One unit for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggled to maintain consistency throughout the 2016 season and that was their offensive line.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Line: Remaining Patient
The Buccaneers were tied for 12th in the NFL with 35 sacks allowed and that was with a relatively mobile signal caller in Jameis Winston. Winston has the tendency to delay his release and his throwing motion allows a few extra seconds for defenders to get into his grill. But his pocket presence and mobility within the pocket allow him to avoid many more sacks.
According to Pro Football Focus, the problems in pass protection were on the left side of the line. Left tackle Donovan Smith surrendered 57 quarterback pressures and left guard Kevin Pamphile surrendered 32.
The Buccaneers may attribute their struggles to youth more than ability. Smith just concluded his second season after being selected in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He has shown impressive durability in his first two seasons as he’s missed just one start out of 32 total games played. According to Pro Football Reference, Smith posted an approximate value of eight in his first two years. He is serviceable and provides hope that he can improve despite his pass protection struggles.
Pamphile started his career as a tight end in 2014 and then gradually converted to a guard and earned a starting job with 14 starts last year. Some of his struggles might be due to inexperience at the position as he also spent time at right tackle.
The Buccaneers were one of the worst running teams in the NFL even though they were tied for seventh in the league with 453 attempts. The Buccaneers had to use six different running backs throughout the season and they started a new running back four different times.
Dotson has been the longest standing member of the Buccaneers, joining the team in 2009. He started 13 games for the fourth time in his career and posted an approximate value of seven, which is his career average when he starts at least 13 games in a season.
Hawley started 15 games in his second season with the Buccaneers after starting 14 the year before. He spent the first five seasons of his career with the Atlanta Falcons. The Buccaneers have retained Hawley for two years and $5.5MM.
Marpet appears to have the highest upside on the line and had the highest grade per Pro Football Focus. Marpet started all 16 games after starting 13 as a rookie.
Gosder Cherilus retired after a successful pro career that saw him appear in the postseason with the Detroit Lions and the Indianapolis Colts. The Buccaneers hope to rely on Evan Dietrich-Smith if one of the youngsters on the left side continues to struggle. Dietrich-Smith made the postseason four times with the Green Bay Packers.