Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ali Marpet unsung hero and key for offense

Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a star-studded group. Everywhere you look on the roster, regardless of position, you can surely find a name that even the most casual of fans know and recognize. That is, except for the offensive line, but that’s to be expected. The offensive line being unsung heroes and flying under the radar is a tale as old as time. The Buccaneers are no different.

One offensive lineman, in particular, is the key that makes this offense go.

Tom Brady naturally got all of the headlines when he signed with the Buccaneers, as well as in the Super Bowl, as evident by his MVP, even if the defense did deserve the bulk of the credit. That’s the way it works in the NFL though. The quarterbacks, and to a lesser extent the position players, get all of the glory, then defense, then offensive line.

The offensive line was the primary reason Brady was able to keep doing Brady things. He was upright the majority of the season. On the offensive line, if you had to choose one, Tristan Wirfs may get the most notoriety. Entering his second season as the starting right tackle, Wirfs may already be the best at his position. As a rookie, he only gave up one sack, while committing only three penalties, and only one after week five. Wirfs isn’t the key to this offense, however.

Ali Marpet is the unsung hero of this Buccaneers offense, but also it’s key.

Offensive lines as we said always fly under the radar, but tackles will at the very least get paid the big bucks and get drafted with high picks to much fanfare. The same can’t always be said for interior linemen.

Ali Marpet has always been a fighter. Granted, he was a second-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, albeit out of tiny Hobart College. His tenacity and chip on his shoulder results in his play, and the comfort of Brady. Marpet is a skilled lineman, but his mere presence is what makes the difference.

According to NFL.com’s analytics expert Cynthia Frelund, in the 13 games Marpet in the lineup at left guard last season, Brady had an average of 0.3 seconds longer in the pocket on passing downs. On running downs, Bucs backs who ran to Marpet’s side of the line earned 1.3 more yards per carry than when Marpet wasn’t on the field.

Those analytical stats may seem like a bit of a stretch or even a reach, but that is a HUGE difference in the grand scheme of things. Simply put, when Marpet is on the field, the Buccaneers are better offensively.

Ali Marpet won’t ever get the proper recognition he deserves, so we’ll do our best here. He is both the unsung hero of this offense and the key that makes it go.

Next. The unsung hero and key for the defense. dark