GazetteXtra Print Article Logo URL: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/bucs/2017/11/01/bucs-line-wants-to-spark-offensive-improvement/


Bucs’ line wants to spark offensive improvement

By Greg Auman
J.R. Sweezy (73), seen at center, runs through drills during training camp. (Loren Elliott, Times)

Whether it's the passing game or the run game, the answer to the Bucs' offensive woes can begin at the line of scrimmage, where the line goes into Sunday's game at New Orleans wanting to be a catalyst for change.

"We have to be on point. It kind of all starts with us," guard J.R. Sweezy said. "Nothing really works without us, so we have to be on our stuff, playing on top of our game for everybody else to play at the top of their game."

The offensive line hasn't been bad in 2017 — the Bucs have allowed 13 sacks in seven games, putting them on pace for five fewer than the 35 allowed last year. Tampa Bay's run game is 29th in the NFL at 81 yards per game, and 24th in yards per carry at 3.7.

"The biggest thing for us, it's getting back to our technique," said Evan Smith, who has split time with Kevin Pamphile at left guard. "We've been doing a lot of really good things. The biggest thing is consistency, week in and week out, always being the same group."

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said success on either side of the ball starts with the line, for his team and any NFL team.

"Everything starts at the line of scrimmage — we've all seen what happens when any team doesn't play well up front," Koetter said. "That's every offense in the league."