Offensive Line Cannot Afford Injuries

June 22nd, 2014

red crossWith the possible exception of quarterback, no position on the Buccaneers is more suspect than the offensive line.

Shall Joe recount the ways?

Anthony Collins at left tackle has never started a half-season before much less all 16 games. The Bucs say left guard Carl Nicks will be good to go for training camp. But given his recent history of foot and MRSA problems, forgive Joe for taking a see-it-to-believe-it mentality. Center Evan Dietrich-Smith is a solid pickup. Right guard is another mystery and Demar Dotson is fine at right tackle, but unlike the stat nerds, Joe does not get visions of Dan Dierdorf dancing through his head when watching Dotson.

No, offensive line is and should be a concern. It is for former NFL scout Gabe Gabriel, who worked with Bucs coach Lovie Smith in Chicago and is now a columnist for He believes the Bucs’ offensive line cannot afford too many trips to the trainer’s room without falling apart.

The new staff felt the offensive line needed some upgrades and took care of that problem in free agency. They signed for Cincinnati Bengal Anthony Collins to play left tackle and former Packer Evan Dietrich-Smith to play center. This will give the Bucs experience and leadership. At right tackle is Demar Dotson.

Left guard Carl Nicks was recently cleared to play and will be a big help. The right guard should be second year man Patrick Omameh. This group has to stay healthy as the depth is average.

The O-line depth may be below average. Joe gets the sense the Bucs think they have a gem in rookie Kadeem Edwards, who logged time with the No. 1 unit in OTAs and minicamp. But remember, this was underwear football with no hitting. Let’s see what the Tennessee State product does against NFL-caliber talent who are allowed to hit.

Then there is Jamon Meredith who is, at best, inconsistent.

Joe thinks Gabriel has a helluva point. As currently constructed, injuries to the offensive could cause a big time collapse.

18 Responses to “Offensive Line Cannot Afford Injuries”

  1. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Agree completely Joe. But that’s the difference between great programs like the Pats and the rest of the league. It’s one thing to assemble a talented starting lineup it’s another to have enough depth to get through the year.

    Injuries are a part of the NFL. The great teams like the Niners and Seahawks have depth.

    While I obviously share Joe’s concern it is what it is. If the Lovie/Light team can put together an exciting group of “starters” we’ll all simply have to hold our breath and hope the injury bug isn’t too harsh.

    Heaven knows we are due for some good luck. Nicks with a toe and MRSA, Davin blowing out a knee and not really coming back…the entire MRSA episode was bizarre. We are due for some good luck this year.

    I’m no Schiano supporter other than his character. He didn’t impress me as a coach but as a human being he’s first class. When you consider how he handled Eric LeGrand’s paralysis you have to give him props even while conceding he’s probably not an NFL head coach.

    We can point to the mistakes of Dom/Schiano but you have to admit they would have had no luck at all if it wasn’t bad luck. “Franchise” QB melts down.
    MRSA!!! A rare bonehead play by Levonte to blow that Jets game. On and on it was brutal.

  2. The Don Says:

    i keep hearing how the backups are coming on. Omameh, jace daniels, etc. are they not even servicable.?

  3. Mumbles Says:

    Greg Gabriel!

  4. Mumbles Says:

    Matt Miller, NFL draft guru and B/R lead writer, has the Bucs O-Line rated at #11 in the NFL and believes the Bucs are the most improved team in the NFL. Greg Gabriel thinks they are pretty good too – need more depth.

  5. Jim Walker Says:

    We have a kiddy pool at offensive line.

  6. Bill Says:

    The d-lline could take all of about one injury, as well. I expect the Bucs will be busy picking up a guy or two for ol, dl and lb depth in final cuts in August.

  7. Bill Says:

    @thedon. Omameh starts. We dont’ even know if he is an average starter. Daniels is a practice squad guy. So, no, we don’t know if he is even serviceable. Those guys are a dime a dozen.

