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The Buccaneers problems are the same as last year

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a few days from their fourth and last game of preseason for the 2015 NFL season.  In their previous three games, the Bucs are 1 - 2. A blowout loss in the third preseason game dashed away some hope as the penultimate preseason game represented the final showcase of the starting lineup before the regular season begins.

Today on Bucsnation, we have rumor news that the Bucs are looking to trade for an offensive lineman. This notion of adding an offensive lineman to the team with one preseason game left is not a foreign notion. In fact, it is déjà vu all over again as that is what the team did last year with the acquisition of OG Logan Mankins. Unfortunately, the team had already traded TE Tim Wright away a day earlier for a punter.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

While the Bucs did draft two offensive linemen in the 2015 NFL draft in the second round, they find themselves in the same disposition as they did last season - seeking a trade for an offensive lineman. Although the previous regime under Mark Dominic rarely invested in high level draft picks for the offensive line, it is this regime of head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Light. Lovie Smith controls who should be on the 53 man roster.

Revisiting 2014 Offseason

2014 Bucs Notable Transactions
Released or Traded
Pos Player
LT Donald Penn
C Jeremy Zuttah
RG Davin Joseph
LT Anthony Collins
C Evan Smith
Drafted in the FIFTH ROUND
OT Kevin Pamphile
OG Kadeem Edwards
Injury Prone; Retired
LG Carl Nicks
Late Addition
LG Logan Mankins
Free Agents
OT/OG Oniel Cousins
OG Garrett Gilkey

From the chart, notice that the organization released three starting positions and only replaced two of the three starting positions. That means the remaining starting position, RG, would be dependent upon either Cousins or the fifth rounder, Edwards. That was the gamble the organization pinned its hopes upon. Then LG Nicks could not physically play any longer as he and the Bucs parted ways. Eventually after a few preseason games and noticed how abysmal the offensive line played, the organization had made a trade for Logan Mankins. That trade cost the Bucs TE Tim Wright and a 2015 fourth round pick.

There are a malady of mistakes in 2014 offseason. The team could have retained C/OG Zuttah even after acquiring C Smith. Or the team could have not signed C Smith, kept Zuttah at center, and try to sign a starting RG.

In the draft, the Bucs selected RB Charles Sims in the third round. They added another RB to a RB core that was established to be competent that was three deep in Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey, and Mike James. They added to a position that was superfluous in talented depth at running back. The Bucs could have added an offensive guard in the third round. One rookie to join a set a veterans on the offensive line would make it easier for help adjust to the NFL as the offensive line coach can focus more on him.

Before LG Nicks parted ways, 60% of the starting offensive line was changed by the organization. When LG Nicks did leave, then the turnover rate at starting positions on the offensive line was 80%. Free agent LT Collins should win an Academy Award for impersonating a turnstile for most of the season and then a bench at the conclusion of the year. There was no solution at starting RG, but the fan base unfairly lambasted a 2013 seventh round pick to be a competent starter at RG. RG Gilkey never should be looked upon to be a starter considering he was released from his previous team. The fifth round rookie never made it, but also fell to injury.

As much as I want to blame offensive line coach George Warhop, it is very difficult to make lemonade out of lemons when you are given LT Collins, nothing at RG, and a bewildered Mankins at the last minute before the season started. Allow me to reiterate the problems on the offensive line:  LT and RG, with a newly acquired veteran.

Back to the Future, 2015

2015 Bucs Notable Transactions
Released or Traded
Pos Player
LT Anthony Collins
Drafted in the SECOND ROUND
OT Donovan Smith
OG Ali Marpet
Late Addition
RT Gosder Cherilus

RT Cherilus was added because starting RT Demar Dotson was injured in the first preseason game. Dotson was injured later in the second quarter of the first game. Usually, the first team personnel stay on the field for one or two series in the first preseason game. The Bucs did not have any talent worthwhile at RT to have Dotson sit on the bench as coach Lovie Smith wanted to protect his rookie QB, Jameis Winston. How the obvious seems so oblivious.

In the rumor link denoted in the article above, fellow poster and assistant coach on the Bucsnation masthead, DraftPhantom, had denoted the lack of foresight the organization has as well in identifying the Bucs only had three QBs on its roster. Theme that we are trying to make others cognizant about is the lack of proper contingency plans.

We do a horrible job of contingency planning. We seem to have a pollyanna view of our own personnel, fine for fans not so good for the coach/GM to share. If Josh Allen was so critical along with improvement by Edwards/Gilkey ...that's a failure to plan.

I thought we did the same with our backup QB situation this year. Winston was the starter the minute he was picked first overall. On the other hand what if Glennon had gone down week 1 of the pre-season. It takes a good 4 weeks to learn a specified offense and we didn't even have 4 QB's in camp. Some teams took 5 to camp, most take 4, we set ourselves up where a bad hit on Glennon gives us Seth Lobato for the season, or acquiring a QB on the waiver wire who would need a month to get comfortable with the system.

We work only 2 guys at slot corner until this week when Lovie want's them considered different positions. Moore and Johnson....what gives, it's camp you have 90 slots plenty of places to get competition?

Before preseason games have started, many reports stated that rookie OG Ali Marpet was working with the second team as OG Gilkey was working with the first team offense. A Pewter Report writer who appeared as a guest on one of the many preseason videos made by the official website had identified that Marpet's acclimation to the NFL was two-fold:  1) getting acclimated to NFL players from D3 school competition and 2) learning how to play guard because his original position at his school was LT. Free agent offensive guard Evan Mathis was still available and had turned teams down due to his greediness. I thought the team should have made an earnest inquiry.  Here is a link to that article:  Paying the piper. The Bucs do have more than enough money to throw to a skilled mercenary for one year to allow OG Marpet to develop.

So what are the Bucs' problems heading into the last week of preseason?

LT, RG, and a veteran added late to the team.

Same problem as last year.

Now with this rumor news that the Bucs are interested in trading for offensive line help, it makes one believe the team lacks being prudent in its foresight and gambles on its contingency plans. If the team does make a trade, then it has traded away two draft picks to address the offensive line. Recall, the organization traded away a 2015 fourth round pick for Mankins. This is the same organization whose GM says it needs to build through the draft.

The first round of cuts from the 90 man rosters recently happened. 2015 seventh round pick FB Joey Iosefa was among the first cut. It is apparent the team loves to gamble on what could or should happen for its roster. In hindsight, after two years of now noticing how the organization loves to gamble, then it does make one wonder why did it not gamble that seventh round pick on OT La'el Collins? The worst that could happen is the seventh round pick gets cut in the first round of cuts or the player does not play for the team, which is essentially the same result.

The dichotomy of how Lovie and Licht gamble is odd. If it were not for newly acquired OC Dirk Koetter, then this team would have probably traded away both RB Doug Martin and QB Mike Glennon. The reason Lovie kept Dotson in the first preseason game late in the second quarter was to protect his quarterback. Why did Lovie not want to shore up the offensive line even more before preseason started?  And if the front office has rumors of bringing in personnel, then is it the coaching or is it the talent that is lacking?