Joe understands a sect of Bucs fans demands Joe type that the Bucs cannot pass block. There are several reasons for this, Joe can only assume:
1) Fans have a perpetual narrative the Bucs cannot pass block — even though they dominated last year — 731 pass attempts and only 23 sacks. Try to find a better ratio. And if you do not feed this narrative that the Bucs cannot pass block, you are some team-paid salesman trying to con fans.
2) Donovan Smith. Fans have hated on this guy since he was drafted because — hell, Joe doesn’t know why outside maybe the worst judges of offensive line play, the PFF tribe, said so. But many fans cannot stand Smith and they like any negative light that can be shined on Smith, so maybe that will nudge Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht to run him.
3) If Joe or others write — never mind if it is accurate or not — that the Bucs cannot pass block, then maybe that will force Team Glazer to order Licht to go sign a guy who is unemployed in the middle of August.
4) Some Bucs fans are bored with a good team and need something to kvetch about. Still suffering PTSD from the Lost Decade, these Bucs fans cannot relax and embrace a good team without ugly, bed-wetting flashbacks in the dark of the night.
Well, Joe is here to say Bucs fans have every reason to sweat about the offensive line. There, feel better? But no! It’s not pass blocking. The pass blocking is fine (as of August 11).
The reason fans should be nervous about the offensive line is the interior run blocking.
Beginning about a week, maybe 10 days ago, the Bucs simply cannot create creases for running backs between the tackles. These guys inside, more often than not, are getting pushed around.
Today, for reasons unclear, Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich must have been p!ssed at his running backs. Joe has never seen a practice where the offensive coordinator scripted so many run plays up the middle. And rarely did the Bucs gain any sort of yardage.
Remember, this was a controlled scrimmage. Perhaps Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel asked Todd Bowles if the Bucs could keep running up the middle because his defensive tackles needed work? Or, Bowles wanted Leftwich to run up the middle because a left guard is still undecided, and perhaps Robert Hainsey and/or Luke Goedeke needed seasoning in run blocking.
Either way, the Bucs time after and time after time ran the ball between the tackles. And it didn’t matter: Rachaad White, Giovani Bernard or Ke’Shawn Vaughn rarely got any production.
So Bucs fans, you can now begin wringing your hands over the Bucs’ offensive line. Forget the pass blocking. Better start doing shots about the interior run blocking.
This content was originally published here.