No Marpet Not A Crutch

November 10th, 2020

Explains o-line implosion.

Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is among the best in the game. He didn’t build that reputation by being dumb.

Now on the surface, you could argue that missing left guard Ali Marpet due to a concussion wasn’t the reason the Bucs offensive line blew chunks Sunday. But by pulling back the onion skins, it appears that not having Marpet, who missed his first game of the season, was a bigger deal than it appears.

Maybe more than any other unit, offensive linemen must think and react in lockstep with teammates on either side of them. This, Arians said, was an issue Sunday. Yes, he confessed, left tackle Donovan Smith had a bad game, but Smith wasn’t helped by having a newbie playing to his immediate right.

“It was a rough one,” Arians said of Smith’s game. “But again, part of it was Joe Haeg next to him. They were both getting hit with powerful twists and stuff, and they haven’t worked much together. That showed really quick.”

Arians isn’t conning people here. Jenna Laine of ESPN comes armed with stats that back up Arians.

Brady was under duress all night, getting pressured on 46.3% of his dropbacks compared to to 14.8% in his first eight games. He completed just six of 16 passes when under duress. The Saints did most of this with stunts rather than blitzing, relying on trickery rather than extra personnel to rattle Brady.

On Trey Hendrickson’s third-quarter sack, the Saints cross-rushed David Onyemata and Malcolm Brown, and ran a stunt with Onyemata and Marcus Davenport on Brown’s fourth-quarter sack. Communication is paramount with offensive linemen when handling stunts, and they have to be on the same page when it comes to their responsibilities. With Donovan Smith playing alongside Joe Haeg instead of Ali Marpet, who missed the game due to a concussion, they weren’t.

And remember, there is someone playing to Haeg’s right as well, Ryan Jensen.

As you’ll hear Joe point out in the first of two Ira Kaufman podcasts, this week, aside from the first Bucs play from scrimmage when Tristan Wirfs was badly bull-rushed by Cam Jordan, the right side of the Bucs’ offensive line wasn’t the issue.

The left side? Yikes! Who was in the middle of the left side of the offensive linemen? Haeg, who started at guard for the first time all season.

Therefore, Allen ran a bunch of stunts on his right side (the Bucs’ left) to hopefully take advantage of the lack of Haeg’s lack of snaps there this season. And Allen’s aim to exploit a possible lack of communication worked beautifully for the Saints.

That’s what good coaches do, identify a weakness and exploit it.

30 Responses to “No Marpet Not A Crutch”

  1. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Brady was under pressure, starting with the second play of the game. He does not do well with pressure!
    In New England, Brady would always throw quick passes to his wideouts, whenever a blitz was detected.
    It made it a futile effort to Blitz Brady.
    However, this offense does not seem to offer Brady that option.

  2. Half-Caucked Jeudy Says:

    I think this is a bunch of crap BA!!!How many times have we seen other teams using replacement OL or rookies and maintain against us or other teams? No way the rooks or backups have had time to gel.

  3. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:
    November 10th, 2020 at 12:11 pm
    Brady was under pressure, starting with the second play of the game. He does not do well with pressure!
    In New England, Brady would always throw quick passes to his wideouts, whenever a blitz was detected.
    It made it a futile effort to Blitz Brady.
    However, this offense does not seem to offer Brady that option.

    You are exactly right Chris, it was glaringly apparent on Sunday night. Why did they not make simple adjustments to get the ball out quick. This is on the Coaches. A few years ago when Kalial Mack started his first game as a Bear, he was eating up GB offensive line like few players I have ever seen. Totally dominating the Pack. They Knocked around A Rodgers and he left hurt. Then Rodgers comes back and everything was quick hitting passes and GB went on to win. Why handcuff Brady, and also why not help out the Oline by getting the ball out quick which is very normal to him, and something he excels at. This is just common sense, not rocket science. GO BUCS!!!!

  4. Allbuccedup Says:

    Other teams use backups and don’t have the same issues as the bucs. Depth has become an issue on this team. If Brady goes down we are done.

  5. 813bucboi Says:

    sounds like more excuses…

    so Allen was prepared to advantage and bucs were prepared for what?…for Allen to roll out what he did week1?….

    c’mon BA…you failed…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  6. unbelievable Says:

    That’s what good coaches do, identify a weakness and exploit it.

