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June 25, 2014 @ 9:00 am
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5 Questions Heading Into Training Camp: Guards

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

Editor-In-Chief E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The Buccaneers organization and fans are excited for the 2014 training camp and upcoming season but a number of positions are far from settled. PewterReport.com is in the middle of a five-day series looking at the most intriguing battles and unanswered questions heading into training camp.
The Buccaneers players are off until they have to report back to Tampa on July 23 to begin what many are hoping and expecting to be a rebound season from the 4-12 disaster of 2013. Excitement abounds with Lovie Smith now in place as the team’s head coach and an influx of new players that the organization hopes fills holes in the roster have fans excited about the possibilities in 2014. While the mood surrounding the franchise is as positive as it has been in a number of years, there are still some areas of concern on the roster.

This week PewterReport.com counts down the five biggest questions heading into training camp. While there are certainly more than five, these are the ones that we have the most questions about and will intently be watching once camp opens.

NO. 3: WHO STARTS AT THE GUARD POSITIONS?
Players In The Mix: Patrick Omameh, Jamon Meredith, Oniel Cousins, Kadeem Edwards, Jason Foster, Andrew Miller and Carl Nicks

Of all the question marks, this is the one that has seemed to draw the majority of inquiries on sports talk radio, in the PewterReport.com chat and on the PewterReport.com message boards. The Buccaneers didn’t make any splash free agency signings at the guard spot other than Cousin, a reserve from Cleveland, where offensive line coach George Warhop came from, and re-signing Meredith, followed by drafting Tennessee State’s Edwards in the fifth round. A couple of insights can be taken from that lack of activity.

First, perhaps the front office thinks Nicks will be able to step back in at the start of the season after spending most of last season dealing with a MRSA-infected toe. Secondly, the team may feel the talent on the roster isn’t nearly as bad as some fans and members of the media thinks.

A source recently told PewterReport.com that while the Bucs may not be jumping for joy over the talent level of the guards on the roster, they also aren’t as concerned as some are. The source said that position can be developed easier than center or tackle and plenty of late-round draft picks and even undrafted free agents can contribute and be quality starters in the NFL.

In the mini-camps and OTAs, the Bucs ran a number of different guard combinations out with the first team. Early on it was Cousins and Meredith, but later in the offseason workouts, Omameh and Edwards were getting first-team reps. Omameh, who came from San Francisco last year, drew some praise from the coaching staff, but has yet to start an NFL game, and obviously it's the same situation with the rookie Edwards. It seems unlikely that the Buccaneers would start the season with two unproven players taking the field on September 7 against the Panthers.

And while many still have major doubts about Nicks – and rightly so – the best case scenario would be for Nicks to be able to get through training camp without any major setbacks with his toe. But even if his foot is medically sound, there is still the question how what type of shape will he be in from a conditioning and cardiovascular standpoint, especially with Jeff Tedford's uptempo style of offense.

PewterReport.com’s Early Bet For Starters: Meredith and Cousins
While Cousins does little to excite the Buccaneers fan base, he does have a relationship with Warhop from their time in Cleveland. Warhop and the Bucs front office obviously see something in Cousins that others don’t. Meredith played solid over the last two seasons when pressed into duty and battled a number of injuries, yet didn’t miss a game after being inserted in the starting lineup. Edwards has a shot, but is more of a developmental player. The one wild card could be Omameh. While raw, he was a surprise star in college at Michigan after being one of the lowest rated players in his  recruiting class as a freshmen. But once inserted in the lineup, all Omameh did was quietly becoming a fixture for the Wolverines and improve each season. Look for Meredith and Cousins to win the job with Omameh pressing for playing time.

