Entering the Bucs Week 12 matchup against the Colts, one huge question mark loomed over the offensive line. With left guard Ali Marpet out, backup Aaron Stinnie would have to square off against Pro Bowler DeForest Buckner. On paper, it looked like a win for the Colts. So imagine the trepidation when Stinnie went down with a knee injury 10 plays into the game. The loss thrust Nick Leverett into the first regular season action of his career.
In the end, Leverett held his own over 57 snaps. There were some ugly reps, especially in pass protection. He got beat by Buckner for a sack and surrendered four pressures. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 32.3 overall, and 7.8 in pass protection (out of 100). But I take their grades with a grain of salt. Leverett had a couple great reps, and looked good overall in the run game.
Bucs LT Nick Leverett – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I mean, we love Nick (Leverett),” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said. “Nick won our hearts in training camp. He is a battler. I think we played six minutes and lost four starters in this game. I said, ‘Okay, this is going to be a long one’. Devin (White) did come back, but he isn’t Devin, but he came back. To lose those guys, hats off. Nick will get a game ball, that’s for sure.”
The hope is that Leverett won’t have to provide an encore performance next week. The severity of the injury to Stinnie is unknown, but Marpet should be back soon. The Bucs star guard was listed as doubtful against the Colts, and should have good chance to play against Atlanta this Sunday. But if Stinnie is out, Leverett will become the top backup guard on either side.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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