Chemistry Questions

April 18th, 2022

During the NFL Annual Meetings last month at the swanky Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Joe got a little one-on-one time with Bengals head coach Zac Taylor.

The discussion topic was not the failures of Marvin Lewis, it was Taylor’s love affair with his new right guard, departed Bucs starter Alex Cappa.

In March, Cappa turned his nose at Tom Brady’s plea and signed for bigger money in Cincinnati. Taylor told Joe that he could see how great Cappa’s chemistry was with his fellow Bucs offensive linemen on film. And per Taylor, it was the kind of chemistry led by Cappa, not Cappa being a follower.

Joe pushed Taylor for specifics. Taylor didn’t go too deep and struggled a bit while thinking of what seemed like a specific play. Regardless, the message was clear, Cappa’s impact went beyond finishing blocks and standing up to the guy in front of him.

Offensive gurus routinely stress the importance of continuity on the offensive line. That’s a big reason Bucco Bruce Arians arrived in 2019, looked at his inherited offensive line and said, “We’re good.” The whole band returned and Donovan Smith was given a fat contract extension.

At the time, many Bucs fans were convinced the O-line was poor and Smith was their top punching bag. Those fans were wrong.

So what about 2022 chemistry? Cappa is gone and Ali Marpet retired.

Aaron Stinnie will replace one of them but he has just four NFL starts to his resumé. The Bucs traded for guard Shaq Mason, but how long might it take Mason to feel fully comfortable? He could be rolling by Week 1, but it could take a month and Joe would understand that.

Then there’s the wild card of the Bucs drafting a stud guard at No. 27 overall in the draft next week, a true plug-and-play beast that would raise the talent level and relegate Stinnie to the backup role he’s thrived in.

Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see if the loss of Cappa is the chemistry hiccup the Bengals’ head man thinks it could be.

27 Responses to “Chemistry Questions”

  1. Duane Says:

    Chemistry is the compliment you give to the guy that plays between the all pro center and all world right tackle.

  2. DEEEMO Says:

    I still say D-Line in the 1st round..need a stud there unless just by chance guard Zion Johnson drops to 27. We need to re-build key Defensive positions. If you remember neither Cappa or Marpet were drafted in the first couple rounds. Our GM seems to find offensive line talent in latter rounds anyway.

  3. SlyPirate Says:

    Stinnie has just four starts … but those were four pretty significant starts.

  4. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    SlyPirate Says:
    “Stinnie has just four starts … but those were four pretty significant starts.”

    I was hoping the Bucs would give him a multi-year extension after that playoff run. I’m surprised that no other teams have tried to sign him away since then.

  5. GOB Says:

    Mason is a clear upgrade over cappa. The PFF grades aren’t close. It may take some time for full continuity on the line as a whole. But, having a better player is worth whatever time it’ll take. Mason is a road grater. He’ll drastically improve the running attack. He pulls as good as any guard in the league, which is awesome for inside traps, and counter runs. You guys will quickly fall in love with him. He’s also a better pass blocker. Mason only gave up 16 total pressures with a rookie QB last year. The Patriots line was in flux last year due to injury, which makes that stat even more impressive. David Andrews played with one shoulder most of the year, and Trent Brown played on one calf.

  6. BuxfaninTX Says:

    SlyPirate is correct- those starts were during Nut-cutting time and he was good

  7. StickinUp4Centers Says:

    Solution to the LG situation – Tell Marpet he can un-retire a week before Week 1 and have his spot back.

  8. Letsbuccinggo Says:

    If Zion Johnson doesn’t drop to 27 the Bucs need to trade down. Devonte Wyatt stock is dropping from an arrest from a couple of years ago. So besides Jordan Davis I don’t see another DT picked in the first round.

  9. Austin Says:

    I honestly think Stinnie will be better than Cappa

  10. Joe Says:

    I was hoping the Bucs would give him a multi-year extension after that playoff run. I’m surprised that no other teams have tried to sign him away since then.

