Tie To Tedford Coming Loose

March 1st, 2014

The messiest Bucs unit is their highly-paid and underperforming offensive line. That combination is a recipe for fast change, especially with a new regime roaming the halls of One Buc Palace.

So where do you start fixing?

That’s a great question, but the better one is, when? Immediately, is the only answer. The Bucs at the very least need a decent left guard and better depth in a hurry.

Joe’s brought up the name of Brian de la Puente before. Drew Brees’ center is set to become a free agent, and the Saints have salary cap issues. Saints beat writer Larry Holder, of NOLA.com, is convinced the Saints will lose their center on the open market.

STARTERS: Brian de la Puente – The Saints’ starting center the past three seasons is one of the best free-agent options in the league behind Cleveland’s Alex Mack. This tells me the Saints will likely have to fork over a decent chunk of change to satisfy de la Puente, who earned a little more than $2 million in 2013.

I’ve written repeatedly how the Saints have a penchant for being thrifty at center as Jeff Faine and Jonathan Goodwin both found more lucrative contracts elsewhere when they hit free agency. I could easily see the same happening to de la Puente, as there will be a market for him.

Joe’s researched de la Puente via various sources. And Joe can confidently say de la Puente is very close to his former “Cal” offensive coordinator, some guy named Jeff Tedford. (Pro Bowler Alex Mack (referenced above) also is a Cal guy.)

Replacing Jeremy Zuttah at center would free up Zuttah to compete for a starting left guard spot, a position he’s played effectively before, and places him the role of super sixth man. Joe would retain Zuttah. The Bucs need a versatile, durable guy like him given the Carl Nicks situation. (Nicks is unlikely to be cut because he has so much guaranteed cash coming his way.)

In 2008, Zuttah played extremely well at right guard for Davin Joseph, and he’s since proven to be an average starting center.  In college, he was a right tackle and can play there in a pinch. With the Bucs, Zuttah made his rookie splash learning Jon Gruden’s complex playbook in a matter of weeks — at all o-line positions. Joseph, by comparison, has said it took him a full year to understand Gruden’s offense at only the right guard position.

Joe thinks the Bucs are likely to make a move on de la Puente, who is 28 years old but has little NFL mileage on his legs (28 starts), assuming the “value” Jason Licht speaks of is there.

27 Responses to “Tie To Tedford Coming Loose”

  1. Snook Says:

    Again… Pass.

    If he leaves New Orleans, his replacement will be better. That’s how it works on good teams.

    If we sign him, he’ll be overpriced garbage…. ala Carl Nicks.

  2. stevek (MGM) Says:

    Snook,

    Nothing short of a tragedy happened to Nicks.

    I feel bad for him and our organization.

    If anything, we should take a swipe at this guy, if the price is right.

  3. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    Zuttah and Dotson is all that I would keep, Trade the rest for extremely low draft picks “if” possible.

  4. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Wait, isn’t Nicks the RG? I would think THAT would be the most important. Joseph and Penn had bad years, but at least they get on the field. We have no idea if Nicks can even play, and RT is in horrible shape.

  5. SAMCRO Says:

    Unless Joe can guarantee de la Puente will be eating pineapple after the season, I say we raise the bar a little higher first. ..de la Puente can be plan B. There may only be two or three spots available. Unless they cut Joseph, Penn, Zuttah, or Dotson those guys plus Nicks will remain on the team regardless of whether they remain starters.

  6. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    The_Buc_Realist, Penn is worth at least a 2nd.

    Always healthy and has been considered good for years.

    Every player has a bad year, and last year was Penns. It doesn’t mean he is totally bad now.

  7. Orca Says:

    Penn is worth a 2nd? Ha ha ha… If we were interested in trading him, we’d be lucky to get a 4th rounder. That’s not a reflection on Penn, it just happens to be a reality of the trade market. Only superstar players under 30 get good trade value. If you’re an average starter over 30, nobody’s parting with a premium draft pick.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We should keep Penn, Zuttah & Josepn if they cooperate with restructured(lower) deals. Pick up a Center…..and draft a LT….that should help & give us depth…..Larson & Meredith are the casualties….

  9. Espo Says:

    3rd times a charm. 3rd time in recent years we sign a leftover Saints OL maybe this time it’ll work.

