Carl Nicks Returning?

March 24th, 2014
carl nicks 0107

Is the trade of Jeremy Zuttah a sign that Carl Nicks is healthy, or is that just blind hope?

Joe’s a big Bobby Knight guy. Joe just loves him. Joe remembers those incredible Indiana basketball teams with suffocating defenses.

(An annoying thing about basketball is all the mindless timeouts in the final minute of a game. What is a wonderful game comes screeching to a halt with a timeout every 10 seconds at best.)

Joe flashes back to the 1987 title game between Syracuse and Indiana. In the final 24 seconds, Indiana rebounded a missed Syracuse free throw and needed to go the length of the court to tie or win. No timeout called. Asked later about that, Knight responded, in so many words, why call a timeout? We’ve practiced this all year.

Beautiful!

So, this Knight quote comes to mind when thinking of the Bucs’ offensive line:

“When I first started coaching, one of the worst things that I think I heard was ‘It will be O.K.’ I would wonder, How the hell is it going to be O.K.? The worst word in the English language is ‘hope.’”

Joe totally agrees. Hope is a dirty four-letter word. It’s often based on a false premise, a dream, blind faith. And as Joe pointed out, there’s a whole lotta hope going on with the Bucs and their offensive line.

The Bucs hope Anthony Collins can play a full season at left tackle. The Bucs hope Demar Dotson can continue to improve. The Bucs hope guard Carl Nicks can return.

But Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com believes the Bucs are relying on just a little more than hope when it comes to Nicks. He believes the Bucs are pretty confident Nicks is healing strong and there is evidence he can return.

Nicks missed all but two games of last season after dealing with a toe injury and a MRSA infection. Zuttah spent last year playing center, but also has experience at guard. The Bucs previously addressed their center position by signing free agent Evan Dietrich-Smith. The fact the Bucs were willing to trade Zuttah shows they’re confident Nicks will be back for the 2014 season.

In short, Yasinskas believes if the Bucs weren’t confident Nicks would return, then they’d already have his replacement acquired. That’s a reasonable reading of recent events.

Joe knows what he is about to type won’t be popular. Of course Joe wants Johnny Football, but if he is off the board, Joe would not be shocked at all if the Bucs drafted an offensive tackle, say, Jake Matthews.

It’s not a sexy pick, but it’s a smart pick to have a guy who could, for the next 10 years, anchor your line.

40 Responses to “Carl Nicks Returning?”

  1. Orca Says:

    Can Matthews play guard? Wouldn’t surprise me to see them plug him in at RG, unless they doubled up on the O-line and took a OG in round 2.

  2. snook Says:

    I agree with Pat.

    And Matthews wouldn’t go to G. Dotson would.

  3. Architek Says:

    This is a fairly balanced and steady report – nothing negative or pessimistic! I really like what the Bucs are doing and they deemed the OLine as overpaid on a multiple years losing franchise.

    My point is let them decide and have say so over their fates, Lovie is a proven winner and let’s support him as he reshape a this roster!

  4. Adamant Says:

    Hmmm…how does this help exactly? Does Jake Matthews play guard?

  5. Joe Says:

    Orca:

    Joe sees where you are going, but no team is going to draft a guy at No. 7 to play guard. However, Anthony Collins has played guard.

  6. Joe Says:

    Adamant:

    Not sure why everyone believes Demar Dotson is some Pro Bowl player. He’s good on pass blocking; not very good on run blocking.

    Oh, and Collins has often played right tackle.

  7. Adamant Says:

    Already named Collins as starting LT. Demar is not ideal as a guard due to high stance.

  8. Adamant Says:

    If Matthews replaces Dotson, that definitely appears to be an upgrade, but does nothing to help Guard situation

  9. Mike10 Says:

    The next ten years? Lol
    Na more like we will have him thru his rookie contract, re sign, then wait for him to have a single down season (injury or not), and don’t even try to restructure his contract bc that same “unexciting position” is expendable at that cost.

    No, sorry, if Dom showed us anything it’s that u can build a line off waivers and later rounds. U gotta get the splash players this high in the draft that are too expensive to acquire thru FA, bc hopefully u won’t be picking this high again. We have too many other positions of need to make a much needed franchise altering choice of offensive line. We don’t even have a franchise QB to protect.

