A former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman went scorched earth on Donovan Smith after his terrible 2022 season.
It’s an understatement to say it was a rough season for Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith.
Smith, once a Pro Bowler and anchor on the Bucs offensive line, seemed to epitomize how hard the team fell from grace last season. He played in the fewest games of his career but committed a career-high in penalities, often at the worst possible moments in the game.
He wasn’t the only thing wrong with Tampa Bay last season, but the cliff dive he experienced was cause for concern and remains a source of contention for fans as the team enters a critical offseason.
Tampa Bay is roughly $55 million over the cap, which means moves must be made before the team can seriously address areas of need, most notably at quarterback. Such moves will require tough decisions, and Smith is on the chopping block given his underperformance and high salary.
For some, the decision to cut Smith loose isn’t a hard one. Former Buccaneers offensive lineman Ian Beckles, who played in Tampa for six years between 1990 to 1996 is among those calling for Smith to be released and isn’t holding back how frustrated he is after what he witnessed last season.
Former Buccaneers player torches Donovan Smith: ‘I’m done defending you’
Beckles went scorched earth on Smith, letting it be known that a long-time supporter and defender has been forced to jump ship.
“Donovan Smith? I’ve defended him in the past. He should be cut,” Beckles said in a recent episode of his podcast In The Trenches with Ian Beckles. (h/t JoeBucsFan for finding the soundbite). “I’m done defending him. Donovan Smith you’re not good anymore. I’m sorry. I’ve defended you for years. They would put [Josh] Wells and some other clown in there [last season] and they were just as bad or just as good, or whatever you want to say. But Donovan Smith, you are not a difference-maker anymore. You will be released.”
Holy cow, that’s intense.
Beckles is voicing the frustration a lot of Buccaneers fans felt toward Smith last season, as it seemed he just couldn’t get out of his own way. The biggest memory of this past season for Smith will be his uncanny ability to commit a holding penalty at the most inopportune times for the Buccaneers, oftentimes killing momentum after seemingly huge plays.
Leading that highlight reel would be his holding call that negated a 66-yard touchdown to Mike Evans in a game against the San Francisco 49ers. Tampa Bay went on to get blown out by the Niners, which wasn’t solely the fault of Smith but that hold stunting obvious momentum early in the game can’t be overlooked as a factor.
Smith ended up getting called for 12 penalties last season, seven of which were for holding, and three of those engaged touchdowns. For as hard as scoring was to come by for the Bucs last season, those penalties were massive.
It’s tough because Smith has been a productive start for the Buccaneers for most of his career. He was a big part of a Super Bowl-winning offense back in 2020 and is a seasoned franchise veteran. Since coming to Tampa Bay as second round pick back in 2015, and has experienced the highs and lows that fans were put through in that period, but never seemed to do anything other than put his best foot forward.
That’s what made his season last year even more disappointing, and it’s unfortunate that such questions about his future are being raised for a guy who has given so much to the Buccaneers over the years.