Alex Mack Talks About His Old Friends In Tampa

January 27th, 2014

Bucs bound? Center Alex Mack reacts from the Pro Bowl.

Hmm, Browns Pro Bowl center Alex Mack played for Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford at the University of California. And Mack’s offensive line coach George Warhop, the only one he’s played under in the NFL, is now the guy coaching the same position for the Bucs.

That’s a combination that needed to be explored in the Pro Bowl locker room yesterday.

Joe’s superstar team of hula-gazing, pineapple-eating reporters peppered Mack with a few questions on the record. Mack didn’t take much bait. Tell me a little about Jeff Tedford
Alex Mack:  I had a great experience with Coach Tedford in college. He’s a great coach.  I’m happy to see him back in the game at the NFL level.  We always took great pride in having a great offense at Cal.

Joe:  Do you think his offensive philosophy is going to translate well to the pros?
Mack:  Absolutely. He works really hard, and also demands that everyone around him works hard as well.  It will be good to see what he can do.

Joe:  Coach Lovie Smith is a real laid back guy. What is new offensive line  Coach Warhop like?  
Mack:  Hop’s a great coach.  Me and Joe have had him for 5 years in Cleveland.  He’s been a great coach, works real hard, demands a lot out of us, you know, but good things happen.  

Joe:  What techniques does he emphasize?
Mack: You want to make sure you are between the ball carrier and the defender (laughs).  You just block people on the offensive line.  There’s really not so much to talk about.

Joe:  There’s been a lot of fans calling for you to join  the Bucs. You are a free agent. Any interest in coming down to Tampa?
Mack:  You know, we’ll cross that path when we get to it.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

“That path” Mack refers to is the free agency bell ringing in about seven weeks. The 28-year-old has two Pro Bowls under his belt, hasn’t missed a game, and is a big strong presence (for a center) at 6-4, 311 pounds.

Of course, adding an expensive piece like Mack to the Bucs already overpaid offensive line would mean a shakeup is coming.

An option that could be interesting is adding Mack and moving durable veteran Jeremy Zuttah back to guard, where he’s had success in his career and where his current salary, about $4 million per season, is more of a bargain than at center.

55 Responses to “Alex Mack Talks About His Old Friends In Tampa”

  1. Tut Says:

    What’s the likelihood of a Nicks getting an injury settlement and retiring?

  2. flmike...hates Johnny Football Says:

    If he’s not going to be ready and by ready I mean 100% (which he’ll never be) by training camp, probably very good…

  3. LUVMYBUC Says:

    “Joe: There’s been a lot of fans calling for you to join the Bucs. You are a free agent. Any interest in coming down to Tampa?”

    Thanks for asking that question Joe

  4. biggun Says:

    We need the Mack attack…. Let’s go get him! Zuttah to guard… Have my vote on that move.

  5. ROBERT6 Says:

    injury settlement????????

    well he’s been paid for not playing 90% of the time. settled; see ya.

    bring this guy I!

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    That would send Joseph to the bench with a restructured contract……Nicks is uncuttable & likely would stay on the roster regardless of his condition or he would be placed on IR.

  7. voice of reason Says:

    we havent had much luck with high price OL FAs lately

  8. buc4lyfe Says:

    I think we’ve spent more than enough on fee agents for this o line….glad Dominick is gone now we can try something new to Vic fans called drafting offensive linemen…Carl nicks is the reason reason we don’t need another high priced free agent especially at 28 but I like his mentality, just block people in front of you…no more big money FA’s

  9. biff barker Says:

    It’s frustrating as hell to see Ben Grubbs, who replaced Nicks in NOLA, at the Pro Bowl.
    Regardless, there will be changes along the OL and my hope is that we score big at G in the draft.

  10. joseph mamma Says:

    Grubbs isn’t as dominant as Nicks but sure looks like he is more durable. Maybe all those years playing in that dome in Louisiana gave Nicks permanent turf toe. The Saints probably had to know something about his foot.

  11. Slappy Says:

    If he comes here, he’ll need a new number, because the number he’s wearing for the Browns is off-limits here.

