The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have seen a lot of change when it comes to their offensive line and it’s a major reason why the offense has struggled so much this year.
Part of said change was the starting status of rookie left guard Luke Goedeke for the first seven weeks of the season. With all due respect, Goedeke was a problem, and not in a good way.
He struggled. A lot. And it really hurt the offense.
Many clamored for change, but the Buccaneers never relinquished. Then, Goedeke hurt his foot during the Week 7 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
The injury was severe enough that it put Goedeke on the sidelines for several weeks. Nick Leverett stepped in during that time and there was noticeable improvement not only at the left guard position, but across the offensive line, as a whole.
Many wondered (and worried) if the Buccaneers would give Goedeke his starting job back once he regained his health. Doing so would be a mistake, as Leverett has proven himself to be the better player over the last few games.
Goedeke has recovered from his foot injury, so naturally, Todd Bowles was asked on Monday if he’ll get his starting job back.
And his final decision is the correct one. Bowles told reporters Leverett will remain the starting left guard moving forward.
“Right now he [Leverett] is – he’s playing well, he’s playing physical,” said Bowles. “You ride the hot hand – Nick has been playing well for us. He’ll stay in there, but Luke [Goedeke] needs time to get ready and he’ll be ready when his number is called.”
Cohesiveness is arguably the most important trait an offensive line needs to have in order to be successful. It’s why the Buccaneers offensive line was so successful from 2019-2021. The core of that group -four of five starters- had been with each other the entire time and the other one, Tristan Wirfs, had been there since 2020.
The left side of the offensive line has found a level of cohesiveness that can be rendered as effective. And while Leverett’s presence certainly hasn’t brought the Buccaneers’ offensive line back to the 2020-2021 level of play, he’s made things manageable and he’s stabilized things from an overall standpoint.
Removing Leverett would not only dent the groove that’s been formed over the last few weeks, but it would also destabilize the situation, which is not what anyone would want. Especially with Wirfs out of the lineup for the foreseeable future.
It’s the correct call that should help keep Tom Brady upright moving forward.
Featured image via Andrew Nelles / USA TODAY NETWORK