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].”