Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks was one of the most coveted free agents in the 2012 class before signing a 5-year, $47.5 million deal with Tampa Bay. Nicks spoke to PewterReport.com recently about what he expects from himself and his teammates in 2012.
While the acquisition of wide receiver Vincent Jackson grabbed the biggest headlines during the opening day of free agency last March, the follow up signee could have an even bigger impact on the Buccaneers offense in 2012.
Tampa Bay inked former Saints guard Carl Nicks to a 5-year, $47.5 million deal just hours after signing Jackson and those around the league took notice that the Buccaneers serious about spending money. With Nicks anchoring the left side guard spot, and Pro Bowler Davin Joseph on the right, opposing defenses are expected to get a heavy dose of the duo on game day. Nicks thinks this offensive line can be one of the best in the league.
“Absolutely (we can be the best),” Nicks said. “I mean it all starts up front with the line and I think we’re going to be the leaders of this team. We’re going to win and lose games off our backs. That’s how I take it, that’s how our whole offensive line has got to take it. If you can protect the quarterback and you can run the ball, why should you lose? If they score seventy, you just got to score seventy-one. I put it on my back and I think the whole offensive line does too.”
When Nicks was introduced at his initial press conference back in March the former Nebraska star talked about his love for running the football. This week at training camp Nicks explained some of the reasons behind what is so appealing about running.
“First thing, it gets the defensive line tired,” Nicks said. “You can wear them down and that helps your pass protection. Another thing is knocking a guy down and watching him get up, just seeing the tiredness and the hurt in his eyes, you just thrive off that. So if I can maul somebody every play, that’s what I’m going to try to do. In pass protection, their going to be tired and I’m going to be fresh after just mauling you, so I’m excited.”
While even the most casual sports fans know the Saints were a prolific passing team last season, New Orleans wasn’t one dimensional. In fact the Saints were the league’s No. 6 rushing team in 2011, averaging 131.9 yards per game on the ground.
“You know (the) NFL is (the) NFL,” Nicks said. “Some people might call the Saints a passing team, but at the end of the day they had to run the ball. You know, we weren’t throwing it a hundred times a day. So, (the) NFL is (the) NFL. It’s going to be physical no matter where you’re at.”
Despite a 4-12 season a year ago, Nicks isn’t conceding that 2012 will be a project season.
“It’s not a rebuilding year,” Nicks said. “We’re trying to win. We’re trying to shock some teams, kind of like how Detroit did it after their few years of not doing so good and San Francisco shocked the world. We’re trying to do something like that. So bringing in veteran guys, skill guys, and Pro Bowlers it’s going to be fun to see what we do out there."
While football obviously is Nicks’ main focus, the Pro Bowl guard has some causes he strives to raise awareness for – two of which affect him directly.
“I want to work with autistic children and children with asthma,” Nicks said. “One, my older sister is autistic. I grew up with that, I’ve dealt with that, and I’ve seen how hard it is for parents and siblings. So anything to help that cause, situation I’m all about.
“And you know I myself have asthma, so I understand that a lot of guys in the NFL have asthma and you can still be at a high level. You just got to watch what you’re doing and really pay attention to your breathing. Without air you’ll die. (I deal with my asthma with) inhalers on the bench, you take medicine for it. You have got to be in great shape. You got to be in better shape than everybody else.”
Nicks wouldn’t give a prediction of exactly how he thinks the Buccaneers will do in 2012, but told PewterReport.com success will come when certain things fall into place.
“We do have talent,” Nicks said. “But one thing we are a young team. You know I’m kind of looked at as the veteran and this is barely my fifth year. So it’s kind of a different role for me. You know we’re a young team we got a lot of talent, but its got to come together. Our attention to detail has got to be second to none and our game preparation has to be the best.”
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