The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line has seen a remarkable resurgence. Last year, the unit was arguably the worst line in the NFL. With Anthony Collins at left tackle and a rotating group of incompetent starters at right guard, the Bucs couldn't block a soul either in the running or passing game. The result: 52 sacks given up and just 3.9 yards per carry, good for 30th and 24th in the NFL respectively.
As Jenna Laine points out, the Bucs have been much better this season: they've given up just 24 sacks, ranked sixth in the NFL, and have been running for 4.9 yards per carry, second in the NFL. With Donovan Smith at left tackle, Ali Marpet at right guard the Bucs have been starting two rookies all season long -- all the more reason to be amazed at this stark difference in performance. And they did all of that while being without their best offensive lineman in Demar Dotson for essentially the entire season.
A lot of this has to do with Jameis Winston and Doug Martin, both of whom have made the offensive line look better, while quarterbacks and running backs in previous years made it look worse. It's easy to do so: make a man miss in the backfield or get rid of the ball in time, and you help out your line as well as yourself. The offensive play design has also helped, with Dirk Koetter routinely keeping in extra linemen and tight ends to help out weak spots.
There are some caveats, too. While the Bucs have given up far fewer sacks, part of that has to do with situations and the teams they've faced. In terms of Football Outsiders' adjusted sack rates, which tries to adjust for those factors, the Bucs are ranked just 17th. And while the rushing offense's raw numbers are outstanding, its situational efficiency is less so as they're ranked 18th by DVOA.
While the traditional statistics may overrate the Bucs' improvement on the offensive line, it is still obvious for anyone to see. The line isn't dominant, but it is no longer a liability -- and at times it's even a strength. While the Bucs could stand to upgrade a few spots, they should have few problems if they decide to go into the 2016 season with the exact same group of players. It's been a while since we could say that about the Bucs.