The Offensive Guard Carousel

August 13th, 2014
Bucs QB Josh McCown confessed to SiriusXM Radio host Adam Schein he doesn't know who will start at either guard position come Sept. 7.

Josh McCown stated on SiriusXM Radio he doesn’t know who will start at either guard position come Sept. 7.

Every day at Bucs practice, Joe and other members of the Tampa Bay pen and mic club are looking for and asking seemingly the same things: “What guards are starting with the first team?” and “Is Da’Quan Bowers practicing today?”

(Column intermission: Bowers missed his second consecutive day Tuesday with what Bucs coach Lovie Smith considered an upper leg/groin issue).

Sometimes Bowers is practicing and sometimes he has a day off and sometimes he is nicked up. You pretty much know one of the three answers applies. But with the offensive guards working with the first team? That is always a riddle.

The Bucs continue to grapple for the right combination of guards in the starting lineup and yesterday Lovie said each guard on the roster will be given the chance to grab the reigns of a starting gig and not let go.

“That’s part of the plan: to give everybody an opportunity,” Lovie said. “I think, as I’ve said before, there aren’t a lot of hard decisions in the end. If you let everybody play, they’re going to tell you what they are. So we’ll keep looking at different combinations and see who comes out on top.”

Thus far, those reigns have yet to be secured.

Joe agrees with Lovie that the decision on who starts at guard in the regular season opener doesn’t really need to be determined until the day before the Bucs kick off against the Stinking Panthers Sept. 7.

However, Bucs fans are clamoring for an answer. The Bucs are using so many combos that not even Bucs starting quarterback Josh McCown has an idea of who will start at guard. Tuesday, McCown appeared on “Schein on Sports,” heard exclusively on “Mad Dog Radio,” part of the family of sports channels found on SiriusXM Radio. There, McCown was asked by host Adam Schein — point blank — who would be starting up front for the Bucs.

McCown knew the tackles and center. But at guard? McCown was flummoxed and punted the question.

Adam Schein: I hope, Josh, that this question doesn’t come out as me being flip because I genuinely don’t know the answer which is why I ask and there has been a lot of back and forth. Who is starting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the offensive line?

Josh McCown: (Long pause) Well, obviously, we understand the positions. Um, Evan [Dietrich-Smith] is the center and Anthony Collins and Dot [Demar Dotson] are holding down the tackles. We are sort of sorting things out at guard right now. And, um, and, so I will leave that to the coaches. That is the best way for us to – um, again – it is early in camp to figure out what will be that best five for us. What group will give us the best chance to win? So, um, we are still in that process and those are the things, again, we are early in the program, we have — a coaching change – there is always things like that, coaching changes or positions where you have to learn about the guys you have and find the right guys. This group of coaches hasn’t been around long. So, we are going through those lumps and we will get it sorted out. I trust [offensive line coach] George Warhop. Our offensive line coach is fantastic. We will get it all figured out and leave it to them. I trust that they are in position to do their jobs and they won’t let us down.

Joe doesn’t know if he has ever heard of a starting quarterback, just prior to his second preseason game, confess on a national platform he has no idea who is starting at either guard position when injuries are not a factor. Not exactly comforting.

Again, Joe agrees with Lovie that the goal to name starters isn’t the second week of August, it’s opening day. What is the point of naming starters now other than to fill out an insipid preseason depth chart? Joe gets that.

Joe still thinks it’s stands to reason that the starting guards on Sept. 7 likely are not yet on the roster.

38 Responses to “The Offensive Guard Carousel”

  1. BUC4LIFE79 Says:

    “Joe agrees with Lovie that the decision on who starts at guard in the regular season opener doesn’t really need to be determined until the day before the Bucs kick off against the Stinking Panthers Sept. 7.”
    And who else here agrees with me that if you have to wait until less than 24 hours before your regular season opener to select your starting guards will be is a recipe for DISASTER?? SERIOUSLY, is it just me or if this was Schiano implying that it wasn’t important to have your opening day guards selected until the day before ur opener, wouldn’t people be ready to riot?? Shouldn’t they be?? This remind anyone of a Russian roulette policy at guard?? Hope your body’s in the BEST shape of ur life Josh Mccown, your same Bears coach that didn’t believe in an offensive line just put you in the IR crosshairs.