  10. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    BuccaneerBonzai

    Penn has been Incoinsistent the last 3 years. each year gets worst. If Licht a second round pick for Penn, Lovie and Licht would drive Penn to the airport that same day. 3rd round for Penn, and I would try to get a low 4th for Clayborn.

  11. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    @tampabaybucfan

    sooooo, you are saying the bucs should have a bad O-line at a low price???

  12. PRBucFan Says:

    Nicks will be back, calling it here first.

  13. Capt. Tim Says:

    Penn would rate a 4th, possibly 3rd round pick.
    He shouldn’t be forced to end his career on a rebuilding team.
    It amazes me. People that claim to be fans talk trash about this guy. It’s sickening. He is an above average LT. The hardest position on the line. He has NEVER miss a game. He is one of the few guys to stand up for teammates and be the hardboard guy on the Line. If you look at his career- he has been a huge bargain! And he didn’t cost us a Number one pick, even though he outplayed and outlasted a great many LT who were. Yet underachievers here constantly insult the Guy, who for many years was our ONLY player of Value.
    You aren’t fans, if you trash talk this guy. I hope your carter at McDonalds ends as classlessly.
    But, we need to Get a young LT, To grow with our young QB

    Zuttah has proven below average at LG and Center. He was decent at RG, and very valuable as a reserve.

    Joseph seems to have lost a lot. He is been a good Buc player, but I think his run is over.

    It would be great if Nicks could play again. I don’t think he will. He has a big, favorable contract. Think he has mentally retired. Don’t think we will see much more of him.

    Dotson played fairly well last year. Still has the annoying habit of playing good for a whole game- yet giving up a matador block on a play- which sorta detracts from the rest of his good work.
    But he is improving!

    Pretty we’ll think we need 2 guards and a center. Also need a stop gap at LT, until we draft one in the first round next year.

    Not much to work with

  14. Kevin Says:

    Penn, Zuttah, and Joseph will all three come back strong. I have more confidence in Joseph and Zuttah. EVERYONE was raving on how good our line would be with Joseph….THE MAN WAS HURT LAST SEASON!!! He does need to re-structure but should still have a shot at being the starter. Zuttah is a keeper all day, and Penn I think we should keep but we do need to add some talent on the o-line. Nicks is done….DONE!!!!!!!!!!

  15. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @Joe

    There was article warning us all, about the short comings our offensive line was facing last summer.

    “In the last 4 drafts (30 picks), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not drafted a single offensive lineman. In Mark Dominik’s tenure as a GM (36 draft picks), he has drafted one. And there’s a reason for that: Dominik doesn’t think he can evaluate college OL talent. Here’s Dominik talking about his OL strategy last November (h/t to JoeBucsFan.com).

    “here are Dominik’s words, transcribed:

    In my 30 draft picks I’ve had since being GM, I’ve only drafted one offensive lineman, but I’ve always tried to go find one off the waiver wire. We claimed (Cody) Wallace, we claimed (Ted) Larson. You try to work with some of the young guys. We’ve worked with (Demar) Dotson, who was a college free agent, and (Jamon) Meredith was a guy we were watching who we signed last year.

    We always have our eye on the offensive line, but personally I like them to develop a little bit sometimes in this game, and then get a little more information, because college games are a lot more spread offense, and it’s a little bit harder to evaluate offensive linemen.

    As currently constructed, the Bucs’ OL is good. Donald Penn is a stud, and with Carl Nicks next to him, Tampa has one of the more impressive LT-LG combos in the league. However, Penn, Jeremy Zuttah, and Davin Joseph were all players that Dominik inherited.

    Dominik is building his OL through waiver wire pickups, UDFA signings, trades, and overpriced free agents. Meanwhile, Penn, Nicks, and Joseph will all be 30 years old by the end of the season. It may take a few years, but if the Bucs’ strategy is to completely ignore offensive line talent in the draft, it’s only a matter of time before the Bucs’ OL is terrible.

    (Great Read)

    Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sbnation/eagles/SBNation_20130715_OL_age_and_the_NFL__2013_edition.html#Sjt03IjbvJylWxh9.99

  16. You Go Joe Says:

    The idea of trading penn and other o line men is straight up stupid and deserves to be belittled. You mentioned a declining LT for 3 years and somehow we are supposed to get a 2nd, 3rd or 4th pick LOL not much of a realist. We won’t even get a bag of skittles for these overpaid linemen, yeah overpaid indeed and yet you think they are tradeable.

