Bucs guard Ali Marpet was unable to practice on Wednesday – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Bucs began preaching versatility along the offensive line as early as this spring and they may need it come Friday night.
Starting right guard Ali Marpet limped around practice Wednesday wearing a walking boot on his right foot, leaving fellow lineman Evan Smith to fill in with first-teamers.
Bucs RG Ali Marpet – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
When asked about injury and if he could provide how long Marpet may be sidelined, Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter barely responded.
“No,” he said quickly, shaking his head.
A left ankle injury caused Marpet to miss a three-game stretch from Weeks 10-12 last year and it was Smith who filled in then as well. A former starter at center before last season’s arrival of Joe Hawley, Smith also worked at left guard when Kevin Pamphile missed a few days of training camp and is still battling for the top job in the middle.
If Marpet is deemed unavailable for Friday night’s third preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, it would be Smith who would step in and start at right guard.
It wasn’t just negative news Wednesday on the offensive line, however. Rookie Caleb Benenoch took part in practice for the first time at camp. The chances of him seeing game action Friday night are still slim, though.
“He got a few reps today,” Koetter said. “This was his first day in a long time. From being out as much as he has to playing in a game, that’ll have to be a decision for the doctors.”
Bucs centers Evan Smith and Joe Hawley – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Tampa Bay selected Benenoch in the fifth round this spring out of UCLA but he’s been unable to get into the mix this summer after suffering an injury to his foot. He’s essentially jumping in with eight other linemen trying to provide offensive line depth behind LT Donovan Smith, LG Kevin Pamphile, C Joe Hawley/Evan Smith, RG Ali Marpet and RT Demar Dotson. The Bucs hope to include J.R. Sweezy to that active roster mix at some point, but the free agent acquisition remains on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list with a back injury.
As for the competition at center between Hawley and Evan Smith, Koetter said it’s still up in the air and that Marpet’s absence demonstrates the value of flexibility.
“Right now we’re cross-training guys,” the head coach said. “With our guard situation, Evan had to play almost primarily at guard today. Both Joe and Evan are good football players and will help our team. How it ends up on the 11th is going to somewhat depend on health at other positions.”
I expect to see some action to get us potentially more backup support on this front by Licht in the coming weeks. Oline will certainly get attention in the next off-season. If we can have an 8 and 8 or better record this year expectations for next year will be sky high!
Meanwhile I am still stoked for this year. I am like a kid anticipating Christmas! Can’t hardly wait!
Sorry, but I see no pressing need to go out and snatch players off the waiver wire or to draft any in the future unless you see a player who is a can’t miss All Pro.
We are down two guards but we have two capable players who are set to replace them so what is the dire need.
We would be better served drafting a nasty DL or WR in the first round next year and then a safety in the second or third round.
WR receiver first. Edge rusher second. Then some offensive line men. GO BUCS
Bad news, no freaking doubt about it. The secrecy leads me to believe it’s not good at all. Sweezy’s health since the day he was signed does not bode well either. Wish Bucs could get a break at the guard position!
I don’t see any dire needs at this time. I meant to suggest we may be needing to find more backups this year.
I do see us needing to build a high quality offensive line so that we can realistically become strong Super Bowl contenders for several years not just for a one time run. Our defense may peak earlier than our offense otherwise. That is what happened when we got our only Super Bowl win. (That is how I think about in retrospect, anyway.)
I would hope that we can target another WR in for our first pick in next year’s draft. It is conceivable to me that we could find ourselves targeting an offensive lineman instead. I so hope that Smith is the answer at Left Tackle. As usual time will tell.
My golly, we haven’t even finished the 2016 exhibition games and we’re already looking to the 2017 Draft. Even Mel Kiper is hibernating right now.
So true scubog, but for some strange reason I felt compelled to reply to the post saying we needed offensive lineman.
Gary, there isn’t a coach or organization that likes to reveal how injured their players are or the severity of their injury. The only reason they do is because the NFL forces them to and they only do it then because of the gambling angle on the games.
Your so naïve.
So true. The gamblers, bookies, odds setters, and fantasy kooks (gambling) all need injury updates. What a hypocrite the commish is!
It’s Garv. I understand why there is so much secrecy but that does not mean I’m not concerned about starting the season with with starting guards not active. And if YOU’RE going to result in name calling? Spell check before I end up calling you stupid. Not that I would resort to such foolishness.
Deciding not to take the risk on La’el Collins last year is still haunting this team. Overpaid Sweezey now we have Evan, who wasnt very good at C, serving as guard smh. Passed on V.Bell to select Aguayo whose numbers in college outside of 40 left a lot to be desired. Licht has missed players this team needs by selecting players that are luxuries this franchise can’t afford. Klay the “KR specialist” last year, Iosefo “the FB we never saw suit up” and Aguayo this year should never take precedent over an OL with a 1st round grade or a S with the late 1st round grade when both players represent great need. Stop with the smartest man in the room theory and go with the draft board Licht!
Let me tell you guys…I don’t know how many of you have been at practice. I’ve been to four of them now and Aguayo looks like crap. Obviously you have seen him look like crap on TV in the games, well, it is even worse in person. If you want to talk about a move that will haunt us…..I hate to even be talking about this but Connor Barth would have done just fine with his 82% and 50+ yarders and we could’ve had another OL, DL, WR, S…..you name it and we could’ve had an even more bolstered team. As with all picks time will tell as another poster just mentioned and let’s hope this kid can turn it around. I’m hoping he just has some jitters being in the big time, however, I hate the way he kicks. Each kick looks like it will barely make it. Either he is extremely dialed in and accurate with his distance or he has none. The Browns kicker drilled every kick in practice. He missed one or two but every kick looked like a missile while Aguayo’s had soft air under them and were either wide left or right with just barely enough distance. The only thing we can give him in practice is the narrow practice goal posts. I think they should have him use regulation so he can dial in his craft to what the real freakin size is, not “well, that one would be good on real posts” that isn’t good for the psyche. It’s looked the same in every practice too.
Losing Marpet sucks but Smith as decent at guard. If we have another injury or two on that line, things could turn to shit real quick. Not going to argue or talk about drafts in pre-season, but it starts up front on offense and defense. We are not overly deep at OL and to say we need WR first? Maybe maybe not. Season hasn’t even started and haven’t seen what our back up WR’s do so how can you say now that’s biggest need? Don’t see it.
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