Tristan Wirfs, Time And The 2023 Season

August 17th, 2023

Time and patience?

You better believe Joe was stoked yesterday seeing rookie right guard Cody Mauch finally unleash his inner beast and grind Jets defenders while run blocking.

Yes, the NFL is a passing league but Todd Bowles is a running man. And thus, the Bucs better be able to run block or Bucs fans will embrace a sad tradition of The Lost Decade and begin buying draft guides before Halloween.

This brings Joe to a more general discussion of the offensive line. There are questions, legitimate questions, at every position. One is center Ryan Jensen.

Joe has the gnawing feeling that we may have seen the last of Jensen, a fan favorite and ultimate warrior. His knee was destroyed last July and despite playing in the playoffs against Dallas (maybe he shouldn’t have?) Jensen cannot get on the field to practice fully in pads.

So until that happens, he cannot play. This is just awfully sad to Joe.

Now over at left tackle, the Bucs decided to play with matches taking the game’s best right tackle, flipping him to the left side. Wirfs has quipped that it’s like a right-handed person learning to wipe his backside while on the throne.

A couple of years ago Joe had minor surgery, rendering Joe’s right hand useless for such a task. So Joe can absolutely sympathize with Wirfs this is a sh!tty predicament.

Ari Meirov of The 33rd Team recently spoke with noted offensive line analyst Brandon Thorn about Wirfs’ task (no, not wiping himself). Thorn said it’s almost irresponsible to believe Wirfs, no matter how good he was at right tackle, to master blocking on the left side overnight.

“It’s easier for some guys compared to others, but generally speaking, that’s something that takes time,” Thorn said. “You need reps, especially live reps. Doing it on air is one thing, but doing it in a high-stress game situation is another.

“Some guys can do it, and some guys can never do it. The best and most basic way to describe it is if you write right-handed and have to switch to using your left hand. Imagine how awkward that feels because you’re using your non-dominant side.

“These offensive tackles establish muscle memory and habits, creating a dominant side. So, to switch it, that takes time.”

This morning, former NFL offensive lineman and current NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger put out a video on X of Wirfs. Baldinger absolutely loved Wirfs at right tackle and believed Wirfs was the standard there. And Baldinger echoed Thorn in saying it may take time for Wirfs to get back to his same level of play that he had at right tackle, if he does.

Joe guesses a cynic could argue this is another example of why the Bucs appear to some folks to be low-key tanking, moving the game’s best right tackle to the other side.

 Joe may never understand this move, unless Wirfs becomes an All-Pro left tackle.


23 Responses to “Tristan Wirfs, Time And The 2023 Season”

  1. HC Grover Says:

    Which side of Bowles brain makes these blunders. Is he left brained HC or DC?

  2. JimBobBuc Says:

    If anybody can make this switch it’s Wirfs. He’s smart, extremely dedicated, and a tremendous talent. I think he can be All-Pro next year, but I’m concerned about this year, especially the first half.

    I watched Wirf’s backup, Skule, in the Pittsburg game. I think he was the only starting OL without a penalty and he did pretty well on his assignments. Right now I think he’s the second-best tackle on the OL. I’ll be watching him in the Jets game. If he is truly the second-best tackle, do you move Wirfs back to RT and start Skule at LT? Let’s see how Skule and Goedeke play in the Jets game.

  3. Buc1987 Says:

    Right before the last game with Pitt the network showed a bunch of closeups of Bucs starters in the intro leading up to the game, The last one they showed was Jensen as if he’s fine and dandy. He was part of the advertisement leading up to the game.

  4. Uhhmm Says:

    Its a great experiment that could pay dividends in the long term. Its also a wasted year so its a perfect opportunity for Whirfs to try and make it work.

  5. SufferingSince76 Says:

    I’m assuming they did this because they are cap strapped. I was surprised the move messed with Wirf’s head as much as it has. They should stop the experiment now, return him to RT and live with the results.

  6. BUCFAN_3 Says:


  7. PSL Bob Says:

    What I picked up from your scrimmage notes yesterday was that the Bucs were not regularly running up the middle and were more aggressively blocking. That’s refreshing. Hopefully they’re running the Leftwich running scheme in preseason so as not to give away what they plan to do in the regular season.

