The Left Tackle Question

May 7th, 2023

Left tackle quandary.

So last week Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that it’s not locked in that Tristan Wirfs is a left tackle.

Whew! There is hope.

“This Joe” has been over-the-top clear how the thought of moving the game’s best right tackle to experiment with him at left tackle is repugnant to Joe’s very core. Why mess with greatness?

(Remember, the Bucs not long ago outsmarted themselves by moving Ali Marpet to center. How’d that work out?)

Well, if you read between the lines, the Bucs have basically painted themselves into a corner where they may not have a choice.

Licht’s right-hand man vice president of player personnel John Spytek confessed the Bucs had hopes of drafting a left tackle is in his draft-closing press conference, but the draft didn’t shake out that way.

Dan Pompei of The Athletic, one of the top national NFL scribes out there, published an eval that the Bucs wanted to draft a left tackle, specifically, but they couldn’t find a guy they thought could step right in and start or they just weren’t impressed with who was available at the position when it was the Bucs’ turn to pick. (Joe is irritated by not being able to find the link.)

So the Bucs looked at the big picture and figured Wirfs is the best option.

From Licht’s words, it sounds like the Bucs really haven’t pulled the trigger completely on flipping Wirfs to left tackle if they can find one in a trade or in the dreaded post-June 1 designation (release).

68 Responses to “The Left Tackle Question”

  1. Scott Says:

    If Licht doesn’t get Bowles a decent option for LT then you can’t hold it against the coaching. Might as well try Wirfs out and see how it goes until next years draft for a possible replacement or switch back.

  2. Casual Observer Says:

    I trust the coaches to evaluate this experiment. Worth trying.

  3. Letsbucinggo Says:

    You have guards up and down the roster should have drafted a tackle. Licht did the same thing last the offensive line was in constant turmoil all year. Looks like it could be a repeat this year.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I generally agree that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”……but something is broken & it’s left tackle…….the odds are much better that Wirfs can make the switch and we can find a suitable right tackle than finding a left tackle…

    Is there really anyone here that really thinks Wirfs can’t do it?

  5. Buc1987 Says:

    I agree they may not have any other option other than to move Wirfs.

  6. TonySoprano Says:

    I just find it odd how quickly Licht declared Mauch will be a G. He’s tall, quick feet, actually played LT, and has longer arms than Goedeke and Hainsey. With the glaring hole at tackle I would think they’d at least consider him.

  7. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    IMO – if Wirfs didn’t think he could do it well, this conversation wouldn’t be happening.

  8. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    A Teams left tackle always faces the other teams best pass rushers, so if Wirfs does move, I would not expect him to be as perfect as he was at Right Tackle.
    Just because he was an All Pro Right Tackle does not mean he will enjoy the same success on the left side of the line.
    I would leave him at right tackle.

  9. Mike Says:

    (Maybe) Damned if you do and (most likely) damned if you don’t.

  10. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I’m happy Spytek is still with the Bucs, surprised he hasn’t got a GM job yet. Spytek said “A tackle” and didn’t specify Left Tackle, and went on to say the Bucs have several options at Right Tackle (Goedeke, Feiler, and Walton) without naming Wirfs…I think the only way Wirfs goes back to RT is if the Bucs can sign Taylor Lewan or somebody like him on the cheap, which I don’t think Lewan will do.

  11. Joe Says:

    Taylor Lewan

    The Julio Jones of left tackles who is now suing his doctors.

  12. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Projected Depth Chart (Going Into Camp)

    LT Tristan Wirfs | Brandon Walton | Dylan Cook
    LG Nick Leverett | Aaron Stinnie | John Molchon
    C.  Ryan Jensen | Robert Hainsey | Chris Murray
    RG Matt Feiler | Cody Mauch | Luke Haggard
    RT Luke Goedeke | Justin Skule | Grant Hernanns | Michael Niese

  13. dmatt Says:

    No worries, Wirf is an athlete, he’s faced some of the most ferocious pass rushers in the league since 2020. Jumping out of the pool at over 320 lbs takes one who is deemed a freak of an athlete. Not many can make the transition from RT to LT but he’s an exception.

  14. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    I think Licht will acquire LT sometime before Training Camp starts, he always seems to come up with a body, it doesn’t always work out but he finds guys.

  15. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    * a LT

  16. Geno711 Says:

    @Joe it was in the article by The Athletic NFL staff on May 3rd titled:

    NFL team needs: What holes remain for all 32 teams after the draft?

