The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have invested a lot of money in their offensive line in recent years. Jeff Faine was signed to a six-year, $37.5 million contract with $15 million guaranteed in 2008. Donald Penn signed a six-year, $41.7 million contract with $18.8 million guaranteed in 2010. Davin Joseph signed a seven-year $52.5 million contract with $19 million guaranteed last month, and Jeremy Trueblood signed a two-year, $10 million contract on the same day.
Despite all that money, the offensive line looked horrendous against the New England Patriots. Part of this was caused by missed assignments and blocking schemes that may be on the quarterback, but almost every player was beaten physically as well.
This week, the offensive line has a chance to redeem itself by performing well against one of the better defensive lines in football.
The Miami Dolphins had one of the best pass rushers in the league last season in Cameron Wake. The former CFL star had 14 sacks last season, and will prove to be a handful for either Jeremy Trueblood or Donald Penn, wherever he lines up. Their nose tackle is Paul Soliai, good enough to be franchised, and their two defensive ends Randy Starks and Kendall Langford are no slouches either. In addition, they have 2010 first-round pick Jared Odrick waiting in the wings after missing most of last season due to injury.
But Kevin Nogle of the Phinsider pointed specifically to linebacker Koa Misi as someone to watch. Misi was a second-round pick last year and had 4.5 sacks in his rookie year. Read what Nogle had to say about him:
Misi plays opposite Cameron Wake as the starting outside linebackers. Wake is a sack machine, but the Dolphins lacked a pass rush opposite him last year. Misi is developing nicely this year, with help from Jason Taylor and pass rush coach Bryan Cox. I would watch what Misi can do against the Bucs.
Facing that kind of depth, the Bucs' offensive line will have to show that they're worth the money they've been given.