Good Thing For A Good Offensive Line

July 23rd, 2021

Bailed out running backs?

Boy, things change quickly.

Take the Bucs’ offensive line. Pre-Tom Brady, Bucs fans habitually hollered and stomped their feet wailing how awful it was.

Joe never bought it. First, Joe is fully convinced that what Joe looks for in an offensive line and what many fans look for is a fully different standard. Joe also argued that for the Bucs to have one of the league’s top offenses — which they did in the years before Brady — it would be virtually impossible to produce so much with a sieve of an offensive line.

Really, the only change to the line entering last year was rookie Tristan Wirfs, who was dominant. Down the stretch, into the playoffs and through the Super Bowl, that once-maligned offensive line was ferociously good.

The Football Outsiders 2021 Almanac, suggests the Bucs needed that offensive line to be stellar because their running backs were that subpar.

The statistical points were made by Thomas Bassinger, and two jumped out at Joe.

🏈 Tampa Bay’s offense was fourth with 38 drops. The Buccaneers led the league with 16 dropped passes from running backs.

🏈 Another issue for the offense: It ranked 29th in the league with only 83 broken tackles.

The broken tackles stat was surprising, especially the way Ronald Jones ran up the gut. Then again, Joe has pointed out how RoJo has but one touchdown run of 10-yards or more in his career — and man, the haters beat Joe up for typing that.

But you know what? A good offensive line can cover for a lot of ills. Even more, if you believe Bucs running backs were that poor, the team still won it all with them.

So if the Bucs’ running game improves this year — whoa, Nellie!

12 Responses to “Good Thing For A Good Offensive Line”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    This line has always pass-protected well……much of the running game problems were due to unimaginative playcalling that was extraordinarily predictable. We actually are starting to use the pass to open up the run.

    The improvement in the line is noticeable, especially with fewer penalties.

  2. Bobby M. Says:

    A great QB can make a very good o-line look elite…..which can make avg RBs look very good. That’s why the QB position is so critical….if obtained at the right price.

    We are lucky to have a QB of Brady’s caliber at a cost of $25million per year. Guys like Rodgers, Wilson, Prescott, etc….claim to want to compete for championships but then also want to eat up nearly 20-25% of the cap. Even Rothlisberger understands, if he wants to have success on the field at this stage of his career, he has to give on his salary requirements in order for the Steelers to provide him with the weapons/protection he needs.

  3. SB~LV Says:

    RoJo has had many many just one step from breaking the big one

  4. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Gronk had a huge impact on the OLine as well as Stinnie being much better than Watford- it wasn’t just Wirfs.

  5. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    Rojo has had so many good runs called back because of stupid holding calls. I am not worried he’ll be fine. Catching is an area of improvement we need this year from our backs.

  6. SOEbuc Says:


    “Joe never bought it.”

    Bought what? Every snap begins in the middle of the oline and we were in a dark, dark place for a long time. Brady brings the inspiration to everybody to go for that extra 100 yards.

  7. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    This is what happens when a reporter has an agenda, not one fan ever said this line is a sieve when it comes to the passing game. We all know it was stellar in pass protection, it is the run game where they stumbled. The one stat that backs it up is 3.1 ypc. That’s pretty lackadaisical if you ask me. That tells me rbs are getting hit behind or at the line and this agrees with what my eyes saw in the games, our line getting pushed back and the rbs running into blockers or having to squeeze thru small holes. A lot of the extra yardage ROJO made was because of his own efforts. I’ve rarely ever seen any of our lines be dominate. You want to see dominate? Look at our game against Minny. Dalvin Cook had huge holes to run thru, that line manhandled the “best run defense in the league”. This line is built for pass protection not running.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Seems like only yesterday that I read your philosophy Joe (‘Lean On Your Strength’) for winning football games: “WHY WOULD A COACH WANT TO RUN OR THROW SHORT PASSES? Not leaning on your strength is cheating your team. Put the ball in the hands of your best players and let them win games for you.”

    But now today almost looks like as complete 180: “So if the Bucs’ running game improves this year — whoa, Nellie!”

    And of course as one of those apparent ne’er-do-wells espousing BALANCE (to an extent between the offense & defense AND even on the offense itself) I have trouble even envisioning a passing-only approach. Tom Brady is a career 64.0% passer, meaning that at least one-third of his passes will go incomplete. Regardless of how good our WRs & TEs are, it’s really hard to drive the length of the field using a passing-only philosophy. Of Tom Brady’s 40 passing TD drives that were at least 50 yds, I couldn’t find any that DIDN’T include at least 1 run.

  9. SOEbuc Says:


    Agree with most. Natty’s don’t look at the fact that #7 was jumping around getting stuffed in the backfield all regular season, they just saw Lombardi Lenny. Who still does have to prove himself to me in the regular season. Maybe the #7 can bring him back to his college game But RoJo is a bull and unlike Minnesota with Dalvin Cook with amazing break away speed, we rarely run the ball. If you’re trying to set up a good oline, you try to lean towards your game plan and the Bucs and Arians threw the ball 70 percent of the time.

  10. Bird Says:

    Dropped passes by running backs = giovanni bernard signing

  11. SlyPirate Says:

    Alanbucsfan provided an astute observation that is underappreciated.

    Wirfs was a big upgrade but Gronk was also a major contributor to the OL success. The Bucs moved to max protect during their 8 game win streak. Gronk was a force.

  12. Jason Says:

    Seems to me Rojo has made a significant improvement each year. I expect the same this year with improvement in broken tackles, and his catching ability.