    Has anyone told that to Bruce Arians, Byron Leftwich, or Todd Bowles?

    Cuz they don’t seem to know that.

  7. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Donovan Smith has had games like this when Marpet was starting next to him, too. Smith is subpar, I don’t know that Josh Wells would do any worse.

  8. 813bucboi Says:

    even tho we arent in the cellar, we can still talk about the draft….

    gotta draft the trenches(seems like i say this every year)….LT,G/C,DE,DT

    after watching how we performed with marpet missing a game, i dont even want to think about jpp or suh going down for a game or two….

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  9. idiaznet Says:

    The one thing that everyone is glossing over is that Dennis Allen had something that other teams do not have the “Former Starting QB”. Jameis was able to be their Gruden if you would to our Raiders. He ran the scout team and knew BL’s patterns and BA’s thoughts for adjustments. Don’t fool yourself to think this wasn’t a huge game for him. Just look at the juvenile reaction of the whole team. Jameis’s eating of “W” and the dancing in the locker room. This was part of the pitch of getting Jameis as a backup. “We will help you take if too them.”

    We were out coached from the get go. But all is not as lost as everyone says this still looks like the same as our Championship year where we lost to the Saints twice then and still won the South.

  10. 813bucboi Says:

    No doubt the put JW in the hot seat….as they should….

    BA shouldve been prepared for that….JW aint the first player to go to a division rival…

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    How exactly did Haeg’s appearance keep us from putting Brees on the ground…..1 (sack)…..Shaq swatted his arm…..but we never put Brees down…

    Just one big late hit early in the game would have been worth the 15 yards….they were getting the yardage anyway……smack the guy at least once….

  12. Pickgrin Says:

    idiaznet – I kinda thought the same thing about Winston playing a major roll in the Saints Preparation for this game.

    Bucs were badly out-coached in this most important game – however it went down. But the way the players “executed” Sunday night – on both sides of the ball – I’d guess that even the perfect game plan would have still resulted in a crushing defeat. Bucs just did NOT show up to play – which is confounding and disheartening – and frankly just BULLSH!T – because the stakes were SO high for this game. How could a team this talented – with this many strong “leaders” – come out so FLAT for the biggest game of the year – and get embarrassed on national tv?

    Ok – so we’re “on to Carolina” I guess…..

    “looks like the same as our Championship year where we lost to the Saints twice then and still won the South”

    And in the same ‘glass is half full’ vein – remember also in ’99 – with the NFLs best defense (a historically great defense that doesn’t get the credit deserved because they had no offense to complement and dominated their way to the NFC Championship game – losing by only 5 points to the “unstoppable” Rams) – that Bucs team got roasted 45-0 by the Raiders in late ’99 and quickly righted the ship to go on an amazing run to near glory….

  13. TOM Says:

    Maybe when Marpet comes back move Haig to LT. Anybody but lazy ass Smith.

  14. Joe Says:

    How exactly did Haeg’s appearance keep us from putting Brees on the ground.

    Joe wants to drink the drink you are drinking that allows you to somehow link a team’s offensive line play with the same team’s inability to sack the quarterback.

    And be careful: There are people who lurk on this site who will have you believe that putting a quarterback on his back is a trivial if not worthless skill.

  15. Allbuccedup Says:

    Donovan Smith 8 penalties in 9 games, Tristan Wirfs 3 penalties in 9 games. A veteran making 14.5 mil a year versus a rookie. Just saying!

  16. Mike Johnson Says:

    Cris apple hit the nail on the head here. We have an immobile Qb here. Not like AZ, Miami or LA. Our QB is a statue of Liberty. Pressure him and he unravels. He can’t run so he’s gotta eat it, throw it out of bounds or take the sack. Just one of the reasons why I wanted us to move up in the 1st and take our future Qb. What we got when bardy goes down..Arians pet, Gabbert who has a less than 500 rating in his career. Teams now are gonna bring mega pressure on Brady. A saints blueprint if you will. Bucs better learn how to get that ball out quicker to an outlet or you gonna see brady on the turf a lot more.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Not drinking anything….just making the point that we lost in all phases of the game…..Marpet’s absense was just one isolated issue….

