The Buccaneers hope they have their quarterback for years to come in Jameis Winston and now they need to work on finding offensive linemen who can do more than help him up after taking a hit from an opposing defensive player.
Winston has been sacked seven times in three preseason games, which is more than any other quarterback in the league, and he was dropped four times by the Browns on Saturday night. Tampa’s starting a pair of rookies and third-round right guard Ali Marpet struggled mightily against Cleveland. On Sunday, coach Lovie Smith said he’s seen progress from the group but the overall body of work leaves much to be desired.
“We had some bad plays last night, yes, along our offensive line,” Smith said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s like that most games, though. You have some plays you’d like to have back. Good plays on their part. Looking at the overall picture, just like before when we played a lot better, you take everything in, which we will do. But that play last night, for the most part, was unacceptable for us, and we’ll fix it.”
They’ll have to because their current pace of sacks allowed would leave Winston in David Carr territory come the end of the regular season. The pounding Carr took in his rookie season with the Texans put him on the path to being a disappointment, which held the franchise back and serves as a warning for the Bucs as they ready their own first overall pick for his first NFL year.