Buccaneers Confident in Young Offensive Linemen

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers head to Dallas this week to open the 2022 NFL season. The Bucs are a team in the midst of a semi-rebuild on their offensive line.

During the offseason the Bucs lost both starting guards, Ali Marpet to retirement and Alex Cappa to free agency. Then early in training camp the team lost center Ryan Jensen for an extended period.

The Buccaneers brought in guard Shaq Mason and drafted guard Luke Goedeke. Goedeke “won” the starting left guard position by default when Aaron Stinnie went down with an injury in camp. And second year lineman Robert Hainsey won the starting center job.

There’s really no question if Mason can fill the void left by Cappa, he may even be an upgrade. The concern comes with Goedeke and Hainsey and if they’re ready to play at this level. According to ESPN’s Jeff Saturday, there’s no concern needed for the Buccaneers’ offense.

“When you got four or five [offensive linemen] who you feel are legitimate competitors and will stand kind of the test of time, you understand where your negative play or potential liability is,” Saturday said. “If you don’t think a dude who’s 45 years old and threw for the most yards last year in the NFL understands how to manipulate the pocket and coverages and protections, you’re kidding yourself. This guy understands football. Again, he is the driver of this football team. You cannot have concerns when you’ve got Evans, you’ve got Godwin; They will be back at full strength.”

Saturday continued,

“This offense will move. I have no concerns about the Tampa Bay offense. None. Not even a little bit.”

That’s fair, but a bit misguided. Yes Brady can do a lot to ease the offensive line situation, but he’s 45 years-old and not exactly fleet of foot. Regardless of what he says.

If you ask head coach Todd Bowles, he isn’t concerned about having essentially two rookies starting in front of Brady.

“I don’t think any rookie is going to be polished the first time starting,” Bowles said. “But [Antoine] Winfield has started. [Sean Murphy-]Bunting and [Jamel] Dean have played quite a bit [as rookies] and Devin [White] has started from Day 1.”

“We’ve played rookies here before. We understand the things he has to learn in the pass game. But he has done a lot of good things for us and we don’t think he has that much to learn.”

Again, fair points, but none of those players Bowles listed were responsible for protecting the GOAT. We’ll get our first look at this new line Sunday night in Dallas.

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