The Benefit Of Emptying The Bench

May 1st, 2023

Joe has screamed on this page that an organization should play either to win a Super Bowl or to win in the NFL Draft. But that means more than just resting top players when a team is sure to miss the playoffs.

Sitting starters is usually the focus of fans and media, but the best part of playing for the future when a season is lost is seeing the quality — or lack thereof — of your bench players.

The Bucs won the NFC South last season with one game remaining. They rested many key players against Atlanta but some played. That game opened a window for struggling rookie left guard Luke Goedeke, a guy who had gotten buried on the bench after a foot injury, to start at right tackle for Tristan Wirfs.

Goedeke had one boneheaded play against the Falcons, but overall he played a fantastic game against Atlanta’s starters — on the road.  That one game, one opportunity, may have opened the door for Goedeke to start at right tackle this season as Tristan Wirfs relocates to left tackle.

There was a strong implication from One Buc Palace that the Wirfs move will happen, but Joe is waiting to see if it really does, as in Wirfs on the practice field later this month at left tackle.

Regardless, the point is that emptying the bench is often a great thing. Joe was banging the table for Kyle Trask to start against Atlanta, but it didn’t happen.

In years past, Joe would have loved to see the Bucs do more to preserve the legs of Lavonte David or, for example, give guard Alex Cappa more playing time as a rookie on a miserable team.

If Goedeke moves to right tackle, one could infer that smart management in Week 18 changed this year’s draft strategy for the Bucs and led to what’s hopefully lasting, critical and positive changes on the offensive line.

21 Responses to “The Benefit Of Emptying The Bench”

  1. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Many felt that Licht reached for Goedeke, picking him in the second round when his teammate went in the 3rd round and started several games for the Colts.
    Let’s hope Goedeke becomes the player we need him to be

  2. Allen Lofton Says:

    It’s now in the hands of the coaches to mold the players – we’ll know if it’s the coaches or poor drafting.

  3. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    If you give a potter poor quality clay to work with , all the molding in the world will not produce a quality pot.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Donnie Smith is still unsigned……maybe we’ll get him back for a free lifetime pass to Ben & Jerry’s.

  5. eric Says:

    I went back and watched yesterday because i was wondering was it just fluff and trying to build the guy up! I was impressed he looked like a second round draft pick with starting potential. Lets embrace the change Luke keep improving!

  6. Dooley Says:

    I trust offensive OL Coach Joe Gilbert, to whip our guys into shape and get them prepared. This is the time of year positional coaches are doing the most important part of their job, and that’s developing these OLmen through Canales’ install and figuring out the pecking order at both guard spots and RT/LT.

  7. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Goedeke natural position is RT. Bucs started him at LG, a spot he was unfamiliar playing. Hopefully RT will better suit Goedeke.

  8. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    Do too injuries we got to see a lot of different oline men play last year. Hainsey got a bunch of snaps so did Leverette and Goedeke. Some of it was good and some was bad but at least the coaches have tape on these guys now and hopefully coach out the bad.

  9. Goatfarmer Says:

    Yeah, that Gilbert really whipped them into shape last year. Oh, I forgot, someone retired, someone got injured, some one lost to free agency. Excuses! Meanwhile the Bengals went up to Buffalo in the playoffs and shredded the Bills with bartenders and waitresses on the O-line. No excuses, just results.

  10. WVBuc Says:

    I’m very happy that Trask wasn’t used against the Falcons. Tom Brady wasn’t able to look good for 16 games with Leftwich as the undisputed coordinator of all plays. It wouldn’t have been a worthwhile experience. Especially since you can be certain the decision to terminate much of the staff had been made and it was understood there’d be a new offense for 2023.

  11. Goatfarmer Says:

    The Atlanta game exposed Todd’s poor headcoiching “acumen.” He neither played to win, nor played to see his backups in a way that could have properly showcased (or not) their capabilities.

    Then the Dallas home “playoff” game exposed both his tactical as well as strategic shortcomings.

    And Jason is stuck with him for at least 6 more months, until Bowels records his 9th loss of the season.

  12. Dooley Says:

    Sulkamania is running wild this morning lol it’s like the ‘member berries have gone rancid and are trying to be contrarian at the same time lol waka waka waka

  13. Rob Hamada Says:

    The only reason Goedeke played LG is because of the injuries to Jensen and Stinnie. I think Hainsey would have started at LG without the injuries and Goedeke would have been getting reps at RG and RT without the pressure of playing. It’s a bit unfair to expect him to play well moving from RT to LG.

  14. Duane Says:

    We will have a better understanding of our talent this year. The Jensen injury put the team in a bad spot, and Lefty has demonstrated that he had not clue or ability as to how to fix it. To me, both lines are in flux, but I can appreciate that Licht has hedged his bets by acquiring more bodies. The experience the new guys got on the line last year will benefit the team this year.

  15. Hodad Says:

    The Bucs offense under Leftitch rarely let rookies hit the field. Itchleft was slow to play White, never gave Thompkins a shot, completely forgot Vaughn was on the roster, and was slow turning to Otton even tho Brate was cooked. Things are about to change for better, or worse. I think better. Young players are going to compete, and play. We really don’t have a choice. This is going to be a fun training camp. There’s a lot of spots up for grabs. This will harden a team that was to soft, to often last year. New day coming to Tampa Bay.

  16. Infomeplease Says:

    Hodad, you are right about many things! IMO, things will vastly improved on the offense! And defense too! Head coaching is another story… can only improve I hope!!

  17. Fred McNeil Says:

    This year is gonna hinge on Traskfield. If one or both are good we will be good. If not we get a high draft pick.

  18. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Even with today’s sports science it typically takes more than year for an offensive lineman to become NFL sufficient. Wirfs represents the exception to the rule.

  19. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    Hodad they were soft. They played uninspired.

  20. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Goatfarmer. Totally agree about Gilbert. He should’ve been shipped out during the purge. No OL coach should keep his job after a team finishes dead last in rushing and had one of the worse run games in history. I had my issues with Leftwich, but the OL coaches should also be held accountable. The team threw a totally raw Goedeke right into the fire. Whose idea was it to have two new guys protect the interior of Brady? No QB likes interior pressure, but it can bother Brady more.

  21. jimm Says:


    If you give a poor potter excellent quality clay to work with , all the molding in the world will not produce a quality pot… with the possibility of an occasional “accident”

    Another player who got a chance to raise his stock (due to injury) was brandon walton … there could be an interesting competition at rt:

    goedeke, walton, mauch (even tho they say guard for now) and
    matt fieler (played/started tackle for steelers/guard for chargers)

    let the fun begin. may the best man win.