So how bad was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line in 2009? Well, according to resident Pro Football Focus offensive line junkie Neil Hornsby , there was only one team worse in ’09, then the Bucs, that team was none other then the Oakland Raiders. Hornsby graded each offensive line on a number of different measurable statistical criteria which included run blocking, pass protection (sacks, hurries, and hits), and yes, penalties.
Taking run blocking, pass protection and penalties into account provides us with a set of grades for each lineman in each facet of their play. Summing these across each team gives us the rankings below.
Finally, it’s important to note these rankings are all based on performance in 2009 and the team each player took the field for then. While we have reflected on some of the offseason changes in the text, the ratings are only concerned with last season.
No. 31 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Run No. 31, Pass No. 28, Penalties No. 25)
Nobody underperformed as much as this group. Donald Penn, Jeremy Trueblood and Jeff Faine can and must do better. In fact, in 2008 Penn and Trueblood had extremely creditable years. It was a remarkable decline.
Best Player: Penn was very poor at LT, but it’s a mark of how badly the whole line played that he was still better than the rest.
Biggest Concern: That someone, somewhere (who has a vote) thinks Davin Joseph is a Pro Bowler. He’s not a bad pass protector, but surely a RG makes waves through his sound run-blocking and in that respect, Joseph is the worst of an awful group.
Any one who has watched the Bucs offensive line over the last several seasons knows the line fails to open holes on a regular basis. Now if you’re an astute fan you might also know that Joseph is by far the worse run blocker on the team when it comes to run behind average. The Bucs ran a total of 56 times directly behind Joseph in 2009 and managed 2.88 yards per carry.
The next lowest run behind average was behind left guard Jeremy Zuttah, with a 3.11. Which is still .33 better then the only player on the line that’s been to a Probowl while wearing a Buccaneers uniform in Joseph.
Based on the line’s performance from last season, it’s hard to argue that the ranking is biased or even wrong. When the line is continuously touted as a team strength and consistently under-performs it’s a deserving and much earned ranking.