  12. Macabee Says:

    Carl Nicks is cuttable, there just isn’t much to gain capwise by doing so. The ball is in Nick’s court as to what he wants to do. The Bucs are going to wait and see if Nicks reports to camp healthy or essentially declares his retirement from the NFL which is what will happen if he can’t play football for a second year.

    Carl is not likely to retire since he has the opportunity to collect on a guaranteed 6mil injury settlement in he is indeed still injured. If Carl declares himself healthy and team doctors agree, then there will be no injury settlement and Carl will have to compete for a roster spot. And the Bucs will be free to cut him if he does not make it.

    If Carl claims that he cannot play due to injury which will effectively end his career in the NFL, the Bucs will bite the bullet, cut Carl after June 1st, pay the June 1st injury settlement (6mil), absorb the dead money (2.357mil) and put 1mil back into 2014 cap space (9.357mil – 8.357mil). They cannot avoid the dead money from the 2012 restructure under any scenario. They will simply delay the remainder (4.714mil) and absorb it under the 2015 cap.

    It doesn’t make any sense to keep Nicks if he cannot play. They would have to pay his 7mil salary (instead of 6mil injury settlement) and then put him on IR in order to get the roster spot back. And if they cut him next year he would still be eligible for the normal injury settlement of 250k. They will cut their losses this year. Carl Nicks is cuttable, it just isn’t cheap!

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Yea….he’s cuttable…but it won’t help us to cut him. I saw somewhere that cutting him (depending on circumstances & timing) could actually cost us more.

  14. Tomcin Says:

    IMO I think the Bucs should let him go & cut there losses, unless he’s completely healed.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Here is something I read elsewhere:

    Cutting Nicks wouldn’t free up just over $2 million, but would rather increase his cap number by just under $4 million. Even with the June 1 designation, then Nicks’ 2014 cap down would still go down to just $8.357 million – freeing up only a million dollars in cap space, and even then, not until two and a half months after free agency begins.

    There is one option available to the Bucs, though: claiming that Nicks’ is fully healthy and able to participate in football practices and games, and is being cut for performance-based reasons. This would allow the Bucs to release Nicks without having to pay any of the $6 million guaranteed against injury

  16. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    At this point with the Bucs, we need players that can perform at camp and practice during the week. They will either cut or fail Nick’s on his physical. We need cohesion on the O-line and D-line

  17. bucfanjeff Says:

    Mack at C, Zuttah at LG, Joseph (restructured) at RG, Penn LT and Dotson RT.

    Not bad.

  18. kgh4life Says:

    Alex Mack is a great football player, however, he’s a center and as one of the top free agents on the market he would most likely command top dollar. I don’t think the bucs have to shell out all that money for a center, a position that doesn’t really make a big impact on the oline like tackles or guards do. The bucs already have a capable center in Zuttah, that money should be used else where.

  19. Macabee Says:


    I agree with everything BucsNation said in their analysis. If you read carefully what you just wrote, the June 1st CBA option allows the Bucs to add 1mil back to 2014 cap space. They simply say that’s late in the FA period. I say that’s likely when the Jared Allens and Julius Peppers are likely to sign as did John Abraham last year.

    Taking the June !st option allows the Bucs to further delay the lump sum payment of dead money. Knowing that you’re going to pay Nicks anyway, would you really pay him 7mil instead 6mil and tie up a draft spot that cannot play or put him on IR and pay normal injury settlement next year? Seriously think about it!

  20. Pewter_Power Says:

    I prefer Jake Matthews at right tackle.

  21. ROBERT6 Says:

    Nicks should not even be in the roster discussion for next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    no matter what the cost…he’s dead weight, not part of the program, probably 400lbs by now and that toe is probably just good enough to get him to camp.

    we need hungry, and that guy is already stuffed!

  22. SAMCRO Says:

    If we could draft either OT Jake Mathews or OT Greg Robinson with our first pick and pickup FA Alex Mack that would help to solidify our line for at least a couple of years to come.

