 sacks
    2016. Started 16 games, had 13 penalties, gave up 0 sacks
    2017. Started 16 games, had 8 penalties, gave up 5 sacks
    2018. Started 16 games, had 6 penalties, gave up 6.5 sacks
    2019. Started 15 games, had 5 penalties, gave up 5 sacks

    Does anyone remember him not giving up any sacks in 2016? That one stat alone shocked me lol.

  4. Man of Constant Sorrow Says:


  5. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    Beckles got to see what happens when D Smith is taken out for a few plays.


    Hopefully, one of the top 3 OT’s falls to the Bucs at #14.

    Hopefully, the Gumpster Fire doesn’t select that fullback from Middle North Dakota State that he’s lusting after.

  6. Dreghost Says:

    Honestly as much as i feel he’s not worth the money he makes, i really can’t recall ever complaining about him in a game! That’s always a good sign for me…but I’m with Beckles i feel he could serve the team better on the right side! Trent Williams me please and thanks

  7. lowercaseg Says:

    He gets blown Up occasionally by premier league edge rushers. Seen it time again and again. CamJordan loves going against us.

  8. 813bucboi Says:

    been saying for years….

    the problem has been coaching/ lack of development….

    d.smith played better….cappa played amazing….marpet was solid….jensen was ok….

    GO BUCS!!!!

  9. TOM Says:

    He sucks period.

  10. Man of Constant Sorrow Says:

    Draft the best LT. Let him practice against Smith in TC. The best one stays at LT and the other moves to RT. Guaranteed if a 1st round LT was given a true shot Donovan would end up being moved to RT.

    I’ve never seen a LT whiff at so many blocks on run plays as much as him. He actually looks like he’s avoiding contact. Just show a little more hustle than Donovan, and we could have a new LT. If you guys don’t believe me, go watch his film on run calls, especially to his side. He sucks. If not for Marpet the RB would never be able to gain any yards on the left side.

  11. Brandon Says:

    I liked seeing his fire when he blasted Marcus Peters at the goal line during his pick six when we played the Rams. That was the way to finish a play… might’ve been one of the hardest hits of the year.

  12. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    lowercaseg Says:
    “He gets blown Up occasionally by premier league edge rushers.”


    Who doesn’t, though?
    I mean, I don’t mean to be a simpleton, but that is WHY they are a premier league edge rusher.

  13. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Brandon Says:
    “I liked seeing his fire when he blasted Marcus Peters at the goal line during his pick six when we played the Rams.”


    BLEW his A$$ UP.

  14. Matt Says:

    He’s average but was due for a contract extension and that’s what starting LTs make, nothing less nothing more. He would be a disaster at RT, we’re stuck with him for another couple years. I hope we start drafting O-line in the first couple rounds for the next 3 years. Cappa is developing nicely and marpet is very good, we’re set at guard. Jensen is also average and we can use an upgrade there too.

  15. D-Rome Says:

    Uh oh, the mouth breathers out there are getting to the point where they have to admit the offensive line is not necessarily the problem with the Bucs pass protection stats and run stats.

    I said it all year, the line is average to above average. They are going to be excellent when they upgrade the RT position and get a few backups.

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    Actually according to PFF Dotson performed slightly higher than Smith this season. Everyone wants to run Dotson out of town. Why? He is cheap, experienced, a great teammate and he hardly ever misses games due to injury. I would bring back Dotson on a 1 year deal worth @ $2-$3 million and draft a new RT to compete with Dotson for the starting tackle job.

  17. Tackleblockwin Says:

    @ Marine Buc

    I agree. Dotson would prob be a good mentor to young T draftee too imo.

  18. Marine Buc Says:

    Tampa Bay offensive line grades according to PFF:

    LT – Smith (70.8)

    LG – Marpet (72.3)

    C – Jenson (79.3)

    RG – Cappa (62.7)

    RT – Dotson (71)

  19. Aaron Says:

    I’ve heard that Donovan can’t play the right side.

    So, if I where GM, I’d draft the Best OT at #14. (Hopefully they can play right for 1 year) than in 2021 we move him over to the left side and cut Donovan. We can’t continue to pay top 5 position dollars for average.

