I watched yet another preview on our Buccaneers today (Baldy) and again saw the lamentation about our offensive line. Now I was not quiet last season about how the line took a few steps backward. (Note: I am not normally quiet). That said, the building blocks were and are there. This offseason, many pundits had OL as an area of imminent need but our team leadership reiterated their happiness with the cupboards.
There is a reason for that.
The Bucs went after JR
JR Sweezy is a beast. In the video below, watch and listen to coach Cable as he describes the player the Bucs went after. Now the injury is scary but injuries are a real thing. Hell, imagine what Carl Nicks could have been and what a difference that would have made. But risk is part of the game.
Smart. Athletic. Mean. These are all things you want in an offensive line. Sweezy will make players on both sides better.
Investments have to Mature
I don’t think any viewer or evaluator can say enough good things about Ali Marpet. This kid has come in and balled his ass off. Now moving him to center may sound like a risk, but the goal is to get the best five on the field. His quickness and smarts point to this move being successful and allow swing depth in Evan Smith and Joe Hawley. Another year of maturation, growth, experience and coaching should only lead to the continued evolution of Marpet.
This is true for Donovan Smith as well. While a favorite target of fans, Smith performs well enough physically that his shortcomings seem to be imminently addressable through coaching. That takes time. As time passes, this young man must continue to improve and I feel he has shown signs of doing just that. He has to work on his footwork, clock and punch but that is a set of items that can be drilled (and I assure you is being drilled) on a regular basis. The clock piece is critical with the way Jameis extends plays so I am sure that is an area of focus for the whole line.
Demar Dotson got paid. Demar Dotson can do the job. Demar Dotson needs to do it reliably, consistently and in a dominant fashion.
If some of these things come to fruition, the Kevin Pamphile clock is extended as we know that performance in 1 player on the line absolutely assists every other.
Final Note and a Video Link
This is all about the offensive line. Remember, they do not operate independently of the offense. A defense will leverage many tactics to attack the line. By adding more offensive firepower (OJ Howard, D. Jackson etc), defenses MUST be honest and make sure they have a plan. Jameis reads defenses fairly well and his well-covered diligence in the film room would lead one to believe that will only improve. If the threats allow this line to face more even numbers it will give each member a chance to truly shine. That should mean good things for whichever back is toting the rock.
I did a quick Periscope and uploaded it to YouTube this AM. I cover some of this material in the video.
And a Thanks!
If you have already contributed to our BAckpack drive, thank you SO MUCH! We have hit 33% of our target of $6,000.00 in less than 12 hours but there is still 67% to go. If you can spare $10.00 you can fill a backpack for a child in need. Take a look here and if you can help monetarily or if you would prefer to buy and send the items, we have an Amazon link as well. Thank you again for your support of the community!