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    • michael89156

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      Weapons in place, Bucs’ offensive line could be keyweapons_zpsxxlfc3ju.jpg Protecting quarterback Jameis Winston will be the priority of the Bucs defensive line.FILE, JASON BEHNKEN/STAFF By Roy Cummings | Tribune Staff Published: September 9, 2015  TAMPA — It’s not a matter of weaponry. Even without wide receiver Mike Evans, whose sore hamstring kept him out of practice again Wednesday, the Buccaneers still have enough ammunition to attack any foe.It’s about the fortification, that five-man bulwark the Bucs built to protect their weapons and keep foes from successfully laying siege to their rookie trigger pin, quarterback Jameis Winston. That’s the concern for the Bucs as their season opener Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium draws ever closer.Will the Bucs offensive line hold up? With two rookie starters, including one at left tackle, can anyone even expect it to hold up? If the preseason was any indication, the answer is an emphatic no.During the preseason, the Bucs surrendered 14 sacks, tied for third-most in the 32-team league, and gained an average of only 3.4 yards per rushing attempt, 20th in the league. But offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is quick to point out he does not game-plan for preseason opponents and has some secret weapons he now plans to employ that should make the Bucs’ line less penetrable.“There are different things you can do to help your protection or help any guy that’s struggling,” Koetter said. “We haven’t taken them to a game yet, but we have been practicing them. And yeah, now is the time to break that stuff out.”The Bucs aren’t likely to break out anything Dick LeBeau, the Titans’ 78-year-old defensive guru, hasn’t seen before. But it’s not like they need some new-fangled tactic to keep Tennessee from destroying their running or passing attack.Sound execution will do.“We always have rules in place for everything that might come,” center Evan Smith said. “It’s not a matter of trickery or anything like that. It comes down to preparation and knowing what’s coming, knowing those rules and executing them when they do throw stuff at you.”Not all of those rules pertain to the offensive line. Winston has a few of his own.Some defensive alignments will require him to shorten the depth of his drop, hasten the pace of his delivery and get the ball out of his hand quicker. Some will require Winston to get the Bucs out of a play that seems destined to fail and into one with a greater chance of success.“One of his strengths is the way he sees the field,” Koetter said of Winton, who has been widely praised for having a high football IQ. “Seeing it, knowing it’s coming and then making the right play with the football, that’s going to be part of it, how it all plays out.”The running backs, tight ends and receivers will play a part, as well, but the bulk of the responsibility for protecting the passer and creating room for the running backs will fall on the line, which should be at or near full strength Sunday.Though starting right tackle Demar Dotson will miss at least the first eight games of the season with a knee injury, rookie left tackle Donovan Smith returned to practice and declared himself “good to go” after missing a week of workouts with an ankle sprain. He’ll line up alongside veteran left guard Logan Mankins, with Smith at center, rookie Ali Marpet at right guard and eight-year veteran Gosder Cherilus at right tackle.It’s not a group that immediately strikes fear into an opponent, but Koetter has faith in their abilities.“When you’re looking at it from a coaching standpoint, it’s like they’re your kids,” he said. “And your kid may not be the starting quarterback or the first chair on the tuba, but he’s still your kid. So I think all five are going to the Pro Bowl.“And however it shakes out, it shakes out. It doesn’t do you any good as a coach to lament over what we do or don’t have. A coach’s job is to take the guys we’ve got at every position and figure out how to give us a chance to win on Sunday.”rcummings@tampatrib.comTwitter: @RCummingsTBOBucs visiting with former Falcons C HawleyRick Stroud, Times Staff WriterWednesday, September 9, 2015 hawley_zpskiwmhqqi.jpgFormer Falcons C Joe Hawley is visiting the Bucs today and watched Wednesday's practice.Hawley started the first four games for the Atlanta Falcons in 2014 until suffering a season-ending knee injurry. He played under Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who held the same job for Atlanta.Hawley still had been dealing with some knee issues when he was released by the Falcons Monday to make room for Geno Gradkowski, who was claimed off waivers from the Denver Broncos.A 2010 fourth-round draft pick out of UNLV, Hawley tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee at Minnesota last season.The Bucs currently have three centers on their roster.

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    • Anonymous

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      He’d be an upgrade over Josh Allen. I’d like to hang on to Jeremiah Warren though. Haley would also pretty much know the system as well.

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    • Anonymous

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      LOL; not only are we becoming “Bears South” on D, with the new the Koetter Konnection this year, we’ll be the “Florida Falcons” soon… ;D Hey, if any of these Cs can play G, and most can, why not?

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    • Anonymous

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      I actually enjoyed reading this article from Ol’ Roy

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    • billym

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      Sounds like they are not set on the center position. Still looking.

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    • Anonymous

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      Evans Smith will be off this team by next year. As he should, he has been terrible for us.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 2697

      Evans Smith will be off this team by next year. As he should, he has been terrible for us.

      yep... Erectile Dysfunctional Smith sucks...

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 293

      Sounds like they are not set on the center position. Still looking.

      at least they are addressing it early with enough time left before the season star…… oh wait

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    • billym

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      Post count: 3348

      Sounds like they are not set on the center position. Still looking.

      at least they are addressing it early with enough time left before the season star...... oh wait

      Looking for depth is my guess. Never a bad time for that.

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