Dotson on the O-line: "We were up to the challenge"
Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson said the offensive line was motivated by the "naysayers," those doubting they could handle the loss of injured All-Pro guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph.
But the unit stepped up Sunday against the Raiders, as Tampa Bay racked up 515 yards of total offense, including a record 251 rushing by RB Doug Martin. It took a little while for the group to mesh, with Jeremy Zuttah moving from center to left guard, and backup guard Ted Larsen starting at center, but they kept Oakland's touted tackles in check.
"I think guys started to settle down and get more comfortable," Dotson said. "And we started gelling as a unit. We knew that we were going to go out there and fight. They've got a good front seven, especially a good front four, we knew it'd be a dogfight from start to finish. We were up for the challenge. We knew we weren't going to get punked out."
Coach Greg Schiano said the line wasn't completely where they needed to be, but he was "happy with how they battled and fought." QB Josh Freeman was sacked just once in the first game without Nicks.
"Nobody is going to give us a chance," Dotson said. "You read stuff in the media about 'patched-up linemen' and all that crazy stuff," Dotson said. "It takes your pride, makes you want to go out and show all the naysayers that say you can't do it. That's who we are, we've got a bunch of guys that are hard workers and want to show everybody that we can get the job done."
-- JOE SMITH