The Robert Hainsey Conundrum

August 2nd, 2022

Vita Vea explains.

It seems many (not all) Bucs fans who type comments on this here website are bent (Ira is too) that the Bucs will give Robert Hainsey a chance to win the starting center job and not trade for a replacement of injured Ryan Jensen.

(If Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht did make a trade now, he’d get gouged like hell and taken to the cleaners because all 31 other general managers know Licht is painted into a corner.)

Sometimes, if not often, when a team does or does not do something fans think is crazy, there is often a hidden reason.

For example, a team works out players during the season because there is often a hidden injury with a player at the same position. And Joe may have found one reason many in the Bucs organization support if not lobby head coach Todd Bowles to give Hainsey a fair shot.

Joe learned that as a rookie Hainsey played scout team center weekly in practices (closed to both media and the general public). So Joe is putting two-and-two together here and assumes Hainsey, while battling Vea all season long, gave the Bucs an educated idea that Hainsey can handle himself at center.

After all, not only did the Bucs see Hainsey go mano y mano against Vea each practice, the Bucs have the tape to study.

So Joe spoke with tight-lipped Vea after practice today — Vea is a super nice guy but he’s really paranoid talking to reporters because he always thinks he may say something that will get him in trouble for some silly reason.

(Vea was even tighter-lipped today because he was convinced Joe’s line of questioning was set up by someone with the Bucs. It’s such an absurd thought that Joe laughed when Vea asked Joe twice “Did they tell you to test me?” At first, Joe had no clue what Vea was getting at. LOL)

Vea didn’t say much because, well, he didn’t want to get in trouble. But he was very positive about Hainsey being able to start at center.

One element, Vea said, is Hainsey learned a lot from Jensen last year, adding how smart Hainsey is.

When Joe asked Vea if the Bucs wanted Vea to try specific moves on Hainsey to test him, Vea shot back, “He tests me, too!”

When Joe finished his brief conversation with Vea, Joe started to walk away and Vea got Joe’s attention, looked Joe straight in the eye and said, “Hey — he’s good.”

Another guy who played on the scout team with Hainsey is quarterback Ryan Griffin. So Joe asked him what he could tell fans about Hainsey that has not been seen outside of closed Bucs practices.

“He is super smart,” Griffin said. “He’s going to be able to get up there and tell everybody what to do. He’s a good center for someone who didn’t play a ton in college at center.

“He’s really fast, so pulling around the edge, he will be able to get out there and get some blocks. He’s an athletic guy who will be able to get up there on the second level. Very high football IQ.”

As Joe stated, Hainsey had to have shown Bucs coaches and front office folks something for them to stand behind him like this, much to many fans’ chagrin.

So when you want to know why a team sometimes does what it does, there is often a reason. Especially a quality front office like the Bucs’.

36 Responses to “The Robert Hainsey Conundrum”

  1. Crickett Baker Says:

    I wonder what got VV so paranoid? Anyway, I am all for giving Hainsey a chance. It seems he will be well able to handle center–especially after a few more weeks of practice.

  2. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    If Vita says he’s good, that’s good enough for me. Hearing that Hainsey is fast is new to me, and great to hear. Just stonewall the dude in front of you for 2.5 seconds and we’ll be fine.

  3. Joe Says:

    I wonder what got VV so paranoid?

    He’s always been that way, at least with Joe.

  4. D-Rok Says:

    Outstanding insight here, Joe. If Vea, of all people, says he’s good, then we may be OK at center this season. Now let’s get this guy ready for the season.

    *DEEP SIGH OF RELIEF* – the sky really isn’t falling, at least at C position.

    GO BUCS!!!

  5. Lt. Dan Says:

    Soooo…VV’s comment, ““Hey — he’s good.”” Did you take that to mean, “Hainsey will be alright” or “He’s a talented center” ?

  6. Steven007 Says:

    Most of us remember, I don’t remember the specific situation, but it was a play where Hainsey was blocking way way down the field. It was impressive. It’s clear he has some wheels.

  7. BucsfanFred Says:

    I think Hainsey will be pretty good at the very least.

  8. Pickgrin Says:

    Way to dig in deep for this info Joe!

    Hearing Vea’s “Hey he’s good” comment should give us all some comfort and confidence that just maybe – young Bob Hainsey can become a legit starter for this Super Bowl caliber team in just his 2nd year….

    Jason Licht has basically been killing it when he selects an OLine player in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd round – so Hainsey would be just another example of that trend if he starts and plays well in just his 2nd year (and having never really played center before).

