The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been decimated by injuries during this preseason. You can compile that with losing Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Whitehead, and Alex Cappa. The offensive line will not be the same faces that once protected our 45-year-old quarterback, Tom Brady. This has fans wondering what will happen in Tampa Bay this upcoming year.
Let me tell you why this writer doesn’t think things will be that different at all. First, the Buccaneers are returning Tristan Wirfs and Donovan Smith. I know what you are thinking, Donovan Smith, but hear me out. I believe Donovan Smith deserves more respect than we all are currently sending to him. He has been nothing short of amazing the past two seasons with Brady under center. Tristan Wirfs is an All-Pro, and if the injury bug doesn’t bite him last season, Tampa Bay could’ve very easily been playing for another Lombardi trophy.
Next, the Buccaneers have brought in an old friend of Tom Brady, Shaq Mason. The ex-New England Patriots guard played 955 snaps last season (35th) and gave up one sack (Tied for 59th)…Yes, you read ONE SACK correctly. This may be the steal of the off-season in my mind. He brings toughness and a skill set that, one could argue, compares to or exceeds Cappa’s ability.
Lastly, the Buccaneers will have two other new faces playing guard and center. They will both be filled by two very capable rookies. Robert Hainsey will be the center, and Luke Goedeke will be the starting guard. Now, I know this doesn’t make fans very happy, but it is a reality. Goedeke was drafted high in the draft for good reason. The Buccaneers believe in his skill set. Hainsey, on the other hand, comes from an offensive linemen powerhouse school, Notre Dame. At some point, the fan base needs to just trust the process. Jason Licht and Company are picking and developing these guys correctly.
The Buccaneers have all the weapons needed to bring another Lombardi back to Tampa again; in 2022-23. The league and multiple NFL analysts out there (I’m looking at you, Keyshawn Johnson) can continue to doubt the Buccaneers, but I believe that they will gel and become dominant upfront like the Buccaneers of old.
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