    For Tampa:

    The Bucs admittedly wanted to draft an offensive tackle in the first round who could potentially replace Donovan Smith. The board didn’t break their way, but they were able to draft Cody Mauch in the second round. Mauch might be a tackle, might be a guard. For now, it looks like Tristan Wirfs is moving from right tackle to left and Luke Goedeke will get a shot to be the right tackle. The team also remains thin at safety, as the depth behind Antoine Winfield Jr. and Ryan Neal is questionable. — Dan Pompei

  17. Geno711 Says:


    As you can see from the article, Joe referenced the link you sent, both the publication and Dan Pompei.

    The other article, Joe cannot remember. Thought he saved the article.

  18. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Marpet isn’t the freak athlete that Wirfs is (no video of Marpet leaping out of a pool), so why not give it a shot!? He might be an All Pro left tackle for the next 10 years!?? Then again, maybe not, won’t know till they try!

  19. ATLBuc Says:

    dmatt that was sick!! I have enough problems climbing out of the pool with a ladder!

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    Remember, the Bucs not long ago outsmarted themselves by moving Ali Marpet to center. How’d that work out?


    They just moved him back to guard where he continued to be an ALL-PRO.

    I will agree with you, at the time, I thought that move was stupid. Going from guard to center, for someone how never played that, is a huge transition. But going from right to left tackle, isn’t as big of a transition – and if it fails, you just move him back to RT. In any case he’s then had some time cross training, which is never a bad thing. I mean look at Marpet, later, due to injuries, he was able to fill in at center.

    This 2023 Bucs team isn’t going anywhere and is going to be on the worst teams in the NFL, so now is the time to try this out and see what happens. But a franchise LT is worth more than a franchise RT because the LT is almost, always, facing better competition. Who knows, if Wirfs was at LT last year, then maybe Leftwich’s dumb calls might work since you’d have Wirfs being left on an island week after week with no help going against the very best pass rushers in the NFL.

  21. SB~LV Says:


  22. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Joe

    “Remember, the Bucs not long ago outsmarted themselves by moving Ali Marpet to center. How’d that work out?”

    It worked out fine. Marpet was then moved to Left Guard and was an All-Pro for several years.

    He started at Right Guard…

    See how that works?


  23. dmatt Says:


  24. Marine Buc Says:

    @ LUV

    I think Hainsey or Mauch will beat out Nick Leverett for one of the starting OG spots…

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if Matt Feiler also got a shot to compete at Right Tackle.

  25. DoooshLaRue Says:

    “This Joe” is not real smart.

    I know Wirfs can do a lot more than just back peddle and play paddy cakes like Durable Donnie could do…… and not have to hold either.

    Wirfs is a top athlete and there is Zero chance he won’t succeed.

  26. Pewter Power Says:

    Somebody writing these articles haven’t figured it out yet. If we had drafted a left tackle and he hit we can expect top tier money. Nobody in the nfl is paying top tier money for a left and right tackle. It makes no sense, teams have average to above average right tackles. Even Donovan smith was getting paid like an average left tackle.

    It’s much easier to replace left than right tackle and you don’t have to use a high draft pick to do it. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say an NFL gm is light years above your take.

  27. Bucs Guy Says:

    Possible trade for Becton (NY Jets) or Williams (Bengals) using 2024 pick and dependent upon how much of the salary the old team pays. However you probably have to sign them to a long term deal as a part of the trade or they become a one year rental.

    Or just pick a LT in the 2024 draft. Of course that becomes a problem if you need to pick a QB.

  28. BucsBeBack (Artist formally known as: BringBucsBack) Says:

    It was irresponsible of Jason to omit a left tackle high in the draft. They did the same thing last year, knowing they needed offensive lineman, they a took defensive lineman that they are historically unable to properly evaluate & an unimpressive G/T that was over drafted and struggled. BPA is fine however, you can’t totally neglect arguably the second most important position on the team.

  29. sasquatch Says:

    If it were me, I’d be looking to trade Devin White straight up for a high quality starting left tackle. They have to consider that. Of course, it would require some more cap finagling to absorb a starting LT salary even with the offset of unloading D. White’s salary.

