Jason Licht: Luke Goedeke’s Rookie Season Was “Unfair”

March 3rd, 2023

Jason Licht reacts.

Oh, trust Joe. Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht heard Tampa Bay fans holler.

As October grew less hot, Bucs fans became hotter under the collar. They hated rookie left guard Luke Goedeke and not only wanted him benched, but thrown back into the MAC from whence he came.

Goedeke quickly became a target when the offensive line proved not to be as rock solid as it had been for years. Joe strongly believes in 2020, and likely in 2021 as well, the Bucs had the best offensive line in the NFL.

NFL fans generally love to stomp their feet and holler about offensive lines.

Goedeke was eventually benched and Joe could argue the team used an injury as a cover to sit him. Nick Leverett took over at left guard in Week 8 and Goedeke really never saw the field much until the final game of the season when he started at right tackle for injured Tristan Wirfs.

And pretty much every Bucs fan, including Joe, believes Goedekie’s one-game stint at right tackle was his best ball he had all season possibly outside of opening day.

Licht admitted this week in Indianapolis that Goedeke struggled. But Licht believes the hysteria about Goedeke’s troubles were over the top and called them “unfair.”

“Well, I think Luke last year – as a rookie coming in from playing right tackle at Central Michigan to left guard, which is a move to the other side which is never easy – started the season off well, but then went through a gauntlet of some of the top premier three-techniques in the NFL,” Licht said. “He was maybe a bit unfairly evaluated for a rookie. I think he is going to take a big step up.”

Well, a big reason for the freakout was that there was so much at stake last year. Failed Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was in the same boat. The Bucs were desperately trying one last run for a Super Bowl in what pretty much everyone believed was Tom Brady’s last ride.

If the Bucs were expected to finish last in the division with Blaine Gabbert, there wouldn’t have been nearly the wild reaction to Goedeke getting worked over.

31 Responses to “Jason Licht: Luke Goedeke’s Rookie Season Was “Unfair””

  1. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    I do agree with Licht that it was unfair to judge Goedeke so harshly. When he played the one game at right tackle he clearly showed he is capable of being a starter on the o-line in the NFL. Moving out of position from the right side to the left sounds simple but MANY o-linemen in the NFL would struggle with it.

    The Bucs didn’t have a lot of options for a left guard at that point. Marpet retired. Stinnie was on IR. Hainsey was needed at center to replace Jensen. They did have Nick Leverett though and they waited too long to make that change when Goedeke was struggling.

  2. Jack Clark Says:

    How is Byron leftwich a failed offensive coordinator when he won us a Super Bowl, had a 5-2 winning playoff record, a 39-27-0 total winning record, and a top 5 NFL offense in 3 out of his 4 years being our OC?? Do you even apply that same backwards logic of labeling a coach as a failure for having one bad year to everyone else?

    Make that make sense Joe

  3. ChiBuc Says:

    Not only did he go through a gauntlet, but he did so with a bumbling Smith to his left and an essential rookie in Hainsey to his rt, as a rookie switching sides. Meanwhile, every Brady sychophant and his mom were looking for every excuse in the world for Tommy’s glittery fearful play. And he did it as a rookie switching sides. I believe a year next to Jensen and all the haters will flip faster than a pancake at IHOP.

  4. Winny Testaverde Says:


    I went to the small school, trade up for lineman well one too many times.

    Marpet & Cappa to a lesser extent worked for Licht.

    Goedeke reminds me of a fake tough guy who built bravado on shoving around undersized d-lineman in mid major college football. He was abused like a rented car/mule in his first NFL season. Time will tell but so far looks like a reach-around.

  5. Tim Says:

    @Jack Clark This is just my impression, but those other years, Arians was the coach. This last year he wasn’t. Does that mean that Arians was calling the plays? No. But maybe BL bounced ideas off of BA that he couldn’t do with Bowles. Or maybe he couldn’t properly adjust to Bowles’ new scheme. Either way, he failed, at least last year.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If the same was applied to top picks JTS & Hall…….they would be judged just as harshly.
    I think changing positions added to rookie status should require some patience from us.
    I think he will take a step forward this year. I totally trust Licht with his Olinemen drafts…..

  7. WillieG Says:

    Leftwich didn’t help matters by running behind him instead of behind the veteran right side. Bowles didn’t help by not putting a stop to it.

  8. Tim Says:

    ^^^^^ Agreed.^^^^

  9. Dooley Says:


    Agreed Goedeke was the last man standing week 1 while Hainsey played C in place of Jensen, but both Hainesy & Leverett got injured during our final preseason game and I think that factored in replacing Goedeke while he struggled. All 3 of those guys, Hainsey, Goedeke, & Leverett all ended the season getting a ton of reps for a rookie and two depth players. Moving forward that experience should be a benefit of our overall OL situation on top of whatever additions/subtraction come between now & camp.

