Hunting For Interior Offensive Linemen

February 26th, 2024

Center Robert Hainsey.

Yeah, Joe understands Bucs fans stomp their feet when it comes to center Robert Hainsey. Until recently Joe thought the Notre Dame product was safe.

Joe had spoken with several Bucs coaches in the past about Hainsey. Assistant coaches not just had Hainsey’s back, but vehemently so. Mention Hainsey’s name and they would quickly bark their support as if they took personally any critique of Hainsey.

So why is Joe not sure about Hainsey’s job security? Because the same guys who defended Hainsey so strongly are now gone.

Joe doesn’t know what the new offensive line coach thinks of Hainsey. The 2021 third-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie contract. And one man who seems to imply the Bucs may look for an upgrade when the free agent dinner bell rings on March 13 (after the track gates open for the horses two days before when legal tampering begins) is Frank Schwab of Yahoo!

Again, Joe doesn’t know how the new offensive staff views Hainsey. Joe will say this: If Rachaad White had any sort of vision, he’d easily have had 1,100 rushing yards last year.

It’s not Hainsey’s fault White regularly missed green grass and daylight just to his left or right and instead often plowed right into defenders.

One question Joe will ask Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht tomorrow when he takes to a podium at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis to address the hundreds of #NFLMedia gathered is to find out his assessment of the center and left guard positions.

Barring injury, Cody Mauch is starting at right guard.

37 Responses to “Hunting For Interior Offensive Linemen”

  1. JimBobBuc Says:

    Hainsey got stronger over the last offseason and bulked up. While he played better this past season, he’s got a ways to go. I hope he continues to get stronger, and smarter, this offseason. Still, he needs competition and I like Jackson Powers-Johnson from Oregon at #26. Most mocks say he won’t be available though. Will Licht trade up for him? Will the Bucs try Mauch at center – then who would play RG? I like keep Mauch at RG.

    I’m with Joe on Rachaad White, I thought his vision was lacking running the ball but White did great on screens and other pass plays. I don’t see Licht drafting a RB, but I’d like to see him do that after rd3.

  2. NutterBuccer Says:

    Any ideas of Hainsey moving to left guard. Just seems like he better than and get a bigger more powerful center. But 2 years starting, I’m not gonna gripe about hainsey.

  3. Cardiac kidz Says:

    Front and CENTER, this is our biggest number one issue. It’s the reason Brady did take retirement after all, it’s the reason we failed to score any meaningful points in the first half of the NFC championship game with the Rams. It’s the reason our sub 6’ QB looks like he has cerebral palsy with a football in his hands once the primary read breaks down.
    We give up way too much direct and instant pressure up the middle. A “B” rated Center gives you both guards coming in at rating of “C”. Same position coaches, same Center, different QBs the same result. Good enough to win the division, not good enough to go deep in the playoffs. We have great talent one this team and played 2 years without a great Center, just hoping Jensen would make it back. Fix the center, resign our 6’ QB and MK13, Winfield, we will make it back to the Superbowl.

  4. Nick2 Says:

    With 17 games and Canales smashing fans heads against the wall with 1st down runs 1000 yards should have easily had but I’m NOT blaming Whites vision. Hainsey got manhandled by bigger nose tackles every time!!!

  5. Boss Says:

    Interior OL is the numer 1 priority IMO

  6. Alanbucsfan Says:

    If Bucs want a chance at winning a championship, upgrading the interior OLine must be a priority

  7. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Cardiac kidz Says:
    February 26th, 2024 at 7:53 am
    Front and CENTER, this is our biggest number one issue. It’s the reason Brady did take retirement after all, it’s the reason we failed to score any meaningful points in the first half of the NFC championship game with the Rams. It’s the reason our sub 6’ QB looks like he has cerebral palsy with a football in his hands once the primary read breaks down.
    Yeah, 6 feet 5/8″ (which Mayfield officially measured at the Combine) is “sub 6 feet”.

  8. doolnutts Says:

    Need a LG no doubt about it. Stud rookie or a vet FA. It wont be hard to upgrade us here regardless of what we do both options we had last year were average at best. As for Hainsey hes OK but he could improve with more solid play on both his right and left. Having a small school rookie on your right and average at best on your left with you in the middle cant be easy.

