Great Pressure On A Rookie

August 16th, 2023

Rookie right guard Cody Mauch.

Cody Mauch’s rookie season just got tougher.

The Bucs’ projected starting right guard was drafted, in part, because he possessed some of the same traits that made Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht fall in love with veteran center Ryan Jensen.

Small school attitude. Ornery. Feisty. Hard-worker. Grinder. Nasty.

The plan was for Mauch to play alongside Jensen and also to pick up the play-to-the-echo-of-the-whistle traits Jensen possesses.

Well, Joe is starting to wonder if we’ve seen Jensen play his last snap in a Bucs uniform. Jensen cannot get on the practice field for a full pads-on practice. So until he can do that, he simply cannot play.

This puts Mauch in a dicey situation. The Bucs are counting on him to help bolster the offensive line. In fact, Lance Zierlein of thinks Mauch is the most pivotal rookie on the Tampa Bay roster.

The definition of “pivotal” for Mauch may have more to do with whether he falls above or below average for a rookie offensive lineman. Tampa is attempting to rebuild its offensive front, and Mauch appears headed for a baptism by fire at right guard. I believe first-round DT Calijah Kancey will have a strong rookie season, but Mauch’s play could have a substantial impact on what the Bucs are able to do offensively.

And this is almost unfair to Mauch. If Mauch struggles, for whatever reason, the Bucs could always plug in Nick Leverett or Robert Hainsey. Except now those two are battling for the starting center gig.

So Mauch is playing with a center to his left (Hainsey or Leverett) for whom the book is still very much open. Then on Mauch’s right is a guy with only a handful of games’ experience at left guard, and just one throwaway game to end the 2022 regular season.

Good luck, kid.

32 Responses to “Great Pressure On A Rookie”

  1. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    As others have said, doesn’t matter if Mayfield or Trask is the starter if our O line is bad again. Both need a good O line to shine. So Bucs need to figure this out sooner than later. Last year, the powers that be sat on their hands and hoped the patchwork Oline would work and it was consistently bad. Brady’s quick release helped make the Oline look better than it was and neither Trask nor Mayfield can do that. Maybe our new OC can scheme some magic as opposed to the last year’s master of disaster Leftwich’s “run up the middle on 1st and 10.” We need some Oline help.

  2. Leopold Stotch Says:

    Welp I think I know what are first round pick will be, if not 2nd round. Depending on what we have in Mayfield and Trask.

  3. Go Bucs Go Says:

    I am afraid the whole O line (including Wirfs transition to LT) will struggle mightily this season. And D won’t be good enough to save the team. So goes the story of this season. Sorry to cast a dark and negative cloud over ‘23 season.

    Here goes nothing.
    Go Bucs!

  4. David Says:

    I’ll say it again, the season goes with the line, O & D, and both have A LOT of question marks.

  5. BoricuaBucfan Says:

    If Ali Marpet could do it his rookie season I have no doubt in my mind Mauch can.

  6. Fred McNeil Says:

    I could kinda see anointing Feiler at left guard. I never did understand plugging in Goedeke and Mauch with no competition. That’s heap big pile of inexperience. Given that Mauch is more athletic maybe he should play RT and Goedeke should play RG??? Or maybe … IDK … Play Ko Kief on that side every play to help.

    Joe, you in NY? I wonder if there’s any hotel rooms?

  7. Fred McNeil Says:

    Tom McEwan used to write little rhymes sometimes on game days. All I remember is one line that ended “and send in Young with a gun.”. Has either QB got a concealed carry permit?

  8. Fred McNeil Says:

    Oh and something about “der Buc Bomber.”
    40 years ago.

  9. garro Says:

    That sums it up pretty well Joe. Mauch is in for a tough year me thinks but Friday he looked like the guy who is 100% effort and more than willing to mix it up.
    Go for it big man!

    Go Bucs!

  10. OriginalJud Says:


  11. AKicknTheBucNuts Says:

    Injury settlement coming for Jensen.

  12. RagingBrisket Says:

    The oline will be a disaster making everyone on the offense look terrible which puts unnecessary pressure on the defense. Recipe for disaster. There are no unanticipated injuries at this point so Licht should have done so much more to prepare this unit in the offseason given how pivotal it is. Licht should be fired before Bowles if this oline shts the bed as bad as I think it will.
    Jason Licht, do your job.

  13. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I am not worried about Cody Mauch as much as I am worried about Luke Goedeke at RT.

  14. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    If you have two centers you have zero centers.

  15. Scott Says:

    We are screwed for o line this year. I’d rather Hainsey play and see what he can become though rather then put the shell of Ryan Jensen out there and risk him injuring it even more.

  16. Salary Cap Hell Says:

    This is what salary cap hell looks like get used to it…
    This whole season is about evaluating talent Vegas has this winning six and a half games unfortunately more often than not they’re accurate there’s a huge quarterback class coming next draft upper management knows that they still have a product to sell on the field so they got to try to keep it interesting that’s about as exciting as it’s going to get….

