Offensive Line A Project In Progress

March 17th, 2023

Starters at offensive line a puzzle.

So Joe will pull back the curtain a little at what goes on both in front and away from the cameras at the combine in Indianapolis.

Joe spoke with four Bucs sources, both on and off the record at Indianapolis, about what’s going on with the offensive line. Joe actually asked Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht at his Indianapolis press conference if Tristan Wirfs can play left tackle.

Off the record, Joe heard from several Bucs types that it was premature to start plugging guys into positions. Joe was told there was a solid chance the Bucs could add a lineman or two in free agency and/or the draft. So until the Bucs have all hands on deck for spring practices there would be no decisions on positions.

It seems the one sure thing was Ryan Jensen returning to center, but remember: Jensen started at left guard twice in 2020 when Ali Marpet was out with a concussion and A.Q. Shipley filled in at center.

Now all of this chatter with Bucs types was before the Bucs waved goodbye to veteran pillar at left tackle Donovan Smith and traded right guard Shaq Mason.

Bucs fans could be looking at four new starters on the offensive line, or at least four guys starting at new positions.

Yesterday at One Buc Palace to celebrate Jamel Dean and Anthony Nelson re-upping with the Bucs, Licht basically said on the record what Joe heard from others off the record: Nothing is settled yet on the offensive line.

“I think we have a lot of depth there and players that can actually start for us,” Licht said of the current roster of Bucs offensive linemen. “Now we are going to continue to add there. We’ve got the offseason, we have the draft, we have all the way up to our first game.

“We’re not playing in two weeks. We have a lot of time to do [decide who starts where]. We have a lot of confidence in these guys.”

And that possibly includes Wirfs moving to left tackle. Licht emphasized nothing has been decided but Wirfs flipping to the left side is very much on the table.

“Ever since we drafted Tristan we have talked about it,” Licht said. “I think right now it’s just talk. We have a lot of time to see how this unfolds.”

Licht also said in the press conference the team likely was not finished shopping for free agents, though he’s probably waiting for the third wave of free agency where bargains are more common.

So who may be starting at left tackle, at left guard, at right guard and right tackle? To be determined.

30 Responses to “Offensive Line A Project In Progress”

  1. MadMax Says:

    Steve Avila will be there with our 2nd….after we draft Hooker

  2. MadMax Says:

    as much as i want TE Washington and RB Achane, i have to let it go

  3. HC Grover Says:

    We need a left handed QB.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    I actually feel a LOT more comfortable about the offensive trench than I do about the defensive trench. Far more questions to be answered there.

  5. dmatt Says:

    It’s a no brainer that our first four picks in draft should be a combination of OL n DL. It is imperative that we get more pressure on the qb. The OT lost against the browns last year was an example of the defense allowing qbs to just stand in the pocket with all day to throw. I’m so glad we got rid of DSmith. I watched several highlights where he just gives up on plays n let Brady get sacked n the bonehead penalties he got was a result of him trying to get back at a player for getting the best of him on the previous play. He often allowed DL to get in his head.

  6. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Would any of you like to see this offensive line start in early September? From left to right: Andre Dillard, Robert Hainsey, Ryan Jensen, Luke Goedeke and Tristan Wirfs. Yep, it would be very new and iffy. Where would they be by December, though?

  7. Joe in Michigan Says:

    HC Grover is as useful as Greta Thunberg.

  8. Stebobucsfan Says:

    From what I’ve seen so far the Bucs have a plan and seem to be doing a good job at it. A month ago the media and sports talking heads had the Bucs as a sinking ship. Nonetheless, Bowles I am counting on you it your ship now. you’re the driver of this ship

  9. Beej Says:

    I’d much rather have a rookie at right tackle than at left

  10. BucsfanFred Says:

    DR, I’m more worried about the Dline too. We seem to have a decent supply of good to adequate players on the Online, but who do we have defensively except Via and Nelson? (I tend to count outside LBs as linemen)
    JTS shows potential, but that just means he hasn’t done anything yet. Hall showed nothing. Shaq???? He looked done before he got hurt. I can’t think of anybody else under contract.
    We need one hell of a draft.

  11. BucsfanFred Says:

    Stevobucsfan, I thought we were DOA too, but Licht pulled a few rabbits out of his hat and we look almost competitive again. A few more pieces and a great draft and the South can be ours again

  12. SB~LV Says:

    The returning OL plus the draft will have the 2023 OL better than last year’s.
    QB is the missing piece of the puzzle

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Anything going on with SMB, Edwards, Neal, Ryan, Gholston?