  9. Dooley Says:


    It was the Scotty Miller end around TD against the Panthers last season. Hainsey got out to the 2nd with haste, got his paws on a defensive back, and pushed him around like a loveseat.

  10. D-Rok Says:

    In addition to all the other reports and nuggets about Hainsey, something caught my ear the other day. Kirwan on Sirius stated that there are 2 colleges that are highly regarded for NFL-ready lineman: Iowa and Notre Dame. He said since Hainsey was from ND, that he should have excellent technique and smarts. So, Hainsey has a good pedigree base to work from.

    The more I hear about this young C, the more I like him.

  11. Tom in MadCity Says:

    The smartest players on the football field are typically along the offensive line. And the smartest lineman is typically the center. They need to read the defense and make the calls. They need to know what every other lineman is supposed to do based on the defense they see. At least three of Hainsey’s teammates have now talked about how smart he is.

    Now you are hearing about quickness and athleticism. Good skills for a center to have. He’s added good bulk. All you need is more nasty. It appears that he has earned the right to win the starting center job. Give him that opportunity. There is still a lot of training camp left.

  12. teacherman777 Says:

    Hainsey was a RT in college.

    He has never started a game at center.

    Last year was his red-shirt year.

    Now we expect him to lead us to the Super Bowl?

    What if he goes down?


    Call Ali Marpet immediately. Give him 6-8 weeks to gain weight.

    Or trade a 2nd round pick and a WR for the best center we can find from a bottom tier team that is probably tanking.

    We need a center.

    Stop messing around.

  13. Hodad Says:

    So who are the Bucs supposed to trade with to get a pro bowl center to replace Jensen? Like who were they going to trade with to get a QB that could replace Brady? What teams have the luxury to trade top players at any position? Answer is likely no team. That’s why teams draft, and develop players for these very situations. You might pick up a FA like Tetter, but he’d be a rookie in our system. That said, i think it better we stick with the guy who’s put in the work, and certainly has the talent to get the job done.

  14. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Hodad This is an all in season. Hainsey is a project! I suggest you listen to Ira’s latest podcast. He laid put beautifully why this interior OL is in serious trouble. The case for Hainsey isn’t strong.

    With this whole tapering fiasco, I doubt the team will be more inclined to sign other free agents. Brady has burnt his bridges with the org. The Glazers and Licht feel betrayed. They basically gave Tom everything he wanted, and then he betrays them by trying to scheme his way to another team.

  15. Joe Says:

    Soooo…VV’s comment, ““Hey — he’s good.”” Did you take that to mean, “Hainsey will be alright” or “He’s a talented center” ?


  16. Joe Says:

    In addition to all the other reports and nuggets about Hainsey, something caught my ear the other day. Kirwan on Sirius stated that there are 2 colleges that are highly regarded for NFL-ready lineman: Iowa and Notre Dame.

    Was going to do a story on this at some point. Can’t remember the guy’s name but Notre Dames oline coach (he left after Hainsey’s sophomore year if memory serves to coach Bears oline but the guy returned to Notre Dane this year) has put a lot of guys in the NFL.

  17. sasquatch Says:

    Hainsey is going to be good. Not worried.

  18. BillyA Says:

    Harry Heistand

  19. 813bucboi Says:

    No one day wonders lol

    Show me in SEPTEMBER


  20. Herbiebic Says:

    @teacherman777 i can sense your paranoia 😂😂

    But I think Hansley will be fine I can’t help but think of Aaron stinne being thrown in the middle of the playoffs and helping us win a SuperBowl

  21. D-Rok Says:


    I’d love to read the background on the Notre Dame coach. It would help us fans understand exactly where Hainsey came from, and what he was taught. It might help to ease the consternation and gnashing of teeth observed from some commenters since Jensen went down.

  22. Kody Says:

    Hainsey gets seriously injured the first game of the season. What then??

  23. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    Great article, this is one of the many reasons this is the PREMIERE online destination for all things Buccaneers! Way to go the extra 100 yards!

  24. D-Rok Says:

    If that happens Kody, then our team, and any team, would be screwed. TWO starting centers go down in one season? Not sure I’ve ever heard of this, but yeah, it’s possible. If that happens, we probably would be desperate for anybody to play center for us.

    What we don’t know as fans is, are there any other lineman on the Bucs who could learn or pivot to the center role?

    Lots of unknowns in your hypothetical there. Let’s pray it doesn’t happen.

  25. Darin Says:

    Drok it happens. Brady will get someone playing center at a high level. Guaranteed Nobodys screwed if a guy goes down who’s never taken a snap in the league.