  9. ChiBuc Says:

    The best thing about Hainsey is he is a built in excuse for B-Bois. He did get blown up quite a bit, but it appeared as though it was more a product of being caught off guard than weakness. It’s as if Canales never established any expectations that he or BM were responsible for diagnosing defenses pre-snap. Canales was hell bent on running only 3 or 4 plays on 1st and 2nd downs regardless of what defenses were showing. Consequently, it often seemed as though Hainsey’s head was on a swivel looking for someone to block and unprepared as he got blown up. I think he is as serviceable as Goedeke was/is when this here board was roasting him last yr. With that said, by no means is Hainsey elite, but he stays healthy and I’d rather see an upgrade at LG before C at this fiscal intersection.

  10. BucsFan Says:

    Actually , Bakers’ combine height at is 6’1″.

  11. SB~LV Says:

    Hainsey has given it all he has !
    Simply not naturally big and strong enough, all of his short comings are beyond his control.

  12. ChiBuc Says:

    Only short ppl ever announce there height to an eight of an inch

  13. Cobraboy Says:

    Hainsey is not naturally big and strong, he’s pumped-up strong.

    He gives great effort but does not have the natural tools of an IOL in the NFL.

    “Maulers” tend to be naturally uncommonly large humans. Not to mention uncommonly ugly. Ugly is a permanent chip on the shoulder.

  14. Brandon Says:

    ChiBuc Says:
    February 26th, 2024 at 8:59 am
    Only short ppl ever announce there height to an eight of an inch


    It’s an official freaking measurement. That’s why there’s an 1/8 of an inch. The tiny brained individual kept referring to Baker as sub six foot….

  15. LANshark Says:

    Go watch the All-22 of the last Carolina game… Burns put Hainsey on roller skates and drove him back into Baker’s face at least 8 times. Luvu did it a couple times too. Wanna know why we only put up 9 points that game? That’s why. Can’t throw when you cannot step up into the pocket. Also happened in 2nd Saints game, the Atlanta game, Detroit, and probably a couple others.

    Our LG at times was bad at times, mostly getting beaten by quick guys who did a fake right, swim left move on him (clearly, they have film on him — they ALL did it regularly). But overall, he held his own most of the time. A good O-Line coach can fix that problem. They cannot fix the problem where the center just isn’t strong enough to set his feet and not be driven backwards.

    The film does not lie.

  16. Usfbuc Says:

    Honestly I wouldn’t be mad if we drafted two and signed or traded for another G/C

  17. SlyPirate Says:

    People forget what actually happened during the season extremely quickly.

    Go back and watch the Safety against the Eagles. Hainsey got pancaked by the DT. When Hainsey is the focus of the DT, he loses nearly 100% of the time. He’s just not strong enough.

  18. Marine Buc Says:

    Draft an IOL in rounds 2-3 and pick one up in free agency. Let them all compete – hopefully Hainsey will be a back-up C/G next season.

    He was one of the worst ranked centers in the NFL last season. There is no sugar coating it.

    He isn’t strong enough but his bigger issue is his lack of athletic ability. Constantly tripping and falling while he pulls or attempts to get to the second level of the defense.

    I’m glad this is his final season.

  19. Capt.Tim Says:

    White has vision. He proved it everytime he caught a pass in the flat.
    It’s the 3 horribly weak links in the Oline.
    Mauch was a Rookie. He’s gonna get better. He gets a pass!
    Hainsey was really bad.
    Stennie Should never start in an NFL game. He’s not as good as he was a couple years ago. Don’t know why, but he was Miserable.

    Our running game hasnt just sucked with White starting. It has sucked for years before him.
    Part of the problem goes deeper than linemen and RBs.
    Hopefully our new OC is able to fix the problem.
    2 new Olinemen. More play fakes. Run to the outside more. More passes to the flat.
    Stop runnig up the middle every single time.

  20. Mike Malarkey Says:

    Draft Graham Barton, Jackson Powers Johnson, and Sedrick Van Pran. 1st, 2nd and 3rd round.

  21. h Says:

    @Nick: That and the Fieler Experient 1st 3 games cost White his 1000

  22. h Says:

    @Capt Tim: Stinne played good I think you mean Feiler. We should have started Stinne out the gate.