    I agree with Joe that moving Zuttah back over to LG helped Penn the most. If in camp Joseph still shows signs of degradation then we would have at least the option to use Joseph in rotation with a younger player and allow him to manage his body better. That is if he is willing to restructure.

    We also have an intriguing prospect on the roster that has been under development by name of Cody Wallace. It will be interesting to see whether he is ready to take the next step. Whatever happens at least I feel comfortable with our new OL coach and his wisdom to put the best O-line together.

  23. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Macabee

    Its complicated to say the least….I’m just hoping that Nicks’ injury improves at least for him to provide some solid depth to the O-line….none of our options are very good.

    I like the idea of picking up Mack & moving Zuttah to guard while trying to re-structure Joseph & Penn….

  24. OB Says:

    Joe I don’t understand how folks think that Nicks did the toe to himself, it was done here with the trainers and doctors monitoring it. If he can’t play, then they will do something to free up his cap. I think Mack, Hardy, and Allen would do wonders for us plus with a winnable attitude here and no state taxes, it is a bump and a chance for a ring.

    What say you?

  25. Macabee Says:



  26. Martinii Says:

    I read where the Bucs are really screwed on the Nicks contract. If we cut him we will take a huge hit to the cap this year and next. Many thought we could add $6 to $7mil to this years cap, but that is not going to happen. Does anyone know the true story on Nicks.

  27. Martinii Says:

    Disregard my last post. I see where you guys have read the Bucnation article also. I just didn’t quite understand it. Thanks for the info.

  28. Mike J Says:

    If Mack fails his physical, is he placed on the PUP list at full pay??

  29. PRBucFan Says:

    Abraham was a very late signee because no one wanted to offer him what he was asking for.

    I think Allen and Peppers will be picked up much quicker.

  30. Mike J Says:

    *Nicks, sorry; brain aneurysm or sumpin.’

  31. Macabee Says:

    Oh PRBucFan,

    I see you’ve already decided that Allen or Peppers is going to come cheap! I wouldn’t bet on it!

  32. PRBucFan Says:

    No, I haven’t.

    I just think they are going to come in higher demand than Abraham and they’ll get payed.

    Especially after Abraham showed what an older vet DE can do when given a shot of free agency.

  33. Clowney Says:

    “Maybe all those years playing in that dome in Louisiana gave Nicks permanent turf toe. The Saints probably had to know something about his foot.”

    The Bucs took their time signing Nicks to one of the biggest OL contracts in NFL history. He passed a completely comprehensive physical, he was in the best shape of his life.

    Enter the Little General, a mediocre Big East football coach who never really won anything. His main asset is he looks like a typical head football coach fresh out of central casting. The Rockstar miserably fumbled the Chip Kelly hire and he was desperate.

    Greg fully knew his shortcomings, he had to come in with a splash. His boyfriend Bill recommended making them run sprints. That would show them who’s boss. Bill made his linemen run short 60 yard sprints until they breathed hard. Greg made them sprint 110 yards sixteen times consecutively in the brutal Florida heat until they collapsed.

    Some players popped Adderall to get through it, some ran until they dropped and others ran through the pain of tearing ligaments.

    A 400 LBS man has the same bone structure as a 110 LBS man. Take that lighter man and strap 300 LBS on his back, make him run those sprints and his bones will break and ligament will tear as well.

    If Nicks was a race horse, he would have been shot, like Brian Price was. His plantar ligament was destroyed, career ending injury. His big toe turned ghastly colors and swelled up considerably. He was proud and tried to play through it.

    The reason the Rockstar was fired is that he restructured Nick’s contract even though Nicks was permanently injured. Now the Bucs are in cap hell and can not possibly escape.

    I would suggest they get an extra large Lazy Boy lounger, you know the kind with a six pack refrigerator in the armrest and put it on an elevated platform behind the Buc’s bench so Carl get an unobstructed view of the playing field for the next several years.

  34. PRBucFan Says:

    off of*

  35. Couch Fan Says:

    Clowney, just out of curiousity. If Lovie makes the men runs more than your liking… will you be calling him a criminal and murderer to?

