With Jeremy Trueblood declared out for Sunday’s season finale against the Atlanta Falcons with post concussion symptoms, once again it is, as head coach Raheem Morris is fond of saying, next man up time. And today Morris announced that James Lee is that man up next for the Buccaneers at right tackle and will start Sunday’s 4 p.m. contest at the Georgia Dome.
The Bell Glade, Florida native Lee relieved Trueblood last season for nine games in 2010 and the consensus from the caching staff was Lee was ready to challenge Trueblood for a starting position in 2011 but Lee has a poor preseason committing numerous penalties in the four game exhibition series. Lee sounded genuinely excited speaking with local reporters in the Buccaneers locker room Friday afternoon.
“I’m just basically sitting back and waiting for my opportunity. It’s here now, so I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
“As a unit, we all stick together and feed off of each other. We just keep each other encouraged and keep fighting. It’s been a rough year for us, but we’re going to be alright.”
The former South Carolina State star was hampered by knee injuries early in the season and has inactive for a majority of the season and was has only played in two games this season. Lee said health-wise he is 100 percent.
“No, the knee is totally ready and I’m ready to rock and roll. “I’m ready for whatever. You [media members] can get down there and I’ll take you,” Lee laughed.
Both Donald Penn and Trueblood said today they don’t expect a drop off with Lee in the starting lineup.
“He did a good job for us last year, and I don’t think he’s going to do anything different this year,” Penn said.
“James is ready,” Trueblood. “Everyone saw how he played last season. He has worked hard and knows what to do out there. I expect him to play well Sunday.”
Lee agreed the Falcons aren't the optimal team to get back into the swing of things against and present numerous challenges for the entire offensive line.
“They do a bunch of different things, as far as their pass rush and blitzing,” Lee said. “They have a strong core of linebackers plus their defensive line [is solid], so you have to stay [watching the tape] and focus on the details. I feel that we’ve been coached up good enough this week to go up there and be ready for the challenge.”
Despite a disastrous season Lee said he and his teammates want to go out on a positive note.
“It would be the best thing of the year. We’ve lost nine in a row, so to get a win in the last [game] would be great because it’s been so long.”