  30. Rod Munch Says:

    This year doesn’t matter. The team is going to stink. Having a good LT isn’t going to be a make or break decision. This is the year that you try stuff out, all across the board, and see who can do what and who is going to be here in the future. You’re rebuilding, regardless of if people want to admit that or not. Everything this year should be about next year, when hopefully the team is going to get a real QB.

  31. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Joe Says:
    May 7th, 2023 at 12:38 pm
    Taylor Lewan

    The Julio Jones of left tackles who is now suing his doctors.
    Thanks for the information, Joe…Lewan is done.

  32. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Sasquatch

    I saw a trade rumor that sent D. White to the Bengals for LT J. Williams and a 4th round pick.

    Their salaries would cancel out as they are within $500K of each other.

    I’m not a huge fan of J. Williams (knee surgery/12 sacks in 2022) but it would solve two problems at once…

  33. Marine Buc Says:

    I re-watched the week #18 game in Atlanta recently and noticed Luke Goedeke actually played better at RT than he did LG.

    He had a very solid game at RT.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Goedeke is our starting RT.

  34. AnonymousBuc76 Says:


    Apparently we wanted a tackle but I’m guessing the one or two guys we hoped would be available was drafted before our picked…Reaching for one who you may have had a second Rd grade on instead of taking the defensive linemen who probably shouldn’t have been available at 19 was imo the best decision…

    That being said, this was a case were drafting for need instead of taking the best player available would have been totally justifiable…

    Does anyone know if Tristan has ever played LT?

    Maybe moving him over at some point was the plan all along… He seems athletic enough to be able to pull it off; we’ll all have to wait and see how this plays out…

  35. Joe in Michigan Says:

    There are a few Right Tackle options on the market who Dave Canales knows from their time with the Seahawks: George Fant and Brandon Shell…Not sure if either is injured and/or has anything left in the tank.

  36. SB~LV Says:

    Maybe they can trade DW for Donovan Smith
    Long way to quality football from this franchise

  37. Rand Says:

    Jesus H Christ. Ask Wirfs if he thinks he can do it and if he would like the opportunity to make better money. Guaranteed he can make the transition. The guy is an athlete and smart. I would rather have a transitioning Wirfs than an average guy protecting the blind side of my QB.

  38. Rand Says:

    Licht’s right-hand man vice president of player personnel John Spytek confessed the Bucs had hopes of drafting a left tackle is in his draft-closing press

    They had a chance, LT Anton Harrison was still on the board at #19

  39. AnonymousBuc76 Says:


    I believe the Bucs can win the NFC South again there’s no really good team in our division right now… I don’t expect Derek Carr to show us anything that we haven’t seen out of him before; he just had the leagues leading rusher and the best receiver in the game and still managed to get benched and then pouted his way out of LV…

    This division up for grabs; this team still has plenty of players on the roster with playoff experience…What we need is for some of these “puppies” to become big dogs…

    This is a very important year for Todd Bowles; he may not ever get another HC job if he gets fired in Tampa…

  40. sasquatch Says:

    Rand Says:
    May 7th, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    They had a chance, LT Anton Harrison was still on the board at #19

    And they felt Kancey was the better player at another position of need. Don’t reach for need if it means you bypass better talent.

  41. Mort Says:

    If you don’t think Tristan Wirfs can translate to left tackle, you’re probably just a super negative person. Why wouldn’t he be able to? Because someone else once tried a completely different position and was simply okay at it? How’s that about Tristan? Ali ≠ Tristan.

  42. Craig Says:

    Stinnie did a really good job while he was subbing for Donnie, and Hainsey is supposed to be versatile.

    Hainsey actually got pretty good at center last season and was very durable.

  43. Joe Says:

    If you don’t think Tristan Wirfs can translate to left tackle, you’re probably just a super negative person.

    Joe has no idea if Wirfs can play left tackle on the NFL. Every offensive lineman Joe has spoken with tells Joe it is much harder than so many people believe it to be.

    Here is what Joe *does know*: Tristan Wirfs is may be the most dominant right tackle the game has seen in a while. Why eff with that? (That is a positive, thank you very much).

    Joe has yet to find a sane reason.

    Hey, the Bucs need a safety. Let’s move Lavonte David to safety! Who says it can’t work? (See Joe silly that is?)

  44. stpetebucfan Says:

    Again can we consider the example of Ryan Jensen when considering moving OL.

    Jensen was selected in the 6th round. He didn’t even make the roster out of training camp. He was released in August of 2014 and resigned the very next day to the practice squad. If he was a true stud at the time another team would have claimed him.