  10. Rob Hamada Says:

    Move Goedeke to the right side and allow him to compete at RG. Trade Mason .

  11. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Bowles also said he and Leverett are small. 312lbs is pretty big to be small, but ok!

  12. gotbbucs Says:

    Well, it was a horrible idea to put him in at left guard. Shaq Mason had played left guard before with the Patriots. It made way more sense to move him there and let Goedeke play right guard where it would have been a much more natural transition just scooting over one position from his college position of right tackle. Stinnie was also more comfortable at right guard. I said all of this right after they drafted Goedeke.

  13. gotbbucs Says:

    @Jack Clark
    Leftwich was awful when he stepped in as OC in Arizona for a little under one season. Then he got helicopter parented by Arians for three years in Tampa. He immediately oversaw an offense where the QB threw 30 interceptions with Winston. Then he had Brady and a loaded offensive roster for two years with papa Arians looking over his shoulder and saving him from embarrassment. Then one year with Brady without Arians and the offense looked almost identical to what it did his one year calling plays in Arizona.
    How quickly has Leftwich now landed on somebody else’s coaching staff? Kellen Moore was on the street for about 24 hours after the Cowboys fired him. That’s all you need to know in how the rest of the league views his time in Tampa.

  14. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    You know what was unfair? Us fans paying to see Goedeke get his hind end handed to him repetitively last season.

  15. JD Still Says:

    Playing Goedeke at guard was a disaster but not one of his making, starting a rookie who played tackle in college at a starting guard position on the opposite side of the line in the NFL was , shall we say, unwise , as was demonstrated when he was able to play at the position he was familiar with and did much better, it would be like a baseball team taking a right handed hitter from college baseball bringing him straight to the pros, starting him and making him bat left handed! What would you expect to happen?

  16. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Jason you draft poorly and this is one of the F graded guys, hope you have not blown another draft class

  17. geno711 Says:

    Got to agree with gotbbucs.
    The Arians influence was the biggest difference with Leftwich was the two years that he did not have Arians. The year in Arizona where he was OC with no Bruce Arians and this past year in Tampa where he was OC with no Bruce Arians above him in the coaching rank.

    He got exposed. Does he know more offense than you or I? No doubt. Is he better than average NFL coach when there is not a stud guy above him? No way.

  18. geno711 Says:

    I tend to think that Goedeke will be the next Alex Cappa. Not a stud but a solid guy with no apparent holes.

  19. Bucamania Says:

    It was unfair to the the rest of the team for putting him in there at LG.

  20. Infomeplease Says:

    He has room for improvement. I hope he adds some weight and strength, and comes back looking forward and playing hard!!

  21. Brandon Says:

    You know what I don’t understand, how EVERYTIME I’ve seen people spell GOEDOEKE, they spell it correctly but way too many of you can’t spell RONDE without an H, the right version of SIMS/SIMMS, and a bunch of others.

  22. Brandon Says:

    And I misspelled GOEDEKE 🤡

  23. HC Grover Says:

    Unfair but friendly.

  24. MadMax Says:

    It was unfair on the kid, I kind of felt bad for him…rookie year and tasked with protecting the GOAT, who im sure was barking in his ear many times…

    He can be a bu RG/RT to rest Mason and Wirfs….or if we let Mason go, boom, theres our starting RG. We draft a new LT and keep Leverett at LG and sign a cheap backup. Or if we do move Wirfs to LT, he’ll be our starting RT.

    Im really liking LT Anton Harrison at 19 if Carter isnt there….If Carter’s there and we take him, go for LT Jaelyn Duncan next.

  25. BucsfanFred Says:

    If Godeke wasn’t ready he should not have been on the field.

  26. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I think it was unfair judging him at both positions. One good game at rt doesn’t mean he’s great there either.

  27. captivajim Says:

    not surprised licht would defend his draft pick

  28. unbelievable Says:

    Hmmm, well riddle me this Jason:

    Who is the one who put Luke in such an unfair position last year???

  29. FrontFour Says:

    Played the kid out of position and put him up against the best D lineman in the NFL as a rookie. Maybe we didn’t have many options but how many guys succeed in that situation. Agree with some others here that we dump Mason, who underwhelmed, and move Goedeke to RG.

  30. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    Move Wirfs to LT, put Luke at RT, draft O’Cyrus Torrence for LG (if need be, trade up. It was done for Wirfs), Jensen-C, Mason-RG. Hainsey can backup across the board.

  31. Destinjohnny Says:

    It totally was
    He was over drafted and he is a low level back up