    Stinnie only started the final three postseason games. Alex Cappa was hurt midway through the win over Washington.

    Joe has written this several times already: The fact Stinnie didn’t sign a multi-year deal means either the Bucs (and/or the rest of the NFL) aren’t sold on him (yet) or his agent wants Stinnie to bet on himself and after a year of starting he could make major money on the open market.

  11. kyle Says:

    thanks for being a “P” Marpet… As the great Steve Miller Band played, “go on take the money and the run”…. Whoo whoo

  12. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    Joe Says:
    “… or his agent wants Stinnie to bet on himself and after a year of starting he could make major money on the open market.”

    Agree. You can’t make anyone sign a contract. I’m still surprised he didn’t get better offers from another team.

  13. tampabuscsbro Says:

    Kyle the man wanted to retire early. The GM deferred guaranteed money to later years so that he could make us compliant with the cap to get good players.

    Come on man. He fulfilled the guaranteed money portion of his contract.

    Also what’s a P? is it some boomer terminology I am unaware of.

  14. Mark A Swygert Says:

    Wasn’t Stinnie a restricted free agent ? A team could make an offer, but because he wasn’t a ‘free’ agent, the Bucs would be allowed to match it or let him go. I think that’s how it works. Surprised no team made such an offer.

  15. bob Says:

    there’s also Green from Georgia at guard

  16. bob Says:

    texas and m

  17. GOB Says:

    Even if you don’t think Stinnie is the answer at left guard, you can easily find a collage tackle, and convert him. It’s much easier to transition to guard from tackle, than the other way around.

  18. Hodad Says:

    We’ll be fine. Have Hainsey also a third round pick who can win the job. We need this to be a front seven heavy draft. Yes including LB where David is a year older, and still rehabbing his foot.

  19. geno711 Says:

    Mark A Swygert Says:
    April 18th, 2022 at 4:08 pm
    Wasn’t Stinnie a restricted free agent ?

    No he was an unrestricted free agent.

  20. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Jensen was the leader not Cappa. He’s just trying to soup up the fact he paid him so much

  21. ClwJB Says:

    If we take one of the plug n play starters at the end of round 1 we saved about 7 mil a year on the cap with 4/5 years at a very nice cap position

    If we take the small school kid in round two we save 10 mil etc

    It’s a business and Cappa made a business decision for his family

  22. SB~LV Says:

    Well I like the confidence gravitas the OL enjoys, they have the attitude that with the core returning they will be able add and adjust however it turns out.
    Still have post draft veteran release, the draft and the flexibility to fine tune

  23. gotbbucs Says:

    They’ll have plenty of time to build chemistry during OTA’s and training camp. Mason won’t have trouble getting acclimated. He’s a pro. Whoever else they stick in there at guard will have a ton of experience on either side of him.
    Cappa is a decent guard, but the Bengals severely overpaid him.

  24. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Come on now…….we all know the leader of the OL, the guy that brings the fire each and every play and never quits….. the warrior………Durable Donnie.

  25. Colin in Canada Says:

    HAINSEY has a good chance to win that job. I wouldn’t assume Stinnie is a starter yet.

  26. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I think we really need a plug and play guard, to replace Ali Marpet.
    Cappa was good, but I think the guy we have to replace him is better, however I just do not see any replacement for Ali Marpet, yet.
    Marpet was not just good, he was really good! I just don’t see Stinnie replacing him.

  27. David Says:

    I would think Smith communicating with Stinnie and Jensen leading from the middle head Mason’s experience will be plenty enough. Not taking anything away from Cappa, but to me he was the weakest link of the line. It may have looked like there was more leadership than what was really there simply because he had a rookie / second year guy playing next to him at tackle.

    With Mason, and another year under Wirfs belt, I think they can be better this year. It all depends on Stinnie and the depth, specifically Hainsey