  18. lambeau Says:

    Rob Ninkovich on Pat McAfee today said the whole season rests on the O-line–Tom will destroy you if he has time. It makes a lot of sense that flexible use of TE’s (including Auclair) could be a great help. The coaching staff needs to plan for this and monitor how Donovan is doing. It’s OK to make adjustments. The coaching staff just doesn’t seem to be actively reacting to the action. Maybe they need to hire some more coaches for in-game thinking/ adjusting. Tom’s probably having post-divorce remorse: “Bill’s an a-hole, but at least he was a smart a-hole”

  19. donuts Says:

    A summary of Sunday night:
    Bad coaching…bad game plan….bad halftime adjustment to bad game plan.
    NFL games are won/lost in trenches with QB play. Brady had no time all night and Brees had all day.

  20. WyldKat Says:

    My feeling is they got AB on the team and decided to throw down the field no matter what. They decided what they were going to do, and did it, all feedback be damned.

    Kinda like how Kevin Cash did Blake Snell in that last WS game.

  21. All lives matter Says:

    I nailed this assessment before the game and I was told by several that I was wrong. It turned out exactly as I predicted.

    All lives matter Says:
    November 7th, 2020 at 3:06 am
    I think putting Joe Haeg at LG would be similar to putting Cappa at LG. He’ll do ok but you can count on the defense to exploit his and Donavan Smith’s shared gap responsibility, maybe forcing Donovan to overcompensate and focus to much on the inside while making him vulnerable to an outside pass rush. Donavan Smith has enjoyed the luxury of having Marpet cleanup his right side. If I were Leftwich I would be leaning on rushing either gap to the right of center, especially with Gronk next to Wirth. In the passing game I would consider even design having Brady roll to his right more often just to give him more time from the inevitable pressure from the left.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    You can’t lose your best offensive lineman – someone who should be in talk for being an all-pro every year – and have it not be an issue. If it’s not an issue to lose him, then why pay him $12m a year? Of course it’s a big loss.

    But before everyone slits their wrists, let’s look at Brady vs Saints, and everyone else.

    Brady vs the Saints, 1 TD a game, 2.5 INTs a game and 3 sacks a game
    Brady vs everyone else, 2.5 TDs a game, 0.2 INTs a game and 1 sack a game

    I think we’re going to be just fine, so long as we don’t play the Saints again. Although, as they say, 3rd time is the charm so maybe it won’t be an issue — you know, unless the defense just sits in a softzone and gets eatten up while zero adjustments are made.

  23. PSL Bob Says:

    Not buying it! Almost every offensive and defensive line in the NFL is suffering from injuries this time of year. Some have several of their starters out, and yet you don’t see them getting manhandled the way the Bucs were Sunday night. If you have a weakness on the left side, you have to get a tight end and/or RB to help out. Hell, the Bucs weren’t running the ball at all. So they could bring in extra blocking help on that side of the ball. Poor coaching, execution, or both.

  24. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I agree, the Saints having Jameis certainly helped them.
    I have to wonder if any of our players are sympathetic to Jameis ?
    I have never saw them play so poorly.

  25. ruggyup Says:

    “That’s what good coaches do, identify a weakness and exploit it.” Fair enough but let’s also stress that good coaches identifying weaknesses move swiftly and decisively to FIX them, not blaming the draft, the schemes, helmet decals or whatever else avoids accepting and exercising responsibility.

  26. $acbuc$ Says:

    I never knew the Loss of Marpet and Vita could make the trenches look weak. That’s coaching because we got better push from Ledbetter then McClendon.

  27. WillieG Says:

    Why didn’t the Bucs anticipate this and put a tight end over there?

  28. Robertg Says:

    Defense played zone the whole game, why? That’s their weakness. I don’t understand why they didn’t blitz more and play man? Almost like they wanted to lose!

  29. buxszntkt Says:

    totally pathetic, no excuse, missing one man should not have a team so stacked on offense collapse completely !!!! Ridiculous !!! Something is missing from this group, we have seen so many teams compete with backups and do well this year.

  30. Doctor Stroud Says:

    I wish that our coaches would find a weakness in the opponent and exploit it.