Between 2020 and 2021, the Bucs loved spectacular continuity alongside their offensive line. However that’s altering this yr. In truth, the beginning group will characteristic a brand new face for the primary time since 2019. It’s not only one new face, although – it’s two.
This offseason noticed left guard Ali Marpet – a mainstay for Tampa Bay since 2015 – retire on the age of 28. Then, a few month later, proper guard Alex Cappa left to signal with Cincinnati in free company. That gave the Bucs two holes to fill, they usually’ve performed properly in doing so. And if Professional Soccer Focus’ current offensive linemen rankings by stress charge are something to go by, quarterback Tom Brady can nonetheless really feel comfy with the unit he has in entrance of him.
PFF’s rankings are damaged down by place, beginning with heart. The Bucs re-signed Ryan Jensen again in March, inking him to a three-year deal. That was a key transfer on the time, but it surely’s much more essential given the staff may have two new beginning guards. By way of stress charge, Jensen completed as PFF’s No. 9 heart final yr. He allowed pressures on simply 2.78% of his pass-blocking snaps.
Apparently sufficient, with regards to the guard place, there are two gamers of curiosity included. These two gamers tied for the seventh-best share, each permitting pressures on 2.91% of their pass-blocking snaps. One was, in fact, the not too long ago retired Marpet. The opposite was Shaq Mason, who the Bucs traded for as a substitute for Cappa on the precise aspect. It’s no stretch to say Tampa Bay really upgraded at proper guard with the addition of Mason, who solely price the staff a fifth-round draft decide.
The Ace Of The Bucs’ Offensive Line
The Bucs have boasted among the best offensive strains within the NFL for 2 years now. Even with the newcomers factored in, PFF ranked the unit because the league’s fourth-best proper now. One of many greatest elements in Tampa Bay’s phenomenal offensive line play lately has been proper sort out Tristan Wirfs. The 2021 All-Professional choice was a first-round decide simply two years in the past, and he’s been the Bucs’ most spectacular lineman ever since.
In 2021, Wirfs completed with one of the best stress charge of any sort out within the league. He allowed pressures on simply 1.83% of his pass-blocking snaps.
“Wirfs earned an 84.2 pass-blocking grade, rating eighth of 96 tackles with at the least 150 snaps, and he allowed 14 whole pressures all through the common season,” Bryant Horn wrote. “He additionally led the group in pass-blocking snaps, with 754 — 10 greater than the second-highest, teammate Donovan Smith.”
Wirfs has been such a significant a part of what the Bucs have performed within the final two seasons, and his absence within the NFC Divisional Spherical loss to the Rams again in January proves simply how priceless his presence is.
Assessing Tampa Bay’s Beginning Offensive Line For 2022
There’s little doubt that Wirfs is the important thing to the Tampa Bay offensive line, however seeing each Jensen and Mason with high 10 finishes in stress charge final yr needs to be an encouraging signal for the group as a complete. And regardless of the turnover inside the beginning 5, the Bucs ought to really feel assured in who they’ve blocking for the best quarterback of all time.
Chances are you’ll not discover a higher proper guard/proper sort out mixture higher than Tampa Bay’s. And the importance of getting Jensen – one of many sport’s greatest facilities – because the anchor can’t be understated.
Smith is not any slouch himself, having confirmed to be a dependable presence for the Bucs yr in and yr out. He has missed simply two video games in his complete profession, and that’s uncommon sturdiness for a left sort out. To not point out, the final couple of years have been his greatest as a Buc.
In PFF’s system, he graded out within the high 15 in each offensive grade and pass-blocking grade final yr. His pass-blocking grade (84.7) was even barely higher than Wirfs’ (84.2).
The wild card for Tampa Bay’s 2022 offensive line is the left guard place. Changing Marpet is not any simple activity, however the staff has some sturdy choices. Aaron Stinnie stepped in on the precise aspect for Cappa in the course of the Bucs’ Tremendous Bowl run two years in the past.
Second-round decide Luke Goedeke posted a 92.2 PFF grade final yr in his last season with Central Michigan. And Robert Hainsey, a third-round decide in 2021, is very considered and will probably be within the combine as properly.
No matter who wins the left guard job out of coaching camp, the Bucs will probably be in fine condition this season. Their offensive line, even with trusted faces out the door and newcomers filling in, guarantees to be among the many NFL’s elite as soon as once more.