Pundits, fans and even media type’s attribute the failures on offense: To the inabilities of the offensive lineman to adequately pass protect and run block effectively as the number one cause for an offense that was devoid of explosive capabilities and more often then not was ordinary at best throughout much of the 2009 season.
Using stats readily available on the internet which we found at NFL.com using such criteria as experience, attempts, yards, average, touchdowns, sacks, quarterback hits, negative plays, power, first downs, and 10 yards gains we decided to look at where the Bucs ranked compared to the rest of the league.
The Buccaneers collective group of offensive lineman ranked as the 14th youngest team in terms of experience, were ranked 25th in rushing attempts (403), were 28th in rushing yards (1,625), were tied for 28th worst in yards per carry (4.0), were 31st in rushing touchdowns (5), were 20th in sacks allowed (33), were ranked 28th in quarterback hits (94), were ranked 11th best in negative plays (37), ranked 19th in power runs of 1-to-2 yards that resulted in a 1st down (196), ranked 26th in 1st downs (80), ranked 22nd in 10-yard gains (43), ranked 15th in negative play percentage (9%), ranked 7th in percent of power runs (49%), and 25th in percent of 1st downs (20%).
It’s easy to see why so many fans and pundits lay the blame at the feet of the offensive line, but due to the play calling and the development of not one but two very green and inexperienced quarterbacks. How much of the teams failures, should one blame on the offensive coordinator and the inexperience of the quarterbacks under center as a reason for the teams offensive woes?
When, you consider the team was for the majority of the games playing from behind. One would expect to see low rushing totals – one could even expect to see a high number of sacks and quarterback hits. But hidden within the stats is a number of different things such as the fact the team ranked 20th in sacks allowed with an immobile quarterback to start the season and two very young quarterbacks who had never started before and more likely then not tended to hold the football a little longer then they should have.
All in all the offensive line played better then expected considering the switching of blocking schemes in season, two different playbooks, two offensive coordinators, three different starting quarterbacks and more often then not game plans that lacked imagination.
So to the horde of critics who want to judge the offensive line based merely off the stats alone, one needs to delve deeper into the totality of the overall situation before judging unfairly and negatively, as it much more surprising based on the entire situation the line did not do worse then what they did considering all the facts.
Sure on the surface the offensive line under preformed, but who wouldn’t based on the unenviable situation they were put in? The chemistry alone needed to gel as a cohesive unit was lost from the get go with the whole Arron Sears missing in action fiasco, then you starting center goes down, you starting left tackle holds out of a good portion of the OTA’s, guys are asked to loss weight to better fit a system that can’t be practiced fully during training camp for fear of injuring teammates, then there’s the consistent flip flopping between schemes during the season. It a wonder how they even managed to become mediocre.