    I would also look for a new center. (draft one if necessary)

  20. Steve Munoz Says:

    Spend a premium pick on an offensive tackle and reign Dot as depth. The left side of our offensive line is solid. I think with a year under Cappas belt he’ll continue to develop and get better. He improved so much from his rookie year and now he gets to keep the same coaching staff! I’m stoked

  21. JimmyJack Says:

    Man I like Beckles podcast. He has never held back on Smith. One of his harshest critics. No way would he BS this. He would have no problems teeing off on Donovan if he was slacking.

    But the true proof Donovan had a good year was this comment section. Heard very little whining about Donovan. His name wouldn’t get mentioned for weeks on end. Anybody who reads this board knows many fans microscope Smith hard. If they were crying it means he was pretty dang good.

  22. jjbucfan Says:

    Marine Buc- if your grades are correct, he is worse than Dotson, LOL!! Anyone with eyes that watches our games knows he is average at best. Durable as hell though. Still gonna get our QB killed. The clip of him whiffing and falling on his face was classic.

  23. Bucsgowithbruce84 Says:

    I think our line will be much better next year as it will be cappa’s 2nd year in the system and if they draft a right tackle in the first two rounds. Smith did improve this year. Also need to say bye to barber and ogunbowale and sign Kareem Hunt. He equals both of them

  24. Marine Buc Says:

    @ jj

    Smith was graded at 70.8. Dotson was graded at 71. It’s not much but according to my math Dotson outperformed Smith by .02.

  25. Marine Buc Says:

    @ jj
    Read my first post.

    “Actually according to PFF Dotson performed slightly higher than Smith this season. Everyone wants to run Dotson out of town. Why? He is cheap, experienced, a great teammate and he hardly ever misses games due to injury. I would bring back Dotson on a 1 year deal worth @ $2-$3 million and draft a new RT to compete with Dotson for the starting tackle job.”

  26. jim Says:

    when evaluating DS at LT … if his main weakness is a below average ability to move WIDE left on DE
    who are just ok at bending … you may want to explore the LT during the draft.
    if you think you can find better, it makes sense to upgrade.

    cap wise for the entire oline, doesn’t matter @ what position the money is at.
    there will be two first contracts – 3 $10M unless renegotiation

    with marpets flexibility

    if you can draft a better left tackle – do it.

    move ds to left guard (where he was projected coming out of college
    and he already got his lt $$ second contract so he won’t mind and he won’t
    have to go to right side which he claims he can’t play well)

    move marpet back to rg, cappa to rt and dotson to oline depth.

    there are many possibilities
    finding a good college oline prospect you get to evaluate all oline positions
    and take the best available

    then mix and match existing line

    if you take lt then
    ds to lg
    jensen center
    marpet rg
    cappa rt

    if you take lg then
    ds lt
    draft lg
    jensen center
    marpet rg
    cappa rt

    if you take a center
    ds lt
    marpet/jensen lg
    draft center
    marpet/jensen rg
    cappa rt

    if you take a rg then
    ds lt
    marpet lg
    jensen c
    draft rg
    cappa rt

    if you take a rt then
    ds lt
    marpet lg
    jensen center
    cappa rg
    draft rt

    lots of moving parts depending on how you grade
    your current oline and available
    college oline

    hope coaches can determine the value (best use) of our existing
    resources first along w available collegiate talent.

  27. jjbucfan Says:

    Jim- very well done- the main point is draft an O lineman in the 1st. I am afraid Licht will be sidetracked by a shiny DB that dropped

  28. Dom>Licht Says:

    DS biggest problem is this offense. 5 and 7 step drops… long developing routes. Dirk was running the same thing. BA offense is known for getting QB hit / sacked. Play calling can surly help OL and QB issues

  29. Owlykat Says:

    Those who want to replace our Center—he had the highest grade and is our best Offensive Lineman. Play Cappa at RT. Get a 1st Round LT and move D. Smith to RG. Hire Dotson as backup RT to mentor Cappa there.

  30. Noles Says:

    Good point Jim…. SO You are saying take best available OL regardless of position. I like that idea….

    Hopefully JL listens… I worry they will take a S, not
    that we don’t need one but I feel the OL need is more pressing

  31. WestChap Says:

    Dot had 10 penalties… and I’d swear another 10 must have been declined out of pity… lets not get carried away pretending Dot didn’t have a rough year.