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September 3, 2013 @ 9:21 am
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs Exploring Options At Left Guard For Week One

Written by Gil
Gil Arcia


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Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks is still questionable heading into the Bucs season opener in New York. As the week progresses, the Bucs will look at several options to replace Nicks if he ends up watching from the sideline.
It's unlikely All-Pro guard Carl Nicks will play in the season opener against the New York Jets. Fortunately for the Bucs they do have options to plug in at left guard in case Nicks is in fact a “no-go” Sunday afternoon. Head coach Greg Schiano is not ruling out anything however, including Nicks being on the field Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

“Too early to tell,” Schiano said Monday. “We have guys on our roster and we will choose one of them. They all can play guard. So one of them will end up being the starting guard if Carl can’t play.”

Despite the uncertainty, Schiano is confident in the offensive line as well as veteran Davin Joseph.

"I feel very strongly about Davin," Schiano said. "I think Davin is going to come out and play Davin-like. I feel uncertain about Nicks because that's what it is. It's uncertain. The rest of the guys, I have confidence that they're going to play well. The guys that have practiced all camp, they're going to play well."

The guys that Schiano is referring to are offensive linemen Gabe Carimi, Ted Larsen, Jamon Meredith and even Jeremy Zuttah. All four have had experience at guard and some got some looks at the position during preseason as well. 

Meredith was chosen over Jeremy Trueblood to start at right guard last season to fill in for Joseph when he was lost for the season last August and Meredith made the transition from tackle to guard in 2012 look fairly easy.

Carimi got some looks at the spot this preseason and Larsen can be placed at center while Zuttah moves to guard, something the Bucs did last season after Nicks was lost for the remainder of 2012.

"Well it is always an option, because we have done it," Schiano said. "I wouldn't say that is the way we are going to go or not the way we are going to go. Right now we just have to get the best five on the field. So we will evaluate that when we know definitively about Carl."

However, Zuttah didn't appear too happy about the idea when asked about that option recently, but added that he will do what the team needs.

“As of right now, I'm playing center,'' Zuttah said. “I'd like to try and settle in and try to master one position. I think that's what anybody would prefer to do, but whatever the team asks of me, I'm always willing.'' 

Still, with all the options the Bucs may have across the line, Schiano did acknowledge the unit's struggles during the preseason, mentioning that they did not play well throughout the past four weeks. 

“Not all the time, no,” Schiano said. “There were issues. But that can be said for every O-line over the course of the season some weeks. Overall, I’m confident. I just wish there was more certainty at the left guard, but everybody’s got their issues. And that’s ours.”

The Bucs will look to address those issues this week during practice and make a decision on who will replace Nicks if he will sit out the game against the Jets.
Last modified on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 13:32

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  • avatar

    Have any of you guys heard the rumors coming out today about Schiano losing the locker room?
  • avatar

    76Buc; the Coach doesn't lose the Locker Room because it is his in the first place, not the players. Football is a dictatorship, not a Democracy. If the players want Democracy they can go work elsewhere. They could go visit Rodman with his buddy in North Korea. I doubt the rumor is correct.
  • avatar

    I agree on Bolstad. Being in Big ten country, we know first hand how impressive of an OL coach he was at Wisconsin. Then last year, if there was an assistant coach of the year, he should of won it. I have faith in him and Sullivan. go Bucs!!!!
  • avatar

    Thanks EEB I should have more faith in bostad and the Outland is impressive. I just have nightmares of aldon smith abusing him last year and pink laid it out for this game nicely... but bostad really did wonders with less talent
  • avatar

    If I had a vote, it would be Meredith at LG. Carimi is misplaced there, while I`ve seen Larsen get manhandled on too many occasions.
  • avatar

    Highly doubt Nicks will hop out of bed and play LG this Sunday. Meredith was serviceable last year. Carimi played some G for the Bears. One of them will do just fine against the Jets.
  • avatar

    The thought that the Bucs would even think about starting Nicks and re-injurying is still healing foot is disturbuing.
  • avatar

    I don't believe that Nicks will be ready, just a hunch. Fact is he'd be rusty anyway. Obviously it's the coaching staff's call but I like Zuttah staying at center with Meredith playing G. He's simply had more reps there than anyone else available if you leave Zuttah at C. The good news is that Carl Nicks is on the way back and soon will be available.
  • avatar

    I like Carimi, but I don't think this is the week to put someone like that at a position they had never played before until a couple of weeks ago. This is a 3-4, a Rex Ryan 3-4 at that with 1st round picks lurking at both DE positions. When you have good DE's its the perfect setup to run a double dog blitz where the ILB's cross each other on the way to the QB. It drives inexperienced OG's crazy. It's the same thing Rex did to us throughout the game on opening day in 2006 when he was the Ravens' DC and we had two backup guards playing. Since Larsen has sucked at OG in the preseason and since it's only for a game or two, I would put Larsen at center and slide Zuttah to LG. Sorry Zuttah.
  • avatar

    EEB I usually agree with your posts but I doubt schiano wastes time worrying about misdirection that's just automatic media speak at this point. I agree the game awareness needs to improve though so hopefully after an offseason of self study he can correct his mistakes. Personally, I'm very concerned with Carimi. I tried to focus on him in the preseason but I'm not sure you can base much off anyone's performance. Carimi seems to do ok when run blocking so he might be ok with play action, but just straight pass sets he gets blown out. Did anyone see anything different from him during practice?
  • avatar

    Okay buc1932 fair enough - I get carried away sometimes because I want to know more about what's happening behind closed doors and Schiano is as tight lipped as they come. On Carimi, he won the Outland for a reason and Bostad is the best in the biz to help him find that reason again...but he's not there yet...he looked serviceable to me in the preseason (not really better or worse than our other options) but made a real gaf or two at times that cost us...I think that's what we'll have to live with until Nicks is back and/or Carimi gets coached-up.
  • avatar

    @morgan: I think this is exactly what Schiano is doing...the problem I have is why? Are the JETS actually going to prepare any differently for Nicks versus Carimi? It's not like preparing for Freeman vs RGIII...Nicks will block hard, so will Carimi but maybe less hard - what game planning are the JETS doing about this. I think Schiano spends so much time and effort on this misdirection strategizing that he misses spending time on thinking about the game...and he ends up getting outcoached a lot. There is a time and place for not showing your hand - for certain - but the time and place is not every time and every place like our coach seems to think. I would rather he just set the lineup (always adjustable to game day situations) and then spent time thinking about what plays to call in critical situtaions, when to use his time outs, what to tell his defense to do in the last 2 minutes of the game, and so on.
  • avatar

    Schiano knows very well that Nicks won't be available, but probably learned from his mentor Bellicheck not to show your hand until absolute necessary so this weekend's opponent will have to prepare for more possibilities.
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