An offensive offensive line
No matter which side of the Atlantic you reside; offensive means the same thing. And for most of the Bucs 35 previous seasons, the Bucs' offensive Line has been exactly that; Offensive.
Save for the brief time in 1979, and even shorter time frame towards the end of 2002 on the Super Bowl march. But that was then, and this is 2011- and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line is finally the strength it was supposed to be.
Consider this; two weeks ago the Bucs were on Monday Night Football, and former Head Coach Jon Gruden was color man in the booth, and in preparation for the Bucs game, the O-Line was the one area of the Bucs young team that did not require much research. Gruden had a hand in all of them.
Ask Raheem Morris how long the Bucs were trying to put together a dominant offensive line around here. Morris joined the Bucs during the Super Bowl season, when Kenyatta Walker was being moved to the right side he played in college. Center Jeff Christy was brought in with Randall McDaniel from Minnesota to add some beef to a struggling offense. The Super Bowl was Christyís last game.
Gruden struggled with under-weight center John Wade. He and GM Bruce Allen thought they got the left side of the line in 2005 when they had Anthony Davis and rookie Dan Benning, and for 2005, Cadillac Williams ran right behind Benning for a 1000+ yard season, but Benning got hurt preseason 06, and never made it back.
The Bucs drafted two more guys, this time for the right side of the line, but they had no idea how soon they would get in. With Injuries and ineffectiveness by Kenyata Walker and Seah Mahan, The Bucs made their move and stared rookies Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood. No one has moved those two since, other than a brief injury stint at the end of 2010.
Anthony Davis proved too much trouble, and the Bucs went out in free agency and got NY Giant LT Luke Petitgout, who went down for the season in 2007. Practice Squad pick up from Minnesota Donald Penn #70 took over, and hasnít let up since. Penn locks down the Bucs left side of the line, and isnít too bad an option to run behind either.
Grudenís free agent pickup for 2008 was grabbing Saints awesome center Jeff Faine, and with a rookie versatile Jeremy Zuttah from Boston College, the Bucs O.line is finally capable of playing with the Best. Ndamekong Suh came to Raymond James and left without a sack, only gathering a single tackle. Jared Allen got one in week two, Atlanta with a stout D-line; zero sacks.
The Line has been together for a long time, and they are showing their advantage. Josh Freeman has plenty of time to throw, and the running lanes are there too, as evidenced by Earnest Graham, who is more adapt at finding a hole than making one.
While the running game took some time to get rolling (as did the offense as a whole), the O-Lines strength has never been more obvious than the three times the Bucs have ran their 4 minute offense at the end of games to secure a win.
Against the Falcons, Colts, and the other day vs the Saints, the Bucs were able to do something they have never done in their history so consistently; end the game with the offense on the field, by not giving the other team the ball back.
And should an injury take a starter, backups like James Lee, Ted Larsen, and Jeremy Zuttah have proven they can handle the Ďnext man upí routine.