Looking For Road GradersApril 17th, 2014
Joe has typed several times over the past few weeks that he’s not all that enamored with the offensive line of the Bucs. Anthony Collins is a nice pickup and is a fine pass blocker, but Collins has never started eight games in a season much less 16. That is a red flag to Joe.
No one outside of Jason Licht, Lovie Smith and team doctors have any idea what is going on with left guard Carl Nicks (inside baseball: the reason no media member has spoken to Nicks in nine months or so is that the team must make him available for an interview, or Nicks must agree to talk outside of One Buc Palace, which he hasn’t. Reporters can’t just drive a truck through the locker room door at One Buc Palace, hop out and ambush Nicks with a microphone).
Right guard reportedly is scary and no, while Joe’s favorite player to deal with may be Demar Dotson at right tackle, he’s not making Joe forget Dan Dierdorf any time soon.
Evan Silva, the fine NFL analyst at Rotoworld.com, isn’t as pessimistic about the Bucs’ offensive line, but he is not holding his breath on the return of Nicks and deemed right guard “a concern.” Thus, Silva says, expect the Bucs to address drafting a guard or two next month.
Overhauling their front five under new GM Jason Licht, the Bucs cut LT Donald Penn and RG Davin Joseph, before trading C/G Jeremy Zuttah to Baltimore. Tampa Bay signed C Evan Dietrich-Smith and LT Anthony Collins, but now has question marks at both guard positions. The Bucs plan to play power football up front and will pursue maulers to pave lanes for Doug Martin.
Joe knows Lovie wants to run the ball and Joe has heard a few players, Vincent Jackson and Josh McCown included, call Jeff Tedford’s offense “balance.” But the men the Bucs currently have up front are primarily pass blockers, not run blockers.
So Silva’s analysis makes sense in that Lovie will be looking for road graders at guard.