Carl Nicks Returning?March 24th, 2014
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.
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.