  36. Brandon Says:

    How many Super Bowls have been won by he team that spends the most in free agency on their OL? Better question, how often has a truly great ofensive line won a Super Bowl? Not since the 90’s Cowboys or 91 Redskins have truly great OLs won the Super Bowl… you know what? The salary cap wasn’t around then. Now teams have to spread the wealth. You don’t tie up a bunch of money on one position ($17 million this past year on two OGs) and expect to be adequate at others. You definitely don’t break the bank for OGs because they just aren’t that important (how many OGs are in the Hall of Fame?).

    I’m not at all interested in Mack. He’s a great player…but he’s a great player playing a position that isn’t that much of an impact, you can certainly get by without a great player and spend that money on a NEED position.

  37. Cmurda Says:

    Macabee. Appreciate the breakdown of Nicks salary and the impacts of it. The way the cap shakes out and whats guaranteed and counts vs the cap etc. is certainly not my strength. I find it interesting however. I can’t help but just feel crappy about how Nicks injury materialized. We really never got to enjoy the “human armoire”. Im talking past tense because I really think his toe will force his career hand. Amazing that a toe injury could end the career of an enormous beast. Also lets not be crazy after the fact. There wasn’t a Bucs fan alive that was upset that Dom brought in Carl Nicks. Lets not blast Dom after the fact as if anybody had any earthly idea what would ensue.

  38. Clowney Says:

    I believe Lovie doesn’t have to prove how butch he is.

    Maybe, he could establish his credibility by wearing his Super Bowl ring to practice one day.

    He also might assume that his professional players show up to training camp in reasonable physical shape.

  39. Couch Fan Says:

    You didnt answer the question Clowney.

  40. bUcNcrAzy Says:

    This left guard position seems to be cursed… nicks had not missed a game in his career to he got here… rock star didn’t believe in drafting OL and free agent OL haven’t worked well at all! So I hope we Draft and develop!

  41. Clowney Says:

    Yes, if Lovie does something incredibly stupid, I will call him on it.

    I was not a big fan of the LS hire but I don’t expect the Glazers to consult me before hiring a coach. They could have done worse.

    I am a big Chip Kelly fan and was glad to see him succeed.

    I was rooting for Jay Gruden and will be watching him closely in Washington. I’m sure he will do well despite the RG111 problem.

  42. Couch Fan Says:

    Ok. Im gonna hold you to that. And I’m sure someone *coughs* will be copying and pasting that to a list. Lol

  43. SAMCRO Says:

    lol …oh the nerve of Schiano to make these professional athletes run 16 – 110 yard sprints with a short break between each one. What an unmerciful tyrant to make them run a mile, 4 laps around the football field with 16 five minute breaks. ridiculous!

  44. Bucfever40 Says:

    macabee, you really have the cap schematics down, very impressive. No one has mentioned the unthinkable, what are the odds that Nicks has been healing all this time not playing and becomes relatively healthy when camp comes around, maybe I’m too much of an optimist, but I can’t see that being an impossibility.

  45. Neil Says:

    I was so pumped about Nicks, hopefully he can come back eventually; it’s not his fault he got injured. Everything’s a gamble, anyone could get injured at any time. It’s unfortunate for the team and fans, but you cannot predict what will happen in this dangerous sport. Who thought at the end of the season we’d be routing for Glennon handing off to Bobby Rainey and throwing TDs to our second best option at receiver on the field, Tim Wright??? It’s all about depth!

    Mack seems great, no telling what the new GM has in mind though. Demar Dotson has turned into our most consistent offensive lineman! Where we thought he was the weak link and we had Nicks, Zuttah, Joseph, and Penn! On paper they sounded like the the best line in the league, now that may all change in the coming months. We shall see.

  46. LUVMYBUC Says:

    @ Brandon

    I understand the point your trying to make. But you can make a very strong argument that since 1990. 80 to 90% of the teams that won the Super Bowl had one of the top 5 most dominate offensive lines in the league. Take a moment and look back, and you might be surprised by the rankings.

