Laying It On The Line Has New Meaning

August 20th, 2020

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It’s all on the line for the Buccaneers in 2020.

Tom Brady is poised under center, eager to throw to an array of elite weapons. Ronald Jones, fresh off a much-improved second season, is determined to run for 1,000 yards while a talented defense can’t wait to prove last year’s late improvement was no fluke.

And that brings us to the band of brothers in the trenches, charged with keeping Brady upright and opening up holes for Jones and his backfield mates.

The right side is young, the left flank is experienced and the middle is salty. Together, this unit will go a long way toward setting the tone for this franchise.

Leaner (meaner?) Ali Marpet in 2020

Tampa Bay’s offensive line needs to up its game … simple as that.

These guys haven’t been terrible, but they haven’t been exceptional, either. Exceptional would be nice.

Injuries haven’t been an issue up front — the Bucs have been remarkably healthy at center, guard and tackle. For Buc fans who tend to minimize the importance of line play, listen to the words of former NFL executive Carl Peterson, who built playoff teams in Philadelphia and Kansas City.

“My philosophy was that it all starts in the trenches,” Peterson told me. “If you don’t have a good offensive line, you’re going nowhere fast.”

Bruce Arians says he has all the confidence in the world in his guys up front. What else do you expect him to say? The fact remains Jameis Winston was sacked too often last year. There were too many penalties and not enough run lanes.

While Brady.won’t hold the ball as long as Winston, he is far less mobile.

Ryan Jensen says the challenge is keeping the pocket clean because defenses want to flush Brady out of his comfort zone with pressure up the middle.

A better ground game could make all the difference.

“We’ve got to run the football,” Arians says. “When we run the football, that play action stuff is really easy. Protect the quarterback. For them, I really like where they’re at right now as a group. It’s a good working relationship, there’s good communication in there. That’s not a worry of mine at all is the offensive line.”

We shall see.

Arians craves physicality, but the 2019 Bucs repeatedly came up short in that regard. Brady’s smarts will help in terms of effective audibles, but once the ball is snapped, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet,

Bucs center Ryan Jensen

Jensen, Alex Cappa and rookie Tristan Wirfs need to impose their will.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to have Tom come into the building, and obviously, all the attention,” says Smith. “But at the end of the day, we still have to go out there and compete. We’re going to come out there and ball, work, have fun with it.”

The fun part for these guys is depositing the man in front of them on his keister.

One aspect of line play worth noting is whether Tampa Bay can establish a go-to play to convert short-yardage situations. It could be a run to the left behind Smith and Marpet. It could be a run to the right behind Rob Gronkowski and a road grader like Wirfs. It could be a run up the gut, with Jensen and a fullback leading the way.

Buc fans don’t care which direction wins out, as long as the team isn’t going backwards.

It would be a shame to bring Brady aboard and saddle him with an underperforming offensive line. That was a problem in New England last season, when Brady often found himself under siege.

If this group meets the expectations of Arians and his coaching staff, laying it on the line will have a whole new meaning.

Bill Currie Ford
5815 N. Dale Mabry Hwy.
Tampa, FL 33614

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5 Responses to “Laying It On The Line Has New Meaning”

  1. Buc1987 Says:

    Brady on his ass will do no good.

    O-line and kicker are still question marks for me.

    We’ll see soon enough!

  2. El Buco Realisto Says:

    The only meaning on the line are the jobs of ole stale biscuit and the lackey gm!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Forget fire the cannons!!!!!! Just fire those two lying clowns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. 813bucboi Says:

    not worried about the o-line…they’ll hold up…

    then teams will start blitzing….

    im more worried about the pass pro from the RBs…in addition to having a young RB room, thats why we got shady…

    but we’ll be fine….thats when bradys quick release to the RB in the flat or godwin in the slot will take effect….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  4. Brandon Short Says:

    We don’t have a fullback on the roster to run up the middle behind.

  5. unbelievable Says:

    Agree with 87