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September 16, 2011 @ 1:52 pm
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Morris Shakes Up the O-Line, Zuttah To Start

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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With only 56 yards rushing in the season-opening loss to Detroit, Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris named Jeremy Zuttah as the starter at left guard this week against Minnesota. Morris loves Zuttah's nasty style and versatility, and hopes it might change the fortune of Tampa Bay's rushing attack.

With a rushing attack than has been nearly nonexistent since Week 1 of the preseason Raheem Morris announced today that veteran Jeremy Zuttah will get the start at left guard this week over Ted Larsen.

“Zuttah is going to get the start this week,” Morris said. “Zuttah has been playing well for us in the preseason.

"I expect [from him] what I got in the preseason. Hard play, consistent play. I know he's a smart player. I know I’m going to get that from him. But I just want him to play hard and nasty like he has been playing.”

Morris commented on what was behind the change in this week’s starting lineup.

“Larsen didn’t play terrible last week, but coming off the injury [ankle] I thought he didn’t play as aggressive as he normally would. Or give me the power that he normally gave me last year. [We are] going to try a little changeup this week.”

The fourth-year offensive lineman from Rutgers found out about the start early in the week and is excited to be in the starting lineup on Sunday in Minnesota.

“Yeah I am definitely looking forward to it,” Zuttah said. “It will be good to be back out there. It's been a while.”

Being as versatile as Zuttah is has made it tough for the 6-foot-4, 303-pounder to hold down a specific position as the coaching staff loves having a security blanket on the sidelines.

“It is really amazing to be as smart as Zuttah is,” Morris said. “He's quarterback-smart. He can go to any position and play any position. He can play backup tight end for us. Tackle, guard, center, he’s athletic enough to probably go get a carry or two. He can do it all. A great, great, great addition to our football team with his versatility.”

Zuttah talked about the frustration he feels sometimes by being that perceived “swingman.”

“It is tough to be able to play a couple positions. You feel like if you could just lock into one, you could specialize in that thing. But you do what you have to do that is best for the team. I’m just looking forward to my opportunity.

“I’ve played more center but I did play a whole year at guard so it shouldn’t be too tough for me to get back into it. I would love to lock into one position whether it be left guard or center eventually. But I’m just trying to take it one day at a time and do whatever they ask me.”

Morris appreciates Zuttah’s willingness to do what is best for the team, but said that doesn’t mean Zuttah likes being a five-position backup.

“He gets angry. But he handles it the right way. His anger comes out on the practice field. Usually I have to end us telling him to calm down in practice. You like that. All of my guys strive for greatness. And he is one of those guys.”

Fellow lineman Jeremy Trueblood told PewterReport.com that he and his fellow linemen know Zuttah can handle the job.

“Jeremy is a smart guy, he can play any position,” Trueblood said. “He is very athletic. I think he will do just fine. We [the other offensive linemen] have Jeremy’s back. We think he is a great player.”

Larsen, who played well last season after being pressed into action when center Jeff Faine and guard Davin Joseph were injured, tweaked his ankle in the New England Patriots preseason game. Morris appreciates Larsen’s toughness in trying to play through the injury.

“[The ankle] could be a factor,” Morris said. “Not enough to keep him off the field. But he is such a tough kid; he’s not going to tell you anyway. When he injured it in the Patriots game he didn’t want to tell anybody. Larsen is a young player who doesn’t want to give anybody any snaps. Doesn’t want to [turn into] the famous Yankee [Wally Pipp].”

Last modified on Monday, 19 September 2011 12:05

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  • avatar

    Let's hope Larsen isn't the next Dan Buenning. I think he ultimately moves to center. I totally agree with those who question the availability of C Jeff Faine and hope he can stay on the field for a full season until we draft a suitable replacement. I'm impressed with the modernization of fellow old school, 60's generation posters using letters like WTF. Back in our day the only letters for words were AMF, BMFIC, BMOC and of course BS. I need the secret code for these new ones like OMG, PLOS, BFF and MILF. If you date your BFF's MILF are you a MF?
  • avatar

    Here's two more: "it don't mean nothin"; "there it is". " going back to the world in that big jet"
  • avatar

    If you will remember Larsen was pressed into service as a guard last year, but he was supposed to be a back up center. If Zutah plays this week as well as he did at guard in the preseason, we should give him the postition for the year and make Larsen the backup center in case Jeff Faine comes up hurt once again, about the time Larsen's ankle heals up. Larsen has been a center before and knows how to snap the ball. In our offense now Freeman calls the blocking calls and not the center; so Larsen should be just fine in there, and an improvement over heavily overpaid and underweight and too oft injured Faine who should be waived injured if he goes out again this year. Faine will never be an all pro at the position and is getting older too. Next year the first round pick needs to be a versatile tackle who can play left or right tackle and the second round pick needs to be the best guard available. Just as Larsen has been hurt and has hurt the team trying to play through his injury, Cody Grimm has done the same at Safety. Corey Lynch needs to replace him until he is 100 per cent or TJack comes back.
  • avatar

    Its about time they shake up the line maybe the running attack can get going from the first play, Beat Minn Sunday all I can do is watch the internet and watch the highlights over NFL Network.Go Bucs
  • avatar

    So are we that dumb; the Fans? Many of us challenged why Zuttah was not the starting Left Guard? Why was he considered too valuable because he had to back up Faine? So where was the back up Center? Oh yeah a couple of you told me it was another Guard who could play the position because they were a Center in College. WTF is is that? Again, please find a backup of Center because we know Faine can not play a full season. Please find a real FB. Please find an experience 4th TE. Offense is our main problem. They showed it in pre season and in our 1st regular season. We need some real experience offense back ups! We have a couple question marks on Defense, but at least there is real back ups. On Offense we are very very stretched. Go Bucs! Get this Win!
  • avatar

    Isn't it funny how we 'stole' him away from the Saints who in turn replaced him with a better center and he has never played a full season or panned out to be that great player for us? Its no wonder we don't go after any free agents. They never pan out for us like they do other teams.
  • avatar

    Get nasty Zuttah!! Time to make some pancakes!!
  • avatar

    Some have questioned his dedication, pointing out that he is the exact same size as when he entered the league. Most linemen add muscle as they mature. He hasn't. Larson played well as a rookie. I hope the ankle is his only problem.
  • avatar

    I think we were all a little surprised that he didn't get the start last week.
  • avatar

    My how things change. This time last year we were told Zuttah was likely to be cut because he had a bad attitude, wasn't strong enough, and basically didn't have a pro mentality. What happened?
  • avatar

    yes I also thought we would see Zuttah in at center.....
  • avatar

    Was very excited to see the headline....thought he'd be at center tho. Go get 'em Zuttah! Glad the coaches recognize the failings of the O-line and are willing to try other ways to improve. gotta pound that rock
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