You know your offensive line is really good when two things are happening: The QB’s jersey is clean & the running game is stellar. Neither of those things is happening right now. The O-line isn’t terrible, it just isn’t great. According to NFL.com statistics, Tampa Bay’s offensive line is ranked 11th overall. Which at first glance doesn’t look all that bad, but it does not include game crippling penalties. Who is the major offender in this category? Tackle Donovan Smith, and he is the major reason for this line’s state of mediocrity.
This season, he leads the team with 5 penalties for 45 yards. The majority of which were holding penalties. Two of which have been in the last two weeks, when the Bucs were in scoring position. It is crippling when you are in short yardage situations, and then are backed up 10 yards because of unnecessary penalties. Throughout his short career, he has had a knack for picking up penalties with 30 in 3 years to the tune of 235 yards. In fact, he has been the most penalized player in Tampa every year since he was drafted. It goes without saying, but he hasn’t been living up to his 2nd round pick billing.
With all things said, this offensive line as a whole isn’t necessarily All-Pro material, but they aren’t terrible either. This is a mediocre unit being dragged down by an awful tackle Donovan Smith. If the offensive line’s performance is to improve, someone else will need to protect Winston’s blind side.