Football Outsiders: No Team On Same Level As Bucs’ Offensive Line

July 7th, 2022

Leader of men.

Joe remembers not that long ago fans habitually hollering and stomping their feet ranting that the Bucs offensive was total garbage and a bunch of turnstiles. Joe never thought the offensive line was bad at all. Perfect, no, but not bad.

As Joe often pointed out, the Bucs offense ranked in the top-10 in total yards for the 2015, 2017 and 2018 seasons. They wouldn’t have been able to put up those numbers with a bad offensive line.

Fast forward to 2021, and four guys from Dirk Koetter’s 2018 season along with Tristan Wirfs made up the best offensive line in the NFL.

And even now with Ali Marpet retired and Alex Cappa off to Cincinnati, the Bucs have a superior line. The Bucs, per Football Outsiders‘ mumbo jumbo stats, are in a class of their own.

Football Outsiders shot-callers Aaron Schatz and Mike Tanier broke down the Bucs’ front line and indirectly advised folks to monitor BSPN’s blocking win-rate stats with a very critical eye. In other words, every piece of information (whether from a human or computer program) suggests BSPN’s blocking win-rate numbers on the Bucs are way, way off.

Aaron Schatz: So this is mind-boggling, and it does make me want to go in-depth with the ESPN block rate stat. Tampa Bay was only 22nd in run-block win rate and 19th in pass-block win rate. Now here’s the thing, they did awesome in all of our stats … as measured by Sports Info Solutions (SIS), Tampa Bay is fabulous. You want to talk about anecdotally, how people feel about his line, people like Brandon Thorn rave about this offensive line. Rave about [Ryan] Jensen. Rave about [Tristan] Wirfs. Yes, they lost Marpet but replace him with Shaq Mason. They lost Cappa, but [Aaron] Stinnie is not bad. I do not know what is up with those ESPN block-rate stats but everything else points to the idea that Tampa Bay has the best offensive line.

Mike Tanier: The draft status of these guys, they come in and they perform well right away. Everything about them suggests this is an outstanding offensive line. They make Leonard Fournette into a better player, etc., etc.

Tanier makes very, very good points. The Bucs’ offensive line is so good, it makes other players look better. Yes, Tanier admitted the “Brady Halo” may help because he gets rid of the ball so well but Brady has nothing to do with Playoff Lenny (and others) running so well.

Additionally, Tanier points out that Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht is nailing the draft when it comes to offensive linemen. He always has.

Joe thinks this is simple. Bucco Bruce Arians brought in strong assistants. Yes, Brady made a big difference, no question. But offensive line coaches Harold Goodwin and Joe Gilbert are coaching guys up and having them ready to play on Sundays (and Mondays and Thursdays).

Coaching matters, folks. Always has. Always will.

26 Responses to “Football Outsiders: No Team On Same Level As Bucs’ Offensive Line”

  1. Mr Bean Says:

    “Brady has nothing to do with Playoff Lenny (and others) running so well“

    Except he throws the ball more than any other team and defenses are spread deep in coverage which helps the run.

  2. Statguy Says:

    Light has never missed on a lineman in the draft

  3. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Statguy Says:
    July 7th, 2022 at 4:38 am
    Light has never missed on a lineman in the draft
    I agree for the most part, but Licht did draft Caleb “Can-not-block” Benenoch.

  4. Boston Says:

    They also lost Gronk and that will hurt.

  5. CleanHouse Says:

    Hey you may have missed it, but both of our top level, tough, aggressive starting guards aren’t on the team any more. So until we see how the new guys do, this continued arrogant boasting about how amazing our line is bordering on the absurd.

  6. FrontFour Says:

    Agree with CleanHouse. Let’s see how the updated version of this group does before we start with this best line stuff. I know, slow summer.

  7. teacherman777 Says:

    Benenoch was gifted a starting job.

    He was horrible. A skinny legged tackle that they tried to convert into a guard.

    He was terrible. And an example of a draft pick being given a starting job as opposed to earning it!

  8. Smashsquatch Says:

    The Brady effect is real, he makes them all look better, including the run blocking. His effectiveness from the pocket opens run lanes.

  9. TBChucky Says:

    I think Mason will be an immediate upgrade over Cappa. LG I think we have some solid options with Stinnie,Hainsey, and the rookie Goedeke. While none will likely be as good as Marpet, I think competition will bring out the best of them all. I’m rooting for the rookie myself..

  10. PSL Bob Says:

    The good thing about the two new guards is that they have exceptional players on either side of them. Stinnie already knows the system. Mason is a veteran and excellent guard, but it will take a little time to blend into the system. Goedeke is a rookie. Despite his “meanness,” there is a learning curve. But I don’t think there is much, if any, downgrade by plugging Stinnie and Mason into the 0-line. Fair point by CleanHouse though – it’s all speculation until we see them perform.

