A lot of criticism has been dished out by analysts, fans since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 13-12 preseason victory over the Cleveland Browns last Friday and heading into Thursday’s final warm up against the Dallas Cowboys, the offensive line has become the prime culprit to blame.
After the victory over the Browns, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians stated that the offensive line didn’t play well but the following Saturday said after reviewing the film, guys like Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson had actually held their own. If there’s anything to take from the Cleveland game it’s the Buccaneers will need to get used to 5-man protections and working without tight end and running back help.
Another player that has heard much blame throughout the preseason is quarterback Jameis Winston, whom only completed 9-of-19 passes against the Browns. Arians pointed out on two or three throws could’ve helped avoid a couple of the sacks given up. Though protection is much more limited to just the offensive line, options in the pass game become more abundant, making Winston’s decision more critical.
No word has been given yet on if any of Tampa Bay’s starting unit will see any time against the Cowboys but there’s a feel that maybe the unit needs a drive or two to help them mesh before the Sep. 8 regular season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Cowboys, like the 49ers, boast a strong defensive line unit and could help give the Buccaneers one last look for the offensive line before heading into the home opener. Winston is another player that could use the extra reps against the Cowboys’ defense. The former Florida State standout has all the backing from Arians and the staff, but that trust will dwindle if the best decisions are not made on the field.
The clock is ticking for this offensive line, Winston and the team heading into the opener. Tick tock.
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