The Buccaneers haven’t exactly been praised for their offensive line, short of Ali Marpet, and Joe Hawley’s beard. But with some change-ups and Sweezy back in the game, I think they’re going to give us all a lot to talk about this season.
Sweezy brings the nasty, which is something we need on the O-line, yeah he racks up a lot of offensive penalties, as do Dotson and D. Smith, however, Sweezy is a bulldozing brick wall and can play right guard, which is his natural position. Then there’s Donovan Smith, looking slimmer and in great physical shape, he could become a top notch left tackle, if he can cut down on the offensive penalties. Just stop getting burnt on the outside by blitzing linebackers.
Last season Smith gave up 57 Qb pressures and 14 total penalties. That brings me to Demar Dotson who’s had injury problems. He missed 10 games in 2015 with an MCL tear and then three more games in ’16 with a concussion. You can tell the injury to his MCL had slowed him down a bit as he went from being one of the better RT around, to the fuel of many fan furies. Despite his injuries, the 6’9 Dotson can move well on the field and stays balanced.
At the beginning of the off season, Ali Marpet was moved to center, as an experiment. That seems to have paid off and it was announced that he will permanently stay in that position for, at least, the 2017 season. He’s been a solid player for the Bucs, with a run-blocking grade of 84.4, he ranked 5th last season. He had the second most snaps in the regular season with 1,135 snaps, just 3 below of New Orleans Jahari Jackson. So I am excited to see what he has in store for the coming season.
Kevin Pamphile has been on the Bucs line since 2014, and this year will be no different. Pamphile is going to take the starting left guard position again. He did a pretty slamming job last season although he did give up 32 pressures of his own, which is not bad at all and should improve this season. We’ve also got Joe Hawley, who has a list of injuries under his belt but is returning this year at center. He has a way of getting into the heads of his opponents and he definitely gives his all on every play.
Last season’s line was considered to be a joke and rag tagged. Because we didn’t have adequate depth, and although we do not have a deep reaching depth chart at the line, our depth is adequate this year. Only time will tell if the new and improved O-line will be successful this season, but it’s looking strong.