Well so far the Bucs offense has been up and down through the first four games, but one thing that has been consistent is the play of the offensive line. Going into the off-season, there were many critics about this unit as most were saying that it under performed in 2016. Now some of that may be valid as the run blocking was inconsistent and the pocket was shaky during pass plays at various times. That could be due to still having a young line especially with a 2nd yr left tackle plus a undersized center who allowed the pocket to get pushed back too many times. Demar Dotson got hurt at different periods which was a big loss as the Bucs didn’t have a capable backup and it really showed in the Cowboys game.
The Bucs still felt they had a good group of linemen and instead of making whole sale changes, they just needed to make a few minor tweaks. Well for starters, a healthy JR Sweezy makes a difference as he can really move people in the run game and is a solid right guard. So with Sweezy back, the Bucs decided to move Ali Marpet to center which most felt would be his natural position coming out of college. With those two moves, the Bucs O-line got bigger overall and more stout at the point of attack. Through four games it has really showed as the Bucs are keeping Jameis upright and holes are being produced in the ground game. If the unit can keep playing this well, the Bucs point production should increase going forward.
“I think the line has played pretty good. If you look around the league, there [are] a ton of teams that have issues injury-wise at O-line. There [are] several teams in the league playing with multiple backups. We feel like we have good depth on the offensive line. Our grades for the New England game – our O-line graded out extremely high.” D.Koetter
Now with Doug Martin back, the Bucs should be able to put forth a more consistent ground attack that should allow the Bucs offense to shine. It starts up front and right now the Bucs o-line is playing very well which should mean good things for this team going forward.