    Center can stay or be upgraded, zittah is a good man and filled in his role as a center/guard pretty good. We can keep him for depth. We still need a guards, and I have no idea who can help out for that. Maybe a trade can happen LOL

  17. MR.T Says:

    If the Bucs want to free up more salary cap room for free agency purposes then they have to make some moves soon regarding restructuring contracts and cutting/trading players. It will be interesting to see what they do this coming week.

  18. Kramden Says:

    With the need to retain Nicks, maybe he’ll be healthy enough to at least use as a goal line fullback… “The Human Armoire leads Doug Martin up the gut.”

  19. White Tiger Says:

    It’s really hard for me to view the offensive line using last year as a measuring stick. You tell me what offensive line strategy we employed, I’ll tell you if I agree with your assessment…for instance, did we run a man-power line set, or did we run a zone blocking scheme?

    You have to remember that, besides Carl Nicks, the line was assembled for a man-power scheme – they were then forced to run a zone scheme, and they didn’t find out in enough time toshed the weight…then after they finally lost the weight…they were considered “light” for whatever abberation Schiano had them trying run…and Nicks best years in NOLA were playing in a zone-blocking scheme (and BEFORE a chronic turf toe issue has pretty much crippled him).

    Here’s the kicker, I think Tedford is a zone-blocking guy…and that scheme values lighter, more mobile linemen…and remember, they just gained weight for Schiano’s crap system. Only difference is, they’ve had time to adjust.

    Regardless, the story has merit, because A) Nicks is toast and B) you cannot often get starting o-linemen that fit your scheme in FA – so if de la Puente is available – he’ll be an upgrade for the Bucs.

  20. owlykat Says:

    Larsen needs to be cut period. He was gosh awful last year at guard or center. I would prefer the Brown’s center who made the Pro Bowl if available. Because the Saint’s QB is so short they spend big money on their guards and center to protect passing lanes for their QB so I would be surprised if they let their center go. Take our best lineman last year and move him to LT this year. He has played there for Penn before and has the athleticism and wingspan to be as good as any rookie LT this year so don’t waste a high draft choice for LT. You can’t get a good trade for Penn but 30 isn’t old for Offensive Linemen and Penn should compete for guard or RT and restructure his contract. Try out Nix at LG before cutting him because of his guaranteed money. Try Joseph at RT keeping in mind he was coming off an injury and well he could rebound. Keep Meredith because he has played well at either guard and should be tried at RT. So all we should need is a value free agent who can backup at Tackle. Zutah could start anywhere on the OL as needed and is valuable.

  21. Joe Says:

    Larsen needs to be cut period.

    Agreed and pretty sure we have seen the last of him. He’s a free agent.

  22. Capt. Tim Says:

    Owlykat- Dotson at LT?
    Lmao
    You mean the guy who struggles against speed rushers?
    You want to move him away from his tackle help, and power rushers, to face a constant stream of Power rushers???
    Lol
    It’s a deal- if you agree to play QB!
    We better sign about 10 QBs! We’ll need them!

  23. Capt. Tim Says:

    “TE help. ”
    Damn phone

  24. Capt. Tim Says:

    “Stream of speed rushers!
    Damn brain!

  25. Brandon Says:

    Capt. Tim Says:
    March 2nd, 2014 at 3:52 am
    Owlykat- Dotson at LT?
    Lmao
    You mean the guy who struggles against speed rushers?
    You want to move him away from his tackle help, and power rushers, to face a constant stream of Power rushers???
    Lol
    It’s a deal- if you agree to play QB!
    We better sign about 10 QBs! We’ll need them!
    _________________

    Dotson does NOT struggle against speed! What in the hell have you been watching? He gets pushed back against power/bull rushes. His skill set is made to order for the left side.

  26. Brandon Says:

    Good teams don’t waste money paying/overpaying for average players, they let the bad teams do that and they draft/sign another average player on the cheap.

  27. Capt.Tim Says:

    Brandon
    No. No

    During the Penn contract negotiations, they threatened to try Dotson at LT. Both line coach and Head coach said it was a failed attempt.
    They line a TE up next to him for a reason. He needs a chip against speed rushers. Fortunately, he rarely sees one on the right side- because that is we’re the big, run stopping DEs play. Teams run to the right.
    He is a good pass blocker for a RT
    That’s a loooong way from being a left tackle

 
 

Leave a Reply

Current ye@r *