  8. tickrdr Says:

    While I agree that no one knows how our new OL will perform, if you think
    L & L are making smart moves for the franchise! then ask yourself why they released or traded three of the STARTERS, not depth, from last years’ line……
    even before any live contact in training camp? And while you’re at it, ask yourself why they used the entire draft for offensive players, but felt comfortable enough with JMcC and MG that they didn’t draft a QB!

    Hint: MG8 was far from the worst problem with the offense last year.


  9. Orca Says:

    The same statement could be made about many of the O-lines around the league. Finding, developing, and keeping O-line depth is one of the more difficult tasks in building a roster, year after year. Omameh and Edwards are being groomed. Cousins and Meredith are vulnerable depending upon what comes across the waiver wire.

  10. BoJim Says:

    As much as I want training camp to start, it always scares me. No injury’s please. And I think the NFL play’s too many pre-season games. I know. The money.

  11. Orca Says:



  12. Martinii Says:

    Zuttah, Joseph and Penn are gone because the team was 4-12. Simple! What I have a problem with is Nicks being cleared to play by the Bucs when training camp gets here. I’ll would like to see how the odds makers in Vegas would handicapp that.

  13. Buc89 Says:

    I think Jamon Meredith will be an average starter(if he starts) but our depth is for sure lacking. We better start hoping our defense scores points if Collins or Dietrich-Smith go down.

    I really feel they’re looking at this as a two-three year project. They had chance at O-lineman but went with who they thought were the best players available. Too early to tell though, we can probably still sign average o-line depth after more cuts are made.

  14. Jim Walker Says:

    The release of Zuttah was a HUGE mistake. The release of Joseph might be a mistake the jury is out, and the the release of Penn was probably a good move.

    What we lost was depth. Who will play RG if the starter and backup are injured? Who is the backup RG, do we even have one? Is there a third guard?

    The O-line is a mess.

  15. Jim Walker Says:

    The idea of a patchwork o-line from castaways from other rosters does not make me want to buy tickets.

  16. Orca Says:

    ^^ Step back, take a breath. Our new LT should play at least as well as Penn. The new center is an upgrade over Zuttah. The RT is in his prime and an average-at-worst starter. The guard candidates are young with upside. I think they’re arguably in better shape than they were to start last year. They’re lacking experience and some depth, which probably puts them in the same boat as a lot of teams. Good coaching should be able to make them at least average as a unit. Let’s hope they get that… It’s not a mess and it’s not a disaster… Calm down.

  17. Destinjohnny Says:

    Not a News flash but it really comes down to cArl and his toe

  18. Owlykat Says:

    Jim, just wait until you see 315 LB Center, Chase Daniels, play football in pads. He is smart like Zutah, but stronger, and has been trained to play Guard as well. He was a good LT just like Zutah was in college. If we lose our Center or the other Guards are not ready to play, he can step right in on either side. Kadeem Edwards will be trained at LG to back up Nix. Kadeem got offers by a lot of SEC Teams so you know he has the strength. speed, size, length, and quick footwork to be a big time Guard in the NFL. The problem is he could not make SEC standards academically, which is why he ended up at Tenn. St. but he held his own at the Senior Bowl. Now you know why he is being asked to learn only one job on the OL, but once he masters it he will be fine there. Our rookie Tackle has so much athleticism one day he could even play LT in the NFL as can our starting RT. Both are ex basketball players, and the rookie could play RT if he had to fill in and will definitely be good at pass blocking. Meredith is versatile and can play all G and T positions on our line and opened plenty of holes two years ago at Guard to make rookie Martin a Pro Bowler. The Guard from San Francisco is even better than Meredith and has been starting ahead of him; so I believe he will be the starting RG. I know both Meredith and Daniels can back him up if need be. This is why I feel we are fine. We could use a sports medicine coach like Philly had last year that kept their aging OL healthier than any other OL in the NFL. Never hurts to prevent injuries before they happen!