  47. MichiganBucsFan Says:

    For the amount of money Nicks is making, and if his previous comments that his toe will never heal are to be taken as fact, he ought to have the damn thing cut off. Cut that thing off, get a prosthetic put on so you can still use your foot the same, and continue to make 10’s of millions of dollars for the next 10 or so years of your life. (Clearly I know nothing of what that medical procedure would entail, or what the functionality of a prosthetic toe would be… but I mean come on! Don’t let that toe hold you back)

  48. Macabee Says:


    That would be the best of both worlds if Nick returns healthy. Remember the Bucs are going to pay Nicks millions anyway unless he retires and that’s not likely to happen. And Nicks is a relatively young guy for his position, he would rather play and have a shot at completing his contract. And in addition, the Bucs would have to pay for a replacement. I would love for Nicks to be healthy and everyone else would too.

    What I related was what happens if he is not. And It could get really ugly if Nicks claims an injury, the Bucs denies his claim, and Nicks and the NFLPA file a grievance. If the Bucs lose, they could pay a whole lot more than what is anticipated under the cap. Not to mention that Lawrence Tynes is somewhere waiting in the wings!

    Let’s hope for the best!

  49. Macabee Says:

    Sorry meant BucFever40, my apologies!

  50. Buxfan Says:

    So let get this straight. The Bucs nation want a new center, RG, QB, LT, WR, NT, MLB, SLB, corner, 2 DE’s? And they all need to be top flight free agents? So we want Peppers, Allen, A. Mack, G. Hardy, B. Grimes, Charles Tillman, Eric Decker, Jimmy Graham, Geoff Schwartz, Golden Tate, Branden Albert, Brandon Spikes, Michael Vick, Josh McCown, Travelle Wharton, Henry Melton, Donald Butler. So what we would have to do is lower all there ratings, then sign them to minimal contract. Then you raise all there rating to 99. Then you create Johnny Football with all 99 ratings across the board. Even raise his height to 6-4. Or raise all of Mike Glennon’s ratings. We would never lose a game. SMDH!!!

  51. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Memories are short with Tampa Bay fans. First, Alex Mack is a year older than Jeff Faine was when he came here. Faine was considered a good center as well…but it didn’t work out that way.

    Maybe Mack is better, maybe not. It is easy to look back now and say he’s better…but you have to consider the consensus when Faine was brought in.

    Also, as for short memories, you people seem to forget that Jeremy Zuttah was on his way to being let go in Free Agency before he made the switch to center. He was not a very good guard. Better maybe than no one, but not great.

    On the other hand, he is a very good center…so we should keep him there and draft a guard in case Nicks does not return…because I have to tell you they will not reach a settlement with him and he will not retire. They’ll be stuck paying him $6 million and so they will keep him in the hopes that he’ll play again.

    Which no one knows if he will or not.

    You draft a guard in round 2 or later and look for a RT in free agency, ride Penn one more year and replace him next year. Draft a QB in round one this year, a CB in round 4.

    Bring in unsigned FAs heavy on TE, WR. Look for a solid WR you can sign to a one year deal in FA. Sign a DE as well.

    Problems addressed for the year, and then you can finish up next year.

  52. pick6 Says:

    @bonzai, i agree about zuttah, if he’s not going to be our center (where he is more than adequate) he is a swingman off the bench at best. pencil him in as a starting G at your own (and your QB’s) peril. with the current state of the team i would not consider C to be one of our areas most in need an upgrade or a new premium contract, which mack will invariably get. i never could wrap my head around dominik’s tendency to load the roster with the some of the highest paid players at the lowest-paying positions (C, G, K, P, S, TE) but i have a feeling that will not be a practice followed by this new regime.

  53. SAMCRO Says:

    Lest we forget that 2 years ago Zuttah moved to LG when Nicks went down and did an admirable job for several games. He can make the transition, it’s just that he prefers to play center. Don’t make excuses for him.

  54. The Real Drew Says:

    Well, we lost Elbert Mack, so this would be…..

    Favorite part is at 2 min mark

  55. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    He really did not do an “admirable job” for several games. The oline that year was horrid, and had only one good game at the end of the season…against a team that wanted to rest starters for the playoffs.