Donovan Smith is hurting the Buccaneers badly
In an effort to be fair to Donovan Smith, he has been trending towards becoming one of the top-12 left tackles in the league since Tom Brady arrived. No, Brady is not the difference, although it does look better from a stats standpoint when you have a QB that gets rid of the ball quickly.
Still, for the better part of three years, Smith was above average, and that was a huge impact on an offensive line that had a routine claim to being one of the top-five units in the league.
This year has been a bit of a departure from that for Smith.
The penalties have been brutal. It feels like every game has a touchdown called back by a holding penalty by 76, and these games have also been defined by an extra level of pressure on Tom Brady from the left side of his line.
Whatever the reason for this drop-off in production, Smith has not played like the type of player that he actually is. Many have speculated on why these past few weeks have been so bad, but in the end, none of it really matters.
The only thing that matters is that the Bucs find a way to get Smith back on track. If they can’t accomplish this task and get Brady some consistent protection from his left tackle, the rest of this season could be worse than the past few weeks.