Alex Cappa has finally won his starting spot with the Buccaneers back.
Not that it should surprise anyone. Alex Cappa is the better right guard and proved it over a much longer sample size last season, and the Buccaneers moving on from him for Aaron Stinnie makes little sense in the long run.
“If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” has many practical applications in life. Changing something that already worked for something new is extremely dangerous, especially when consistency plays such a prominent role in the NFL.
The Buccaneers went from having one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL over several seasons under Jameis Winston to one of the best in the league under Tom Brady. While the quarterback does have some control over the stats that define the offensive line (mainly sacks), it is impossible to deny how much the unit improved in the past year.
With a top-three player in the league at the position at left guard, center, and right tackle, the Buccaneer offensive line is known for its familiar faces, but the weakest links define any fence.
Donovan Smith and Alex Cappa, who had their fair share of growing to do in the transition from Winston to Brady, stepped up to the plate in a huge way in 2021. Smith continued his slow, but undeniably upward trend towards being one of the better tackles in the NFL, and Cappa proved that the Bucs still have it in the draft room. Cappa was extremely consistent opposite Ali Marpet, and he should start to get extra recognition in the future.
Missing part of the playoffs with an injury did make Cappa’s future more uncertain, especially when Stinnie played so well in his absence, but there is still a difference between the two. Stinnie is better blocking for runners, but Cappa is far superior in pass protection.
Based on the fact that the Bucs should throw the ball far more than they pass, it makes sense to keep Cappa as the starter going forward, even if Stinnie was the one on the field in the second biggest game in franchise history.
Fans should worry little about Cappa’s struggles in camp and the preseason. Coming off an injury already isn’t easy, and when you take into account the fact that Cappa was on the field with below-average talent and in far more run plays, it makes sense that he struggled.
On the other hand, Bruce Arians’ comments on Cappa last night, when Brady threw the ball constantly, indicate the staff recognizes how great Cappa is in pass protection and how much sense it makes to keep him in the lead role.
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