  8. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Cody Mauch is fun to watch. He might be our next attitude guy on the line.

  9. Steven007 Says:

    Tommy, did you change your handle?

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Who plays next to Wirfs? If it’s Cody Mauch…I can see why the move.

  11. Goodbuc'nlife Says:

    I get the move. It’s hard to find a high quality left tackle, whether it be in free agency or the draft. What quality left tackle even gets to free agency if not for it being a cap casualty situation? Great LT’s just don’t grow on trees like receivers and running backs seem to. The chances of hitting on one in the draft is slim. I would rather have a good LT and rely on an adequate RT. Albeit, I feel Tristin will be more than good but for the sake of argument, I’ll call him good in this scenario. He will prove a lot people wrong. He’s built different.

  12. Joe Says:

    I get the move. It’s hard to find a high quality left tackle, whether it be in free agency or the draft.

    Yet teams do it (draft a left tackle) every year.

    Shoot, the Bucs won a Super Bowl with a guy they got in the second round and folks around here couldn’t wait to run the guy out of town.

  13. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    I’m not worried that he won’t be great, or very very good, I’m worried (like Joe) that it might be the ideal use of our resources.

  14. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    “Shoot, the Bucs won a Super Bowl with a guy they got in the second round and folks around here couldn’t wait to run the guy out of town.”

    That’s because aside from the Super bowl season, and part of 2021, he took plays off and committed extremely untimely penalties. I called him the Eraser because several times he erased points off the scoreboard. Did I read somewhere he was the most penalized lineman in the league last year?

  15. Duane Says:

    Completely agree with Joe on the Jensen take. Before we got Jensen I remember us going through a bunch of guys at that position. We had it really good. Wirfs should be able to play where he is comfortable, but if he is more solid than Donnie was, and is looking at a big payday, its financially wise to lock him in at left tackle. The fact that he is aware of the transitions that need to take place, I am certain he is carrying those trees over his left shoulder this past offseason. LFG.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    Look Wirfs is going to have some struggles and adjustments, I think that’s obvious to everyone. But I think he will still be an above average left tackle. Maybe not an all-pro, but definitely good enough.

    I’m much more concerned about Goedeke on the right side (or anywhere that he lines up, really).

  17. Pickgrin Says:

    Even if it takes some games or close to a whole season for Wirfs to get completely comfortable in his new role at LT – Tristan will be an INSTANT upgrade over D. Smith from game 1……

    It was the right move! You can’t be paying your RT $22-25M per year which I am sure is the range that Wirfs new contract will be worth.

  18. Hodad Says:

    I know a way Wirfs can get some live game reps, play some in the friggin preseason game! We lost Jensen last year in a non contact drill on the first day of camp. That’s football, these things happen. Should the players only do walk throughs all training camp so no one pulls anything, or gets injured? That’s what it’s coming to. Might as well do away with the worthless preseason games too. Now we know why they’re worthless. Every team is afraid to use them for getting their starters ready, so what’s the point?

  19. Caleb M Says:

    Maybe they are thinking this year gives him the experience needed to protect Caleb Williams next year.

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    “Joe may never understand this move, unless Wirfs becomes an All-Pro left tackle.”

    That’s the entire point. If he doesn’t become an all-pro at LT, then you move him back. Same thing they did with Marpet, who was year in, year out, one of the very best guards in the NFL. It’s not like Marpet forgot how to play guard after going to center.

    But why make the move? Because an all-pro LT is more valuable than an all-pro RT.

  21. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Baldy and Thorn are excellent analysts when it comes to OL play. I subscribe to Thorn’s reports about the trenches. That’s where the game is loss and won. Aaron Rodgers will soon find out what life was for Brady last year. Rodgers is infinitely more mobile than Brady, but even he can’t overcome bad OL play.

  22. FlBoy84 Says:

    Def did back in the day… but does anyone still buy draft guides anymore??? 😉

  23. Joe Says:

    Def did back in the day… but does anyone still buy draft guides anymore??? 😉

    Ira buys fantasy draft magazines. 🙂