    He slogged around for his first three years with no impact. Year 4 the Ravens move him to Center and the rest is history.

    Young players moving around on the OL are nothing new. How do we know that Iowa didn’t miss out on Wirfs at LT? Perhaps it was a numbers thing where they already had an LT?

    Bottom line I’m not worried about Wirfs at LT. Goeddeke at RT is the far bigger experiment. IMHO he certainly has shown the potential at that position but potential doesn’t block…lets see what he does on the field.

  45. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Again, how many LTs are there? You worry about the QB but there WILL be no QB if the defense’s best rusher hits the QB’s BLINDSIDE over & over. When you’re a TOP-2 tackle in the league you can play the most important tackle position. Comparing a move from RT to LT to moving to C is so asinine it’s not even worth discussing.

  46. mark2001 Says:

    You complainers. At least we didn’t lose the last game last year, or we would have had to pick 9 instead of 19… and that much higher in each round. But plenty of talent on this team, and when you are so close to another SB run, why worry? Hoist the NFC South flag…better than three other teams. That should be enough for you guys. So we were steamrolled by Dallas..who cares? Nothing better than a NFC South conference championship, particularly when all the other teams in the conference were tidy wipes last year, and just barely worse than us. SMH.

  47. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    I gotta say this, if your football acumen truly says TRISTAN WIRFS can’t play left tackle and you’d rather a scrub play there, it literally taints the football analysis of everything you ever say. WHY are they moving him there? Why not play Mauch or Goedeke there? BECAUSE YOU NEED BETTER SPEED AND QUICKNESS to play left tackle. You actually brought up a comparison that it’s the same thing as moving LVD to safety: HE DOESN’T HAVE THE SPEED & QUICKNESS TO PLAY SAFETY. Literally, do you know how football works?

  48. Peskajumba Says:

    Please, stop the AC/DC thing.
    Most of Joe’s stuff has been crap, lately.
    Luv u.

  49. Tucker Says:

    So the logic is to not move him to left tackle because you don’t know? That’s why you move him to see if he can if your scared watch a different sport. The thing with unknowns is they are unknown it could go either way if you don’t try him at left tackle then you won’t find out he is going to be one of the best left tackles in the game he has done it in college he was training it in the off-season I think he has a chance to be just as great at left tackle he wirfs is that special and it’s not like the right tackle position is going to disappear if he can’t do it you just move it back wth. I would trust wirfs at left tackle more than anyone they could get at the current cap situation.

  50. Brandon Says:

    Moving a LB to safety isn’t in the same ballpark as RT to LT. Besides, Wirfs played LT for three games in college. Moving from RT to LT is like moving from RCB to LCB or LDE to RDE… maybe from WILL to Mike LB but not ass big a jump from CB to S.

  51. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Joe Says:
    May 7th, 2023 at 3:14 pm
    If you don’t think Tristan Wirfs can translate to left tackle, you’re probably just a super negative person.

    Joe has no idea if Wirfs can play left tackle on the NFL. Every offensive lineman Joe has spoken with tells Joe it is much harder than so many people believe it to be.

    Here is what Joe *does know*: Tristan Wirfs is may be the most dominant right tackle the game has seen in a while. Why eff with that? (That is a positive, thank you very much).

    Joe has yet to find a sane reason.

    Hey, the Bucs need a safety. Let’s move Lavonte David to safety! Who says it can’t work? (See Joe silly that is?)

    Hitting the Bud Lights a little hard today?

  52. Destinjohnny Says:

    In the whole draft they couldn’t find one??
    Come on man

  53. JeffreyLane77 Says:

    Let’s not ignore the fact LT Anton Harrison was available at 19. Licht took Kancey instead. I would’ve ranked the LT a higher need than DT in this draft. Considering Licht has used a 1st or 2nd rd pick on d-line for the last couple years. And they signed free agent Greg Gaines.

    But yeah… Let’s just experiment by moving the RT to LT. Then find a new starter at RT instead of just drafting a LT. Cause everyone knows constant upheaval is great for O-lines. At least we will be in good position to draft more Oline next year. This Oline as it is right now has too many holes to be any good.

  54. Who Says Says Can't Say Says:

    It would feel typical for these guys to blunder by taking the best right tackle in the game and making him maybe one of the worst starting at left tackle.

