The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line has been a cause for concerns for years on end, but it certainly had a good game against the San Francisco 49ers. And, arguably, it was pretty decent last year as well. Not dominant by any means, but certainly not as horrible.
One person who was particularly impressed by Tampa Bay’s offensive line performance was Ben Muth, who dedicated his weekly offensive line column over at Football Outsiders to the Bucs.
Muth was impressed by the entire line, and Ali Marpet in particular. Demar Dotson got some down marks, while left tackle Donovan Smith was promising.
Despite that miscue, and knowing the number of blown blocks he had last year, I'm enjoying watching Smith play. He uses his hands well for a young tackle and has a couple of different pass sets that all have been effective at times. I think he has a chance to be a player.
Smith has been a bit of a lightning rod for criticism since being drafted in the second round last year, and not without reason: he was downright bad at times last year, and has been highly inconsistent from game to game. Performances like this are promising, and why Smith still has the potential to be a very good starter. He just needs to get rid of those down games, too.
Overall, the Bucs offensive line has the potential to be a real strength this season, and into the future, especially in the running game. Which is why the Bucs have been trying to base their offense around the running game, with varying degrees of success. We’ll see whether that holds up tomorrow, too.