TRAINING CAMP QUESTIONS SERIES SCHEDULE
Training Camp Question No. 5 - Nickel Cornerbacks (Monday)
Training Camp Question No. 4 - Left Defensive End (Tuesday)
Training Camp Question No. 3 - Guards (Wednesday)

Training Camp Question No. 2 - Running Backs (Thursday)
Training Camp Question No. 1 -
Third Wide Receiver (Friday)
Last modified on Friday, 27 June 2014 09:08
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Owlykat. It's Jace not "Chase" Daniels.
  • avatar


    Meredith is a proven successful NFL Guard who I hope will start. If Nix is 80% we will have a good OL. Chase Daniels is ready to step in at either Center or Guard and will be as good as Meredith if he has to start. Also remember that Smith got almost as many blitz pressures as Glennon did last year and still got KC to the playoffs and he was not as good under pressure as our Josh was last year in Chicago and he ranked number one handling pressure of all NFL QBs last year, so we can rock the NFL with just an average OL next year, so no worries about OL next year fans, as long as Sack Magnet Glennon stays on the bench. Glennon is our only worry! We are deep and will be fine with injures anywhere but QB.
  • avatar

    Owlykat, I agree with you on Glennon but I'm still a little worried about who plays at guard. With the others on the o-line I shouldn't be that worried but I am expecting great things in 2014. So I would like to start this season with as little worries as possible. I don't know what Lovie and the other coach's see in Mike Glennon ? I know that Josh will do well but what if( i almost don't want to say it but) Josh gets injured we would be screwed. I've been saying all along that I thought Lovie had a plan. But even having Mike Glennon as a back up worry's me.Why didn't they go out and find another Q.B. Glennon has good arm strength but he is NOT mobile at all. Maybe as training camp gets going Lovie has someone he is waiting for.I just don't believe that they have that much trust in Mike. If Lovie and the BUCS want to go for it all they better fix the Q.B and the GUARD problem. " SOON " GO BUCS LETS DO THIS
  • avatar

    The guard situation is weak and it should have been addressed in the draft (second round) Oneil Cousins is downright aweful he is slow and akwardm Merideth is ok but thats about it reminds me of Tom McHale or Scott Dill which is nothing special
  • avatar

    Cousins has no business being a starter because if he is the Bucs are screwed.
  • avatar

    I think the main issue with Collins,Cousins and Meredith is going to be conditioning... I am unaware of theses guys experience with playin in the sun but we cannot afford to lose a single player before the start of the season or during the season for that matter... So I hope they are able to adjust... Adjust well... And adjust quick because if they go down... McCown will end the season in a hospital bed... Here's to hoping this Unit can shock the world and also to maybe adding a couple quality starters... Or even quality back ups before the season starts...
  • avatar


    Just a little hasty on your, and a few others judgement of McCoy my friend. Had me worried a little too. And now, a few years later McCoy, not Suh is the more highly regarded player. Back when our free agent LT Petigrew got injured early on, he was replaced by some guy named Donald Penn; about whom most of us knew very little. Up until last year he was a very good player in spite of his girth. Perhaps one of these unknowns will surprise.
  • avatar


    If we take off the pewter-colored glasses as a group of fans, the real question with respect to guards is "can the offense produce in ways that make up for quite likely the worst tandem of guards in the league"? It's not really a question of who starts, it is a question of how costly it is in Tedford's scheme to have two terrible guards. If Tedford has a solution for this glaring set of holes then we may be alright. If he intends to rely on a guy that Brown's fans call the worst guard they have ever seen play football, with not a single redeeming feature to his game last year, then we are in trouble.
  • avatar


    Mark, I agree with you. So lets look at value. I like Meredith over all the OG's because he can play both positions and that scares the heck out of me because that's the only reason. Cousins,I have not seen, but I will trust the OL Coach. Omameh and Edwards are tied for value and that is for back up and potential. Nicks should just go on IR and we pay the money and hope for a miracle next year. Lets use that rooster spot wisely. Right now I don't believe Nicks is even 30% of the past Carl Nicks. He looks like a very big fat man Penn. Of course I have been wrong before; see Gerald McCoy; right Scubog?
  • avatar


    IMHO we have three serious areas of concern. 1. Will we get the McCown that was successful last year and we have seen in OTA and minicamp? 2. Will the pass rush be good enough for a top 10 defense? And, 3. Will the guard play be good enough for the offense to be consistently successful. 1 and 3 are related. If the guard play is not good enough it will be very hard for McCown or anyone else to be good enough. But if the answer to those three questions is yes, then I think we will have a winning season.
  • avatar


    I like Meredith at RG so as long as he's starting I'll settle for either an 80% Nicks or a 100% Cousins at LG. All five O-line positions are important but relative to each other LG is the least important position on the O-line. Go Bucs!
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