    Great pass rushers line up all over the place now, not like the old days where they feasted on the quarterback’s blind side. All you are doing by moving Wirfs is taking away your best asset and making it EASIER for the opposing teams to sack the quarterback.

  55. Defense Rules Says:

    Rand … ‘Ask Wirfs if he thinks he can do it and if he would like the opportunity to make better money.’

    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Wirfs becomes the highest paid OLineman in the NFL regardless of what position he plays. Tristan strikes me as the Joe Thomas of his generation; he’s that good.

  56. BucaneroJim Says:

    Hey Tristan!… been experimenting trying to wipe my butt with the left, rather than my usual right hand – has not been easy, see what you mean. I likely, won’t move to India any time soon!

  57. BucsFan1328 Says:

    Wirfs is a beast no matter where he lines up. Unless we add someone then our current best option is making the move

  58. sasquatch Says:

    Note to the draft strategy simpletons:

    You don’t draft players simply by highest need. If you need A, B, and C positions, that doesn’t correspond to drafting A in round 1, B in round 2, and C in round 3. You’re liable to leave a lot of talent on the table and draft lesser players if you’re not a bit more strategic about it.

    Kancey was a better player than any available tackle candidate at that point, according to their evaluations. Likewise Mauch was obviously the best O lineman on the board in round 2, in their estimation. Beyond round 2, you’re not gonna find a guy to come in and start for you at tackle this year, so you keep drafting the best player for your team at every pick. Sorry if it didn’t please the amateur GMs out there.

    Obviously they felt their other options for the tackle positions were acceptable if a plug-in type LT wasn’t drafted.

    This also is an obvious indication of how strongly they feel about Kancey.

  59. Irishmist Says:

    Our cap situation would be greatly improved if Wirfs works out at L tackle, since we are going to have to give him a boatload of money anyway, and that’s a premium position that requires a big contract. So it’s worth a try.

  60. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucs weren’t high on Harrison – especially at #19.

    Bucs were sky high on Kancey and felt #19 was a steal for his talent.

    Licht did the right thing based on how the draft fell.

    Odds are good I’d say that these questions about moving Wirfs to LT and why did we draft Kancey instead of Harrison will be resoundingly answered by the players themselves – on the field.

    Wirfs will look way better than Donnie ever did basically from day 1 – and Kancey lined up next to Vea is going to revitalize our pass rush in a big way. QBs will literally be running into JTS trying to get away from the 2 beasts blowing up the middle.

  61. Mike S Says:

    I just don’t get Joe. Why wouldn’t you want your best OT at LT?

  62. BUCman Says:

    They did the right thing not reaching and taking Anton Harrison at 19. Reaching for need leads to a mediocre roster over time! Look what happened last year when they reached and took Logan Hall with their first pick.

  63. Capt.Tim Says:


    You want your best lineman-blocking their best lineman.
    Wirfs is gonna want Left tackle money. Which is alot more that RT money.

    Its really that simple

  64. Capt.Tim Says:

    If Wirfs cant play left tackle- then he is not a great linemen.
    A fantastic right tackle isnt as important as an average left Tackle
    A left tackle plays against the best DEs in football, protecting the QBs back.
    Right tackles are like Demar Dotsom. Big lumbering run blockers.

    If Tristan cant block great DEs- the what is he so great at??
    Dont say run blocking. We are the worst running team in the league!!

    So- What is Tristan so good at??

  65. garro Says:


    I hate this phrase that is mostly used as an excuse for people these days…But it is what it is.
    We are not likely to find a plug and play left tackle via cutdowns or free agency (no cap money).

    I hate it too.

    Although we did get Donald Penn via the practice squad route a few years ago.

  66. garro Says:

    Reality is a Bitch!

    Using last years play as a reality check.
    All we really have is a right tackle and a center. Both All Pro in my book.
    But Jensen is coming back from a major knee injury.

    Until they prove otherwise the rest (mostly guards) are backup material.

    I like to be optomistic this time of year and I love the Mauch pick (guard).
    I really hope everone steps up this year.

    If not I fear that it will be a long season for everyone.

  67. JeffreyLane77 Says:

    This Offensive line is worse than last years .

  68. RustyRhinos Says:

    Hey Mark2001: It ALL starts with winning the”NFC South conference championship”. You Get A Playoff Game! Anything can happen in the Playoffs, NOTHING happens when you are not in the Playoffs. YOUR SEASON IS OVER.