The Tom Brady Effect: Improving the offensive line

Tristan Wirfs, Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Tristan Wirfs, Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
1 of 2
Tom Brady
Tom Brady, Ryan Jensen, Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line was much improved in 2020. How much of it was due to new faces, and how much was the Tom Brady effect?

The offensive line for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 was absolutely spectacular. By all accounts, they were a top-five line in the league. They gave up a stunningly low 3.54 sack percentage, good for third in the league. The run blocking was also much improved, especially in the second half of the year, but the pass blocking was just MWAH. A chef’s kiss of a year.

Tristan Wirfs was the star of the show. He gave up, no joke, ONE SACK. That was on a maximum possible games in a season of 20, racking up 799 passing snaps. The dude gave up one sack. To former defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. Unbelievable. He also only had 4 penalties which is great for a tackle facing as many elite rushers as he did. Joey Bosa, Mack, and Cam Jordan just in his first five games. This shouldn’t completely overshadow great performances across the board though.

Alex Cappa made another big leap in year three. Jason Licht is some sort of wizard at picking out small school lineman in later rounds. He and Ali Marpet are probably the best, or close to the best, guard tandem in the league. Center Ryan Jensen is a good player and is probably the best offensive lineman in the league at causing defensive penalties. He pushes them just far enough that they retaliate and the flags fly. Donovan Smith has had some real ups and downs at left tackle, but this year was by far his best. Other than a bad game against the Chicago Bears (everyone on the line did) and the second game against the New Orleans Saints, he was extremely good.

There is no denying that the individual players stepped up, and the addition of Wirfs took the line to another level. The question is, did Tom Brady make them look even better?