  10. Mike10 Says:

    Mind you, Davin was around 6 years!..

  11. tmaxcon Says:

    it does not appear that lovie and licht run the bucs like a top secret cia op like schiano did. just curious why the media has not taken the time to interview Nicks and get his take on the progress of his foot / health in general. I understand the need for some level of secrecy for the draft etc… Does Nicks work out in Tampa year round??? It’s been reported he is working out daily at the facility daily so let’s get an interview of nicks directly. if i have missed an interview with him where is it at ???

  12. Quick66 Says:

    The Bucs will take an O-lineman or two in the draft. I believe they will try to trade down and recoup some picks.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Sammy @ 7……or we will take Mack if he is there or trade down (deal depending)…..I don’t think we will go Oline that high….would be surprised with a 2nd or 3rd round Oline pick.

  14. Joe Says:

    it does not appear that lovie and licht run the bucs like a top secret cia op like schiano did. just curious why the media has not taken the time to interview Nicks and get his take on the progress of his foot / health in general.

    The Bucs have to make him available for an interview first, which the team has not done. Or Nicks has to make himself available for an interview away from One Buc Palace, which he has not done.

  15. Kalind Says:

    Not sure how Mathews helps Joe. Would he start? Would he play..(gulp) guard? (He is WAYYYYYY too small for that) would he displace the shiny new LT? Or the very solid Dotson? And have Dotson ride pine? I can’t imagine either of those things happening. Tackle isn’t a hole. GUARD is a hole. Mathews doesn’t help that at all. Mathews is trade bait, that’s it.

  16. Macabee Says:

    We need a road grader/mauler with a bad attitude at right guard. That would be Gabe Jackson /Miss State in the 2nd round. Another Carl Nicks with two good big toes. Gabe stands 6-4 and weighs 340lbs depending upon whether he’s standing upwind or downwind! Lol.

  17. Kalind Says:

    They paid Collins A TON there is no way they drop Zuttah, who was CHEAPER in order to plug a more expensive converted tackle in there. Come on Joe…. You know that doesn’t calculate.

  18. BigMacAttack Says:

    The Bucs have to make him available for an interview first, which the team has not done. Or Nicks has to make himself available for an interview away from One Buc Palace, which he has not done.
    ———————–
    They probably just don’t want to step on any toes.

  19. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    Here is a news flash, If Johnny Football is on the board, the Bucs are still going O-line. They will take the solid Offensive line player over the questionable QB.

  20. Mort Says:

    Kalimdor: Zuttah is already gone. Traded to the Ravens yesterday for a 2015 5th round pick. So his salary or position is entirely irrelevant moving forward.

  21. mike n Says:

    I would be surpised to see Nicks play 10 more games the rest of his life.

  22. Macabee Says:

    Gabe Jackson – Player Lowdown

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1700848/gabe-jackson

  23. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    “Here is a news flash, If Johnny Football is on the board, the Bucs are still going O-line. They will take the solid Offensive line player over the questionable QB.”

    If this happens, it will be the funniest day in JBF history.

  24. Kalind Says:

    Mort: it is perfectly relevant insofar as the teams PLANNING goes. These moves are not done in a vacuum. They had to know what their plan at guard was. What I am saying is that they wouldn’t pay Collins all of that money to replace a guy they traded because he (Zuttah) cost too much. And then replace Collins with a guy that MIGHT be there at 7. That’s plain ridiculous thinking.

    Collins is getting TACKLE money. Not Guard money. End of story. Collins will play left tackle next year. This idea that they would move him inside in favor of Mathews just doesn’t wash.

  25. passthebuc Says:

    @Joe.
    The worst thing for you would be for the Buc’s to get Johnny. Your entire column for the next 3 years would be 100 percent Johnny. You would lose all your readers, go into a depression, start trading football cards for a living, get swindled in a trading card deal, ostracized from football circles, take up soccer reporting, go to South America for a game, get kidnapped, end up for ransom in the Amazon rain forest.
    Don’t end up kidnapped, get direct TV and don’t draft Johnny

  26. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    @kalind

    by your formula, the bucs had 3 to 4 guys making left tackle money.

