Pass blocking evaluation for guards gives mixed results for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

May 15, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) calls a play as center guard Jeremy Zuttah (76) hikes the ball during organized team activities at One Buc. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Pro Football Focus is continuing their evaluation of players as pass blockers, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once again do not come out smelling like a rose. On the list of worst pass-blocking guards, the Bucs see two players featured: Jeremy Zuttah and Davin Joseph. Zuttah has been incredibly inconsistent as a guard, and his play suffered after a pretty strong start to the 2011 season. Joseph, on the other hand, had a pretty good season in 2011, after a down season for his standards in 2010. Somehow, Joseph has been a consistent whipping boy for Pro Football Focus.

Looking at last year, though, this doesn't seem quite accurate. I have Football Outsiders game charting data here, and they list Zuttah with 15 blown blocks, while Joseph had just 10 with significantly more playing time. Compare Jeremy Trueblood, who had a ridiculous 29 blown blocks. Pro Football Focus did note that Joseph improved last year, however. I'd mostly frame that as Joseph simply having a down year in 2010. More importantly, perhaps, Jeremy Zuttah is now moving to center, which seems like a more natural fit and saw him perform much better in previous years.

There's also good news for Bucs fans, though. Perhaps the marquee addition this offseason was Carl Nicks - and he's listed as the sixth-best pass-blocking guard over the past three years, despite being asked to pass block much more often than every player who outperformed him.

The other good news is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to run the ball, a lot, and both Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph excel at run-blocking. At least, Joseph does as long as he's not asked to block an outside zone play. Hopefully the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally go back to a downhill running game, rather than the outside running game they tried to establish in previous years. If they do, Nicks and Joseph will be a devastating tandem.

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