Don’t Monkey With Offensive Line

December 8th, 2022

Offensive line chatter.

Very few things get Bucs fans stomping their feet, pounding their pints of beer on bars in anger and hollering quite like discussing the Bucs’ offensive line.

Joe remembers early this football season listening to two-time Super Bowl champion Max Starks, the former Steelers and Gators tackle co-hosting “Late Hits” with Alex Marvez on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and Starks went on a long, long, passionate rant about how teams cannot keep monkeying with an offensive line midseason.

Starks was emphatic that playing on an offensive line in the NFL is not a plug-and-play game. The longer the starting-five is together, the better they will be.

Starks’ points seem to be playing out in Cincinnati. The Bengals had a horrible offensive line last year and beefed it up for this offseason. The revamped line struggled for weeks to begin the season, but has now turned the corner.

Joe is writing this because Bucs right guard Shaq Mason, who is having a very underrated season, brought up this same issue yesterday.

Mason was asked about protecting Tom Brady and said the mostly intact line since Week 1 has really helped.

“I think continuity has a lot to do with it,” Mason said. “We all work hard each and every day. I know losing ‘Tris’ (Tristan Wirfs) was a big blow and [Josh] Wells did a great job stepping in and played his tail off, which just goes to show how hard he works each and every day.

“But I think as a unit, we’re jelling well and we’re meshing. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I think we’re taking steps in the right direction.”

Last week Bucs coach Todd Bowles remarked that the offensive line was rounding into form when Wirfs went down.

Joe was talking with a hardcore Bucs fan yesterday who wants the Bucs to move Robert Hainsey from center to left guard if Ryan Jensen returns. Joe remembered what Starks said and what Bowles said and how the Bengals’ line started off like crap and is now playing good ball. And now Mason is saying consistency is what’s helped the line improve since the summer.

So Joe told this Bucs fan if Jensen comes back, don’t eff with left guard Nick Leverett. Don’t go making wholesale changes on the line in December unless guys get hurt and you have no choice otherwise. The less moves the better.

Plug Jensen back in, sure. But leave Leverett where he is. He seems to be doing just fine.

(You may queue up your Donovan Smith hate in three… two… one… GO!)

26 Responses to “Don’t Monkey With Offensive Line”

  1. BucsfanFred Says:

    I don’t hate Donovan, but he needs to stop with the penalties and get focused again.

  2. BucsfanFred Says:

    I did hate ol’ glASS water Godameke.

  3. BucsfanFred Says:

    glASS eater

  4. fartman Says:

    I think Smith is clearly nursing an injury.

  5. BucsfanFred Says:

    Nassiv should give godeke a Colorado campfire

  6. BucsfanFred Says:


  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Monkey with it? We’ve got who we’ve got, nothing to monkey with. Jensen out. Wirfs out. Donnie is Donnie.

    What COULD help is better play calling and better play design. Our productivity on runs and passes is far too low.

  8. HC Grover Says:

    If Atlanta and Carolina can outblunder Bowlzo like the Stanks coach Allen did we should win the sorry sad division. Any other remaining team outblundering the Head Clown would be a bonus.

  9. D-Rok Says:

    Queue up Nancy Drew in the Case of the Missing Diagnosis. She might need help from Scooby Doo on this one.

  10. Tucker Says:

    Might just have to roll with what they have the entire season jenson has been in a boot the entire season you really think he has the conditioning to just go back in the lineup? I don’t think so think maybe hainsey is center for the rest of the way this season.

  11. Jack Sparrow Says:

    It’s hard to be an O-line. At max, u have 4 seconds to protect Brady and beyond that all hell breaks loose. Receivers need to have their separation at that point otherwise, D. Smith will have to hold to the tackles and get penalize just to protect Brady from being pancaked.

  12. ocala Says:

    I disagree with Joe. Put the five most talented and proven players out there and work towards building cohesion.


    Those above five are clearly the best linemen on the team right now and those are the five that should be starting if healthy.

  13. NEfan Says:

    4 seconds??? Brady gets it out in under 3.

  14. NEfan Says:

    I would question Wells for Smith and light a fire under his arse.

  15. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Leverett’s doing great, and Hainsey gets pushed back almost every play.

  16. Buc king Says:

    To the idea of how to use Jensen I personally think if back you move him to lg…
    To d smith..his foot work is horrible..
    He let’s fast guys set the edge on him.
    I don’t think it’s a loafing issue..I think it’s more iq and slow foot work.
    If I was a coach I force him to crab walk every where he goes including in his home..
    I hire a kid to follow him with a camera everywhere but the bathroom ensuring he crabs.

  17. AKicknTheBucNuts Says:

    Even if Jensen comes back, you’re not getting the 2021 version. He won’t be 100 percent and most likely will be favoring his knee. Not to mention the rust.

    Leave the line as is.

  18. gotbbucs Says:

    It is what it is at this point.

  19. Tony Says:

    Let Fournette get back into the refrigerator put another 50 or 75 lbs. on & move him to the OL.

  20. ocala Says:

    Don’t mess with the 27th ranked scoring offense. Everything is going great.

  21. Bob Buc Says:

    So Wells did a good job at RT? Awesome, keep him there and when he’s recovered, put Wirfs at LT in DS’s (Drive Stoppers) spot. Smith’s feet are sooo sloooow now – he couldn’t stomp a snail before it would get away. People don’t realize what a miracle the late game drives against the Saints were – overcoming 2 holding calls by that overpaid turnstile.

    Not hate – rather, observations.

  22. ClwJB Says:

    Hainsey isn’t the answer at either spot – dude gets pushed around like he’s wearing skates

    Can’t run the qb sneak because he cannot move any NFL DT out of a gap on his own

    Leverett has proven his worth – leave him alone

    If we can get an 80% Jensen back he is better than 110% of the current C

  23. steele Says:

    What is this great love for this mostly-backup OL that has been hit or miss all season? Hainsey the golden boy is who he is: technical and soft. Leverett was a sloppy disaster and didn’t earn a start when the season began. Now he’s a god after a few games? Donnie has been pretty awful.

    But this is what is. Pray.

    Of course continuity is important. But so is starting caliber talent and leadership. The minute Jensen is 100%, things immediately improve, the whole character of the line changes. But he isn’t 100%.

  24. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    BucsfanFred Says:
    “Nassib should give godeke a Colorado campfire.”

    Had to go to urban dictionary to figure that out. My question is, why do you even know this?”

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    Disagree. Instead leave Hainsey at center, and put Jensen in at LG. Jensen played guard in Baltimore before he was forced to move to center his last year there. Hainsey, I believe, has been a very solid center, and without knowing how well Jensen is going to play after the injury, put him at an easier position, which would be guard, where you’re not having to worry about bad snaps and stuff.

    As for the o-line, this week will be a huge test. The 49ers made that very good Dolphins line look like trash last week. That means guys will get beat this week, but if they can mostly hold their own, that’s a fantastic sign. With that said, I doubt the Bucs can hold their own, and hopefully that idiot Leftwich is scheming up please knowing that you can’t leave your LT just sitting on an island by himself if Bosa is lining up against him.

  26. Mason Says:

    It looked like Smith had been improving a lot since Brady came to town, and I think the idea of blocking for the goat really ignited a flame in him to work to improve, but its looking like he got comfortable and went back to his old ways.