  27. bigpoppabuc Says:

    My hunch is that the they’ll let him get healthy, then try and trade him. From what I’ve seen Tedford will be looking for his O-linemen (especially his guards) to be on the more athletic side to be able to move and block in open space. Nicks is more of a bulldozer.

  28. JWBucs Says:

    Matthews makes perfect sense. You can plug him in right away at RT. In a year or two flip him with Collins and put Dotson back at swing tackle where he belongs. He gets bullrushed to much for my taste.

  29. Kalind Says:

    Had. Yes they did. Now they have 1.

  30. zam Says:

    it’s funny how they’ll talk about having a center by signing Dietrich-Smith, in the same breath as not having their guard in Nicks last year.

    What if Dietrich-Smith gets injured? I can’t even name a guy to back up any of the starters if they’re injured, and with Nicks, I can’t even say he’s the starter.

    They’re going to have to get a ton of blue-chip o-line before the season starts.

  31. Kalind Says:

    My ‘math’ doesn’t figure in here. They’re not moving Collins. And if you really think about it, you know I’m right. We may want them to do X, but they aren’t that team. They don’t go off the wall. They plod along doing what they say they’ll do. They said Collins is the LT. He’s the LT. He is not going to be the RG.

    Not to mention the elephant in the room. Is Mathews an upgrade at LT? Over Collins? Is Collins an upgrade over Nicks/Meredith at OG? I doubt it on both counts.

  32. William Says:

    I like getting Mathews as security for our line. But you know just because his bloodline has shown durability it doesn’t guarantee the same outcome for Jake.

    But then again we can HOPE so…

  33. Martinii Says:

    A March 10th NFL.COM Article states that Texas AM coach says Mathews can play all 5 OL positions. Of course Robinson can play OG and Gabe Jackson May be the best O-lineman in the draft. I believe Carl will play, but “Sexy” is an inexpensive ten year G/T that you build your team around. Plenty of WR to pick from.

  34. JWBucs Says:

    Matthews is a better tackle prospect than Fisher or Jockel last year. He’s projected as an elite LT. He can play either tackle position and some center in a pinch.

  35. Buc1987 Says:

    The_Buc_Realist Says:

    “Here is a news flash, If Johnny Football is on the board, the Bucs are still going O-line. They will take the solid Offensive line player over the questionable QB.”

    Damn your starting to drive me nuts. Why is that I keep agreeing with you daily? Are people going to start calling me an idiot too? Oh wait too late that already happens.lol

  36. Eric Says:

    Kind of like Joe was hoping Penn would play better this year oh I’m sorry the new staff was watching the same game film as the fans not the one Joe was watching!

  37. Joe Says:

    Passthebuc:

    “The worst thing for you would be for the Buc’s to get Johnny. Your entire column for the next 3 years would be 100 percent Johnny. You would lose all your readers, go into a depression, start trading football cards for a living, get swindled in a trading card deal, ostracized from football circles, take up soccer reporting, go to South America for a game, get kidnapped, end up for ransom in the Amazon rain forest.
    Don’t end up kidnapped, get direct TV and don’t draft Johnny”

    BEAUTIFUL!

  38. teacherman Says:

    Robinson, the OT from Auburn is a physical beast. Auburn led the NCAA in rushing because of him!

    His body is unlike any tackle I have ever seen.

    First round picks are CHEAP these days.

    Even if we draft a tackle with our first pick, it would still be a cheap option as a RT.

    So drafting an OT with our first pick could be great. 5 year, 20 million contract.

    Thats not so bad.

    Then, draft a guard in the second. Again, not a bad pick.

    Then, we draft another OG/C hybrid in the third.

    Boom. We have youth and depth on the O-line.

    Its not sexy, but its smart.

    And we keep Dotson as security at tackle.

  39. SSG Mike Says:

    If he isn’t completely healthy and in great shape by training camp he needs to be CUT. Cut our losses on this great talent who has failed to be able to stay healthy. Can’t remember the last time he was on the field of play during a regular season game?

  40. Cody Says:

    Teacher Man I agree…

    I wouldn’t be mad at all if we doubled up on Offensive Lineman; I love Smash Mouth football…With that said, our WR position needs depth more than any other position, one could argue…(especially after recent Mike Williams events)…MaN!, It sucks we only have 5 picks…THaNKs A LoT MarK!…

 
 

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