    I’m not as worried about our Oline as others…….We have Wirfs & Jensen….Leverette, Stinnie & Hainsey have performed well….& I expect significant improvement from Goedeke.
    It should be younger with D Smith & Mason gone…..

  14. Joe in Michigan Says:

    If the Bucs are serious about running the ball, draft Dawand Jones of Ohio State in the 2nd Round. The Bucs would have the 2 biggest, baddest Tackles in the NFL.

  15. larrd Says:

    Joe needs better “off the record sources,” LOL.

    I think Dillard signed with someone else, already. The Bucs must be pretty locked in on a tackle in the opening two rounds. Dawand Jones is a monster. Paris Johnson would be even better, but they’d have to trade up. Or, re-sign Donovan and draft best player!

  16. sasquatch Says:

    My guess is if they can draft a LT capable of starting there, they’d prefer to leave Wirfs where he is. So, best case, that happens, I’d expect Goedeke at LG and Hainsey at RG.

    LT – rookie
    LG – Goedeke
    C – Jensen
    RG – Hainsey
    RT – Wirfs

    That’s not a prediction. It’s just the alternative I think they’re most interested in.

    At the same time, spending a #1 on a LT may not be in the cards with all the needs on D. Should be interesting.

  17. geno711 Says:

    dmatt Says:
    March 17th, 2023 at 5:26 am
    It’s a no brainer that our first four picks in draft should be a combination of OL n DL.

    I tend to disagree. While it is important to fill your weaker positions, it is just as important to not overreach for lesser talents.

    In 2019, on this same site, fans were begging for a left tackle to be drafted and to already move on from Donovan Smith. But it was a bad class for offensive tackles.

    Again, fans were screaming for Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor or anybody drafted any round. Who was good in that class of tackles?

    We waited a year later were there were 4 OT prospects that were much better and got Wirfs. Have to let the draft board come to you a little bit and trust your scouting.

  18. Dooley Says:

    Draft wise, I like Paris Johnson & Jaelyn Duncan outright at LT. If Wirfs is shifted over to LT and we’re looking for his replacement at RT I’d take long looks at Jaxon Kirkland & Walter Rouse. Outside of those players, we’ll add a handful of developmental guys from the UDFA market to help hold a competition for the 3 starting gigs open and reserve spot. We also need a new reserve swing tackle with Josh Wells not likely to return, partly because he’s rehabbing and up there in age.

  19. rrsrq Says:

    I do understand blindside protection, but the way defensive lineman move around, if you move Tristan to the LT position, any good defense is going to attack that weakness, wether it is up the middle, left or right. The key remains the OC being able to adjust.

  20. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I guess I should put an asterisk by the Dawand Jones pick…IF a 375 pound guy could survive in the Florida heat. Hahaha

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    LT – Wirfs
    LG – Stinnie or Leverette
    C – Jensen
    RG – Hainsey
    RT – Goedeke or a rookie

  22. SKBucsFan Says:

    Lots of good OT’s available in Round 1. It wouod be refreshing to watch one that moves his feet to keep up with the rush.

  23. Yucs2Bucs Says:

    Trade for JONAH WILLIAMs who they lived in 2019 that would solidly the left tackle position?? At least do something that makes sense!!!!

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    Donovan Smith didn’t get a job yet, so clearly no one else wants him, so the Bucs should offer him a vet minimum deal and bring him back.

  25. Dubcity Says:

    Same issues all year w suspect trenches on both sides… but its ok.. according to the fans just blame the coaches for everything

  26. Dano Says:

    And this is what concerns me most about the Bucs is the OLine. The other is the DLine.

  27. sasquatch Says:

    We’ve got enough bodies to field a competent starting OL. Can’t say that about the DL. We’ve got to draft 2 there. Arguably, we don’t have what we need at OLB, which is a real pass rusher. I’m not expecting Shaq to be the same, JTS isn’t worth betting on, and Nelson is a good backup, rotational player. Where’s the pass rush? We gotta draft defense early and wait for the OL later on.

  28. Mike Johnson Says:

    Please go OL, DE and CB with our 1st 3 picks.

  29. Mr. Editor Says:

    @Mike: you’ve got the right idea!

  30. garro Says:

    Thanks Joe’s
    I now know exactly the same things I knew before I read your post…