Offensive tackle Donovan Smith has been fighting to turn his image around in Tampa Bay for the past few years. Smith has never emerged as the talent he was paid to become, and Bucs fans have grown impatient with his development.
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Smith had an opportunity to take a massive leap forward this season. The former Penn State tackle has shown flashes of consistent play in pass protection, and even a marginal improvement would land him in the top half of the players at the position.
Unfortunately, the Week one matchup showed that Smith still has more growing to do, and he will need to show improvements very soon if he hopes to remain on his very lucrative contract in Tampa Bay.
After this season, Smith has no more guaranteed money coming his way, and he will need to play at a heightened pace after his first game if he wants to stay on the team.
Bruce Arians has never shied away from criticizing his players when they perform poorly, and signaling out Smith after playing against a backup shows that Smith’s seat is heating up.
Hopefully, the Arians comments will be enough to light a fire under the veteran tackle, and the level of play will improve against the equally talented Carolina Panther pass rush.