Analyzing Solid Buccaneers’ Offensive Line Play

Oct 10, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (32) carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The Buccaneers won 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

We take a look at the solid offensive line play by the Buccaneers in their win over the Panthers.

The Buccaneers are feeling pretty good about things heading into the bye week. They head into the break with a record of 2-3, and controlled the game for most of the night in the win over Carolina. After a couple of disappointments, things look brighter in Tampa.

And what about the performance of Jacquizz Rodgers, huh? 30 carries for 101 yards is one solid night for a team that so desperately needed to establish the run. Just a few weeks ago, Rodgers was without a team, and now he gives the Bucs a viable backup when Doug Martin returns, with Charles Sims on injured reserve.

But what about the offensive line? Rodgers couldn’t do it by himself on Monday night, and the offensive line was huge. Today, let’s go to the “Eye in the Sky” as he takes us inside the film on two of Rodgers’ runs from the win. The offensive line played a huge role.

All screenshots courtesy of NFL Gamepass (subscription required).

This first play comes from the Bucs’ second play from scrimmage of the night. They are in the eye formation with two backs behind Jameis Winston. Rodgers is the deep back. Russell Shepard is lined up wide to the right, but comes in motion to the inside.

The snap comes and Rodgers is going to take the ball and try a run off of the right side of the line. Focus on the red circle. Kevin Pamphile is going to take on Kawann Short one-on-one, and blow him off the ball to the left. Joe Hawley and Ali Marpet take on Star Lotulelei. I have marked the fact that the ball is on the 23 yard line for a reason.

Watch in the next shot, and take note of where they take Lotulelei.

First look at the smaller circle. Pamphile has completely taken Short out of the way. He has no chance of getting back into the play at all. Now for the bigger circle. See where they ended up? They are on the 25 yard line, meaning the Marpet/Hawley duo blew Lotulelei two yards off of the ball. Oh, and by the way, some guy named Luke Kuechly got caught in the crossfire too.

Rodgers has a big hole to the right, one large enough to drive a truck through.

Jacquizz hits the hole with speed! Look how long it takes for him to get even touched.

Kuechly finally lays a glove on him nine yards down the field. Rodgers had to make the run, obviously, but the combination of three guys along the line made the run possible.

Now we fast forward to later in the first quarter for another well-executed run, courtesy of excellent blocking.

This time, Rodgers is the single back behind Winston. This time, the run is off of the left side. It takes some athletic work by two Bucs’ linemen, Ali Marpet and Joe Hawley. The two in the blue circles are Kuechly (59) and A.J. Klein (56).

Marpet and Hawley are going to pull, or come out of their positions to lead Rodgers into the hole. Hawley takes on Klein, and Marpet takes on Kuechly who appears to have the play sniffed out.

Let’s see.

Here is excellent work. The right side of the line has created a seal the size of a wall. The Panthers on that side are all on the ground with no possibility to impact the play. Hawley has done a terrific job removing Kuechly from the play, and Klein has no chance, thanks to Hawley.

Take a look now. The size of that hole is probably big enough to fit an 18-wheeler. Look at Rodgers fly through the hole with the greatest of ease.

This time, Rodgers isn’t even touched until he gets 11 yards down the field. Yes, there was great speed out of Rodgers. But the offensive line was excellent here.

The offensive line is something for Bucs’ fans to get excited about. The group is improving, and doing it rapidly. Tune in next week and see what the “Eye in the Sky” has in store.

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