  17. JD Still Says:

    I see diamonds in the rough, but I’m not looking through rose colored glasses either, I think we have a lot of talent there but it is going to take time to gell into a cohesive unit , and a little less negativity by the “ fans” couldn’t hurt, they probably read these comments too. As an example another sports writer,(not one of the joes) actually wrote an apology to Goedeke after slamming him after last weeks game for poor play, he said after rewatching tape of the game he discovered Goedeke had actually graded out much higher than he had thought, he was going by the two sacks that were attributed to Goedeke but after viewing the tape it was actually a footwork issue with the tight end tripping him up and keeping him from getting to his block, an easy adjustment to positioning should fix that, maybe we should give all the boys a little time to work out the kinks.

  18. Buc4evr Says:

    Mauch may pan out in a year or two but it was a dumb pick this year with other big school OL available. Especially since the OLine needs an immediate upgrade. Cody and Luke… good luck. Subtraction by addiction in this case. Good thing Baker can run.

  19. Ed Says:

    Blocking in a running game requires strength and push. Bucs havn’t been a physical offense. The strength and conditioning coaches are not doing a good job getting these linemen to bulk up and muscle up.

    Wirfs is a great example of what a strong lineman can do. Unfortunately he’s the only one on a line of average to below average strength and conditioning.

  20. SB~LV Says:

    He was rag dolled in his first NFL game
    His smiling gig is over!

  21. TonySoprano Says:

    The scary part is that it’s not like we haven’t been investing in the oline. We have drafted often and early, and the results are look disastrous. Hainsey is mind boggling weak. Goedeke is painfully slow. Much looked completely overwhelmed. This all falls on Licht. I’m all for handing him his pink slip at the end of the season if this oline and the rookies don’t show much this year. It’s have been 3 straight years of terrible drafting.

  22. TonySoprano Says:

    Agreed Ed. In addition to blame for Licht, these strength coaches are not impressing. Hainsey and JTS don’t seem any stronger since they were drafted 3 years ago.

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    Man – one “useless” pre-season game in with 18 out of 22 starters not participating and the negative Nancys come out of the woodwork.

    The 2023 OLine is more talented than what the Bucs fielded last year.

    It might take a few games to ‘gel’ up front with so much change and shifting around – but we should be able to run the ball more effectively which will help open up the offense in a # of ways.

    The defense will be good and the offense will average more points than last year – even with Mayfield/Trask under center, I still say that should get us to 9 or 10 wins with this year’s schedule….

  24. Wild Bill Says:

    Last season Brady threw the ball as soon as humanly possible and still had defenders in his face constantly. Baker better be ready to run for his life! Bucs may have to use roll outs most of the time or they will. have to play their number 3 qb while the other two are sitting on the bench with ice packs. Reason number 1 for Baker to start is he can throw on the run. Trask is a pocket qb. Dead meat with this O line.

  25. Toad Bowels Says:

    I work some game film on TV and quite honestly Cody and Luke looked really good at times.
    I’m hoping they can cut down their penalties and continue to work together.

    If Ryan Jensen can’t play, I hope the box can keep him around as an offensive line coach. The guy brings fire to the game and if he can teach that to Cody and Luke as well as to hansey and leverett that’d be great. Throw in Ko Kieft and Payne as blocking tight ends to help out on the right side and this line may jell yet.

  26. BucU Says:

    No Jensen = No success. That’s how important he is/was to this offense. What a blow to this team.
    Vegas looks pretty smart now with the 6.5 win projection.

  27. JimBobBuc Says:

    The OL is the key to the season, none of our QB’s are smart enough to get rid of the ball in under 2 sec. Do we trust anyone on the field to call out blocking assignments?

    I think our OL has talent but I’m not expecting any improvement as we have the same OL coaches. How many teams have two OL coaches? We have switched the players’ positions this year and we expect them to play better than last year? The only hope to me is that zone schemes are supposed to be easier to execute.

    Our backs keep trying to hit holes that don’t exist and the backs don’t have the vision and quickness to find someplace to run. Hitting the planned hole won’t work with this OL. To pass, we need to play action and boots, or very quick routes on early downs.

  28. Infomeplease Says:

    We’ll find out soon how they stand up to the Jets starters! Hopefully Joe gets some notes for us! Our OLine is a work in progress! Should be better than last year at some point. The right side while require some time for sure.

  29. Wild Bill Says:

    Big question is when or if at all Jensen plays this season. He is a very large man with a very serious knee injury. Bucs will be lucky if he plays by mid season. And plenty of good players were unable to ever play at the same high level after a devastating knee injury. I sure hope he can but a very big man on a seriously injured knee is a HUGE question mark.

  30. geno711 Says:

    Almost all rookie Offensive Linemen are bad.

    Not sure why Bucs fans think he will be successful this year.
    Maybe next as that seems to be a trend in the NFL if you are going to make it as an OLineman.

  31. kyle Says:

    we are fd anyway.. going to be a long season, buckle up buc fans.

  32. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    Feiler should be at right guard, and Mauch at left. That would spread the experience across the line, which would help Mauch and Goedeke.