  11. Beeej Says:

    Nothing shows how much your line is winning in the trenches as when they drive the ball up the gut over and over. I’d want to see just that, but for my love of watching Brady air it out

  12. Dooley Says:

    Coaches Goodwin & Gilbert are doing a fantastic job since being hired and molding the talent at OL. Can’t wait to see how intense that battle for LG gets and it’s also worth mentioning, we’ve got some pretty solid talent in our OL reserves battling out. Fred Johnson vs. Josh Wells should be a good one to keep an eye on in the preseason along with watching if Sadarius Hutcherson can break through and earn a spot as a reserve.

  13. Chris from gville Says:

    I don’t know if I have PTSD but all I remember from Jameis Winston being back there was the line we saw vs the Rams in the playoffs. Donovan flat missed two or three blocks a game to allow a free runner. The center would get pushed back into the lap of the QB consistently. I agree the look better and it’s probably a combination of Brady making them look better and then actually playing better for Brady. There was never a consistent pocket to throw from before Brady.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    No question in my mind that our OLine has been very good, and will continue to be very good. Like Joe said, coaching matters. So does talent, and JL has drafted some true beasts & signed some exceptional FAs (Mankins, Jensen, Mason to name a few).

    And yet our OLine seems to have trouble for some reason with 3 teams in particular: the Rams, the Saints & Washington. All 3 have invested heavily in their DLines & it seems to have paid off. In our 5 regular season/playoff games against those 3 teams last year, we gave up 13 sacks & had 9 turnovers, much higher than our ‘average’. And oh ya, we also lost 4 of those 5 games.

    Can never have too many beasts in the trenches. Sure would feel better about this season if our DLine had Suh back in the fold.

  15. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Agree that Coaches Goodwin & Gilbert are doing an excellent job with some talented players to work with.

    Can we move one of them, Goodwin or Gilbert, to be Special Teams coach? With the talent and the depth the Bucs have, somehow I think we should be doing better on ST – I don’t know, just a hunch. Maybe Keith Armstrong has some compromising photos of Licht or Bowles doing naughty things?

    It amazes me how some of these guys keep their jobs. Take Lovie Smith… please

  16. Upstate NY BUC Says:

    Promote Gilbert to Special Teams Coach he deserves it, Go Horseheads NY Alum!!!! Go Bucs….

  17. Victoria brown Says:

    Coaching does matter as wirths said” tom meets with the line every Friday for 2 hours to make sure we understand we understand how to block for that games defense”…..tom brady once said I don’t depend on someone protecting me I protect myself

  18. Joe Says:

    I qagree for the most part, but Licht did draft Caleb “Can-not-block” Benenoch.

    Had one good year and flamed out. There is no such thing as a perfect GM.

  19. jimm Says:

    agree w victoria

    tom meeting with line to go over blocking assignments for the plays they will run (already have game plan sheet they use un sidlines for that week) AND the defense the will be playing THAT WEEK.

    tom protects himself by sharing knowledge, preparing himself and others that he depends upon, by getting rid of the ball fast (see preparation/knowledge), throwing it away, falling with the flow of the rush (rather than bracing against it)-oftentimes a split second before it hits.

    all contributes to why he is the goat. great gratitude to be able to watch him as a buc.

  20. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Joe Says:
    July 7th, 2022 at 10:34 am
    I agree for the most part, but Licht did draft Caleb “Can-not-block” Benenoch.

    Had one good year and flamed out. There is no such thing as a perfect GM.

  21. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Let’s revisit this when Brady is gone.

  22. CleanHouse Says:

    I like defense rules take
    Sign Suh

  23. Rod Munch Says:

    That is one area where you should give all the credit in the world to Licht. Marpet was shooting up the draft boards because of his combine, but it was Licht who reached into the 2nd round to get him – and that was an insane value and a great pick. Wirfs obviously has been an all-pro tackle already. Despite all the morons saying Smith stinks, he’s ended up being an average tackle – and that’s OK, he’s the ‘weak’ link in the o-line and he’s still probably around the 12-15th best LT in football. When that’s your ‘worst’ player, you’d doing really friggin good. Also with Cappa, while the Bucs way overdrafted him (he was considered a 6th-to-UDFA level player) and he had a terrible combine, the fact that Licht still found a solid OG, that was really impressive. Then Jensen, he had one year starting at center after moving from guard, and Licht made him the highest paid center in football at the time, and he turned out to be really good, even if he’s a complete idiot for taking so many unnecessary 15-year personal fouls.

  24. Buczilla Says:

    Stats can be useful, but some folks just get stupid with them. Outside of live sports, espn is trash. Good players and good coaches are what makes our line good, not the nonsense from that sports network turned part time political activism network.

  25. Trey long Says:

    Brady effect is real. He came close to beating Rams in playoffs w his best lineman out against the best defense in the league. Pass defensive coaching killed us.

  26. SB~LV Says:

    The Dead Season