Looking back to the pre-season
Back before the season started, I wrote several articles directly concerning the shabby state of our offensive line or alluded to it in others. This was all in response to a statement made by Bruce Arians shortly after arriving in Tampa. This isn’t a direct quote, but he said basically that the offensive line was fine, no problems there. I about fell out of my chair. My wife had to listen to me burst out into a tirade, hollering and screaming like Bruce Arians was sitting across the coffee table from me. You have to realize that the whole offseason, I had been hoping and praying that at least the team would make one offensive line selection of importance in the upcoming draft. They did not. Insert another coffee table tirade here.
Weakness is now more obvious
Now that the season is nearing its end, the offensive line is, well, offensive. It was already a known problem that this line could not run block any more than it could fly. That was before Bruce arrived. It is only barely adequate at pass blocking. Donovan Smith is getting old and can barely stay out of his own way. And, that is when he isn’t drawing yellow for holding. My point is, what the heck was it that made Jason Licht believe it, just because Bruce Arians said that it was true? Didn’t Licht already realize the offensive line was close to garbage as it stood before Arians’ arrival? Let me clarify, Marpet and Jensen are pretty good players, maybe not great run blockers, but hold their own in pass blocking and are not the focus of this rant.
The defense got the attention
Clearly, the defense needed to be addressed. It had become a liability and was the squeaky wheel that got the grease. That being said, and the defense becoming a strength, it’s time to finally focus on the offensive line and not just one pick to stave off the criticism. It’s time to pay it the true attention that an offensive line deserves. After quarterback, in my book, it is the most important position on any football team; just ask Ronald Jones how important a good line is.
Making the offense go much smoother
Would you go out and buy a new high-performance sports car, and not put any oil in it or gas? Because the O-line is what makes the offensive car go smoothly. No offensive line is going to dominate the line of scrimmage every single play. You must though, but as good of athletes on the line, as you do into the skill positions. If you don’t, you put the cart before the horse. “until your line is as good as your skill position players, your offense cannot realize it’s true potential.” I’ve said that many times, and it will always remain true. Why an intelligent, professional, and decorated offensive NFL Coach with plenty of experience didn’t already know this, is beyond me.
In closing, nothing has changed, and nothing will change for the better until the line is addressed, and fixed. The success on offense that the team has achieved over the last few years has hurt the cause no doubt. What many don’t realize, though, is we could be a lot better, yes, a lot better!! The defense is doing great now, time to give the offensive line some love in this coming draft. That means more than one pick. You did it for the defense, now do it for the offense. Go Bucs!!