The O-line WILL be a strength in 2010 as it was supposed to be last season
Everyone loves the playmakers; Wide Receivers, Running Backs, Quarterbacks, but they are all worthless if you don’t have the time to execute a play. Time comes from great blocking from your Offensive Line, something the Bucs have been building since 2006. With rookies on the right side of the line starting that season, Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood are still anchored on that side of the center. Speaking of which, the Glazers (you know, the guys who don’t spend money in free agency??) picked up the best Center available back then in the form of Jeff Faine of the Saints, essentially robbing a division rival of their best player too. The loss of Aaron Sears has been a disapointment, and the contract situation with Donald Penn is a big dark cloud hanging around One Buc this offseason. But the bottom line is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put together a pretty respectable Offensive Line, it just didn’t show it to be so last season and there was a big reason for that. The offensive coordinator debacle last year caused more than just a play calling nightmare, it wreaked havoc with the offensive linemen, who were told to lose weight, get leaner, and run a zone blocking scheme. But with the dismissal of Jeff Jagodzinski in the preseason and subsequent replacement of his duties with Greg Olsen, the whole O-line was in disarray for most of the year. Before the linemen knew what hit them, they were asked to just flat out, well, flatten out defensive linemen in front of them, essentially eliminating the whole zone blocking stuff all together. Most of them did well gaining weight (see Donald Penn), but all in all, last years Offensive Line play was just inconsistent and should not reflect on the overall outlook on the unit as a collective. With a year removed, Jeremy Zuttah is serviceable in many positions. Then you have newcomers, young hungry athletes like Demar Dotson, Jonathan Compas, Xavier Fulton, Lee Grimes, Sergio Render, James Williams and others who are rookies or first year players that are going to try to knock your block off and get some playing time, and become the next Donald Penn. Even though it may be the least heralded positions for competition going into camp, the battles that will happen in August will be something to watch! Each year there is a surprise player who knocks a veteran out of a job. Donald Penn Beware; you may be the next Errict Rhett, or Wally Pipp.