Buccaneers right tackle Demar Dotson will be the 2013 training camp as the starter for the first time in his career. Despite being No. 1 on the depth chart, Dotson isn't taking anything for granted. The former Southern Miss product also thinks the Bucs can get to the postseason in 2013.
Buccaneers offensive tackle Demar Dotson’s unconventional rise from college basketball player to making an NFL team is a great story in itself. But Dotson didn’t just stop with making a football team; he will now enter the 2013 training camp expecting to be a 16-game starter.
Dotson took over for Jeremy Trueblood early in the season last year and never left the football field. The former undrafted free agent admitted the struggle of an NFL season caught him by surprise.
“I have never played 16 games (in a season),” Dotson said. “It was hard because my first three years, I couldn’t understand what those guys were going through. And the grind of the game … then when I got myself put in that situation I found out how tough it really was.
“Going into Week 14 or Week 15, you body is tired, it almost wants to give up. But you just have to keep grinding and pushing and pushing. The game of football is like life. You can’t just walk away from a little adversity.”
The Buccaneers made a trade for former Bears first-rounder Gabe Carimi this spring in hopes of adding depth and maybe even competing with Dotson for starting right tackle duties. Dotson understands the business of the NFL, but isn’t worried about the competition.
“I am going in here to compete,” Dotson said. “It isn’t about assumptions (of being a starter). It is about coming out here every day and just working. So when camp starts, whatever I am asked to do, I will just do it. It doesn’t matter what it is. Whatever I am asked to, I am coming out here to work.
“(Even) if they had drafted a guy, I was going to still work the same way. It is good that they didn’t, but my work (ethic) doesn’t change. My outlook doesn’t change. The way I come to work everyday doesn’t change. If wouldn’t have mattered if they brought a 10-year veteran or drafted a first-round guy, I am a guy that is going to keep working.”
The Mississippi native knows although he has been in the league since 2009, there are still aspects of his game he needs to work on this training camp.
“I want to improve on my overall game,” Dotson said. “ I want to improve on my run game (blocking) staying low, being more physical at contact. That is some things I really need to work on in training camp. Staying low and improving in the run game.”
Dotson liked what he saw in OTAs (organized team activities) and mini-camp from his offensive teammates, especially from his quarterback.
“It is unbelievable, the sky is the limit,” Dotson said. “Josh Freeman is looking great. I think he is going to have an awesome year this year. This guys has the toughest position on the whole football team. He is going to get the most criticism, and when things are going good, he is going to get the most praise. This guy is out here working hard and looking good. He can’t worry about criticism because I haven’t seen one fan win a football game. And as long as I keep playing, and even when I am done, a fan probably will never win a football game. We see what he is doing, we see how hard he is working and we see how good he looks, and that is all that matters.”
Dotson also thinks the offensive line can be special in 2013.
“First we have to get everybody back, healthy and solid,” Dotson said. “We get these two Pro Bowlers (Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph) back, you know… this line is going to probably be one of the best in the NFL. But first we have to get these guys out there. Because without them not out there, it is just all talk.”
While nationally not many are picking the Buccaneers to do much, Dotson knows there is just one goal for this football team.
“To get into the dance,” Dotson said. “Get into the playoffs. That is my hope and what I believe this team can do. And if we get into the dance, we will take our chances and go from there. That is what I am looking forward to doing.”
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