  23. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Hainsey ain’t going anywhere. Might not be starter quality but the perfect 6th man. He can fill in any position on that line. Coaches and GMs crave people like that

  24. Cardiac kidz Says:

    I’m fine with Hainsey on the team, he’s just what we need at Center. He’s always ready to play Sunday and seldom misses a practice, just seems out of position at Center. I’m confident with new OC and line coach, things will improve.

  25. Ben Says:

    I hope they don’t move Mauch to C. He isnt an upgrade over Hainsey. They need a legit upgrade via draft.

  26. Jake been there since the beginning Says:

    Technically we could use another Center because if Hainsey gets hurt you think you’ve seen chaos, what do we really have. Depth is not really good there. Draft sounds best there, someone that can learn and grow into an NFL center. The Bucs didn’t have much of a choice when Hainsey was thrown in.

  27. Bucs Guy Says:

    Live Hainsey, but he’s a high end back up or low end starter. Teams should be looking to upgrade ANY low end starter. Get a C or LG in FA and draft the other in the 1st or 2nd rd. Doubtful, but if you fill in other needs through FA (RB, TE, S), then you can draft more interior OL, but too many needs in other areas to draft 3 IOL. I trust Licht on OLine.

  28. Bucs Guy Says:

    Love Hainsey

  29. ModHairKen Says:

    He is not good.

  30. Capt.Tim Says:

    Nope. Stennie and Feilder were both HORRIBLE. Feilder looked confused the entire time he played- like he didnt know any of the line calls.
    Stennie looked small and weak. He got physically overwelmed frequently. He gave up so much pressure up the front- it killed our Running game,and made Mayfields life tough!
    Gotta replace him. Cant expect to run the ball with him in the game.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    Hainsey can literally start at every position on the offensive line (he was a college tackle), and those guys have job security out the kazoo. Now, if he’s going to be the every down starter in a run first offense – well Hainsey is clearly a better pass blocker than run blocker.

    Keep in mind that Licht almost exclusively drafts tackles. If he continues to do that, then Hainsey is very safe for 2024, as I can’t think of a college tackle that moved to center and started his rookie year (I’m sure it’s happened, but I can’t think of any). More likely, if the Bucs want to replace Hainsey, they’ll sign a center in FA, and I don’t know who is available.

    Also, even if the Bucs did sign a center, Hainsey still might be the best guard on the team – although I do expect Cody to take a leap this offseason.

  32. JustVisiting Says:

    ChiBuc: I’m no football guru, but this sounds off to me. Is it really unfair to expect a pro center to find someone to block, even in less than ideal circumstances?

  33. Beeej Says:

    CAN’T have pressure up the middle, QB instantly helpless. Would improving LG make Hainsey adequate? Dunno

  34. Allbuccedup Says:

    Steelers just released Mason Cole and East Lake grad could give Hainsey some competition.

  35. ScottyMack Says:

    Hainsey is a fine backup Center – probably better than a third of the starters in the league, in fact. We really don’t know how good he could be at Guard because he’s be thrust into a role he really wasn’t drafted for the past two years. I, for one, suspect he might be quite a bit better at Left/Right Guard than he is at Center. Still, we know he can perform the job relatively well if the Bucs find a better Center down the road and that starting Center needs a breather or gets injured.

    I (sort of) agree on the assessment of Rachaad White. although I’m not all too sure that the problem is his vision. Personally, I’m not sure of he has a jump step or the ability to cut back at all!

  36. Capt.Tim Says:

    Line who can play every position WELL are in Demand.
    You can throw pads on any idiot. Say, Rod munch.
    He can line up at every position.
    Aint no team looking for that!

    Besides, if Rod was at center- Lord forbid Trask gets to take a snap!
    You’d need a waterhose to get them apart!

  37. David Says:

    JOE- Have to disagree on Hainsey and White. Yes, he could have had a little more but the MAIN issue with the line’s run blocking was right in the middle starting with Hainsey. Mauch gets a pass as a rookie. Stinnie made it improve slightly. If a bunch of coaches thought he was a good starting center then it’s a good thing they are gone. He was the main problem on the interior.
    White is a patient runner and when the interior of the line is getting blown up into the backfield that is death for a patient runner.
    Hainsey is a liability as a starter. It would be great to keep him as a backup but they should draft the OREGON CENTER. He can plug in and start for the next decade.