May 18, 2021

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Buccaneers O-Line: From nothing special to overpowering

3 min read

I did not attend the church of Donovan Smith

I can’t deny it: I was one of the Bucs Offensive Line’s biggest critics. I did a few articles on how badly we needed a franchise left tackle in 2019 and during last season’s weeks leading up to the draft. I was sure glad to see them get Wirfs, but then I wanted them to go right back in for a Left Tackle. Hindsight always being perfect vision as it is; I didn’t realize we already had a top-flight player at the second most important position on the team. You could have won money from me, people; that’s how sure I was that Donovan Smith’s best days were in high school/college and not waiting for him on the road to a championship. I would have bet the farm, all the marbles, the kitchen sink, sold the ranch, went all in, and thrown out the baby with the bathwater. I was certain. My biggest hope as the Draft wound down last season was that Wirfs would be changing sides. (which he has done before). Tee-Wirfs can play both sides. We can see how that hope went.

A simple learned matter of fact

I knew Jensen and Marpet were a couple of bad boys with a mean streak. My jury was still out on Cappa, but I liked what I saw there as well. With Wirfs doing the jumping out of the shallow end of the pool to the deck thingy, I was pretty sure he would be just fine if not dominant. As a group, though, with Smith, I just wasn’t convinced. I never considered a very, very important thing that I learned as a kid playing football in the yards of my best friends’ house in Kiwanis Park. In the street, light pole to light pole. Then on to JV in high school, a funny anecdote, I played Offensive Left Tackle (that’s as far as I went, I have always regretted that). I digress. I learned a very simple fact that rules every level of football.

I have been converted

If you like your coach and respect him, you will play harder for that person, even more so if you believe in, respect, and have faith in the quarterback you are protecting. You will bust your butt for him. You will play your very best every time out. I never considered how the Brady factor would affect the O-Line and their play. I don’t think I’m going down a forbidden road when I say that it was probably pretty darn impossible for our line to have faith in, even respect to a lesser degree, a guy like Jameis Winston. You do your best, bust your butt, and he gives the ball away time after time. It had to have been a big factor in the way those big boys were or were not motivated. With what they did just one year removed, it almost solidifies it.

Super Bowls are fun

It’s not a dig on Jameis. It’s just the way it was. I mean, could there be a bigger anti-Jameis (more opposite) of him than Brady? The talent was there all along; they just needed a cause. Like Bret Michaels said, “Give me something to believe in.” Just about every game/sport is more mental than physical. Obviously, you have to have the talent, but the mental side of it, is what allows the Physical side to gel and rise above to the highest of highs. How else can you explain the turnaround last season up-front? I think with Tom Brady under center: football became fun again. Diamond studded rings and throwing Lombardi Trophies from boat to boat on the Hillsborough River is fun too! Go Bucs!!

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