  26. D-Rok Says:


    Nice name by the way – same as mine but I carry 2 “R’s.

    So starting C Jensen goes down – next man up seems to be Hainsey, the new starter. If Hainsey gets banged up or lost for season, that’s 2 starting centers. Right now we’d say Leverett will get that 3rd nod based on current roster. I’m saying it’s odd to lose 2 starters at one position on the O-line. I say we’d be screwed because unless the Bucs have a THIRD center on the team, we’d NEED to get outside help if Hainsey goes down.

    From most accounts and reports, it seems like Hainsey will be the starter for now, even tho he hasn’t taken a snap as center yet in the NFL. As I alluded to in a previous post, Hainsey is from Notre Dame, a college well-known for pumping out quality linemen who are NFL-ready. Hainsey IS the backup, and if the backup goes down, yes, most teams are screwed, at least initially.

  27. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome story about Vita. I trust Licht wholeheartedly when it comes to offensive linemen and wide receivers and I’ll be surprised if Hainsey can’t handle the job.

  28. lambeau Says:

    Great article; and the respected AQ Shipley seems genuinely high on him too.

  29. steele Says:

    Look, everyone, including most people in here, are optimistic about Hainsey…longer term. He already showed in limited action last season that he is not confused (knows where he needs to be), generally knows his assignments, is excellent run blocking downfield (quick), has a great attitude, works hard and is learning. Even before Jensen went down, he showed extra commitment working with Shipley, seems to have added strength. Nothing but kudos on all of this.

    The question remains, can Hainsey carry the line immediately, right now, for an entire grueling season which is ten times worse because it’s a ridiculously tough schedule against last year’s top playoff contenders, including Aaron Donald and his demon hordes?

    Does Hainsey have the physical power to face these attackers one on one? Has he developed a lower base (one of his problems was that he played too high), and can he compensate for his short arms?

    Does he have the fighter’s mentality that Jensen brings to every game? Can Hainsey flatten and intimidate Donald etc. and make them want to quit?

    Does Hainsey have the total confidence of TB12?

    If the answer to any of these is less than “absolutely yes”, then reinforcements are needed. For depth, if nothing else. Is there a starting center on the roster after Hainsey? Leverett looked out of sorts yesterday. Molchon, the other guys?

    It doesn’t sound like the team brass will treat this as anything other than an ordinary season, as if with an ordinary QB. Especially in light now of his “traitorous” behavior, Brady won’t get special treatment. They’ll just put the in-house investments out there, win or lose, stick Jensen back in there when he’s healed, and play out the rest of his contract. They’re proud of all of their in-house investments, even if we aren’t.

  30. WVBuc Says:

    If Hainsey is so game ready, why does it seem he was an afterthought in the LG competition? Hainsey has been ticketed for G or C, his versatility a big advantage. It seems to me that he was at best 3rd in line to claim the LG position but now, with little to no competition, his being handed the C position is worthy of our concern.

    If Licht put so many eggs in his LG basket, will he really enter the 2022 season without acquiring sufficient competition for Hainsey? I sure hope not.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    If Brady didn’t come back, they weren’t resigning Jensen, that should tell you a lot. They wanted Jensen back just to be safe, because he’s a proven veteran and because Brady knew him, but the team sure did seem comfortable moving on. Now, I don’t know if that’s the right decision or not, but Licht certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt based on his track record with offensive lineman.

    Also even if Hainsey doesn’t look that great in the preseason, keep in mind how awful Cappa looked his 2nd year in preseason, he was flat out terrible and looked like a bust. Then magically, come opening day, he was super solid and had a very good year.

  32. Rod Munch Says:

    With my statement above in mind, let me also say there’s no way that Brady plays in the preseason unless Hainsey is a stud, even then I doubt he plays. No reason to put him out there. I just hope they play Trask so we can see what we got. Trask, so far, appears to be a bust, but they should at least let him play early and see what happens.

  33. jimm Says:

    why is nobody mentioning all the center experience he is getting on the scout team? those are real snaps, going against our defense. that seems like experience at center. it must count for something. it’s reps he gets that he doesn’t get on offense as backup.

  34. George Says:

    Hainsey is I’ll get an opportunity to earn the center job

    However, the Bucs would be well advised to sign JC Tretter as well

  35. D-Rok Says:

    Good point, jimm. Hainsey has actually had a full year’s worth of reps last year going against the likes of Suh and Vea et al. Coaches must already know what they have in him.

  36. Deadrock Says:

    You know the old saying. “A defensive lineman can tear a refrigerator apart, but an offensive lineman can put it back together, with the centers direction”!