Buccaneers: Improvement of Donovan Smith has been massive

Donovan Smith,Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Donovan Smith,Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The offensive line of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a step forward as their left tackle took one as well. His improvement has been huge for the Buccaneers.

The offensive line of the Buccaneers was among the best in 2020 and has been even better in 2021. A big reason for that has been the huge improvement of their left tackle, the most “glamorous” (if you want to call it that) spot on the offensive line, Donovan Smith.

The Bucs’ offensive line doesn’t exactly feature a “weak link”, but at one time if you asked Buccaneers fans to pick the least trustworthy if they HAD  to choose, it would have been Smith. That is no longer the case.

Smith had something of an up and down 2020 at the blind side, such had been the tale in his career to that point. However, he really came on strong down the stretch when the team need him most, and had a solid playoff performance, giving up zero sacks and committing zero penalties. He was rewarded with a two-year contract extension worth $31.8 million this past offseason. It’s safe to say, the Buccaneers have gotten their money’s worth so far in 2021.

After giving up a career-high seven sacks a year ago in 2020, while also being flagged for five holdings, which tied his 2017 career-high, Smith completely turned it around. So far in 2021, he has only been flagged twice for holding, and perhaps the most impressive stat improvement of all has only given up a single sack of Tom Brady.

The offensive line and quarterback work hand-in-hand, the line protects the quarterback and makes him look good. Conversely, the quarterback, in this case, being the greatest of all time in Brady, makes the offensive line look better as he’s able to get the ball out super quickly. Thus, it limits the number of hits and sacks he takes, and one of the few stats offensive linemen have going for them looks fantastic on the sheet.

However, the maturation and improvement of Donovan Smith as a left tackle is a big reason why Brady is on pace to have his best statistical season ever, which is saying a lot, and why the Buccaneers have been able to sustain their success to this point.

The passing attack isn't the only beneficiary. dark. Next