  2. dick2111 Says:

    Josh can’t tell the media what he doesn’t know, so I don’t understand the big deal. Time will sort it all out.

    Agree with you Joe on the guards. I think one of the current OL guys on the roster will step up and win a starting nod. But doubt that two will, meaning that we’ll end up grabbing someone via free agency or via a trade. The latter seems most likely to me.

    It’s also near impossible to fix all the problems in one year. Looks to me like we’ve got a great group of coaches and some excellent players to build from, but all the pieces aren’t in place yet.

  3. Macabee Says:

    Count me as a fan and Demar Dotson as a player that is concerned about O-Line continuity. Dotson is right, you need to know the guy next to you, and have a second sense about what he is going to do. A game is not a collage of 1 on 1’s. Player’s have assignments and they play off of each other.

    Not saying anything here that everybody doesn’t understand. Continuous rotations just makes everybody nervous including me and I’m just watching from my comfortable leather theater recliner!

  4. Bob Says:

    Licht needs to step up and prove he can wear the big boy pants and go and secure Boone. This mess has gone on long enough.

  5. Buccfan37 Says:

    Cut McCown some slack, he is probably um, still dazed at his um, QB showing against the Jags. He is um, worried about his starting um, QB gig. The guard position um, will work itself out um, hopefully.

  6. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Let’s hope they aren’t on the roster yet. I like that idea.

  7. Jason Says:

    I agree that WE don’t necessarily need to know who’s starting at guard. However, the Bucs surely do because (as we all know) if there’s a unit that requires cohesion and time to jell, it’s the O-line. The longer it takes to figure out the starters the more disservice is done to them all.
    Hopefully someone steps up soon!

  8. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    Poor McCown, dude probably was elated at being gifted a starting QB role again, but is probably crapping his pants at the thought of facing Carolina’s D with the turnstile O-Line we saw last week.

  9. gotbbucs Says:

    When all the competitors or either crappy veterans that have never been starters before (for good reason), or are young raw developmental prospects, you are in major trouble. These are guys that should be competing for roster spots, not starting gigs.
    One of these guys isn’t going to just magically wake up in the morning and be a pro-bowler, and for a team claiming to want to be a power running team, thats exactly what you need at the center and guard positions. Inexcusable.

  10. CC Says:

    Bucs won a Super Bowl with an average offensive line.
    Roman Oben LT
    Kerry Jenkins LG
    Jeff Christy C
    Casey Coleman RG
    Kenyatta Walker RT
    Not exactly Hall of Fame type players. So if they can figure out how to get from piss poor to average, the Bucs have a chance to make some noise with the skilled positions.

  11. Gus Says:

    It’s week 2 of preseason. Let’s all put down the pitch forks. Continuity is the main thing to look for in an offensive line. Give these guys time to gel. Yes cousins looked terrible, and probably won’t even improve. I do however think Meredith can improve. We just need one guard to step in for Cousins and as long as we aren’t asking the guards to block for 4 or 5 step drops we should be ok

  12. JBuc Says:

    You people freaking out about who the starting guards are going to be so remember that this team was 4-12 last year right? For you to have the expectation that every position would be locked down by the 1st preseason game is truly nuts. If I had to pick a position that had a question mark beside it during training camp it would be guard.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Let’s see what happens Saturday night before we panic…..

  14. Gus Says:

    CC Says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 8:14 am
    Bucs won a Super Bowl with an average offensive line.
    Roman Oben LT
    Kerry Jenkins LG
    Jeff Christy C
    Casey Coleman RG
    Kenyatta Walker RT
    Not exactly Hall of Fame type players. So if they can figure out how to get from piss poor to average, the Bucs have a chance to make some noise with the skilled positions.

    Exactly I can’t remember the last time the bucs had a dominate offensive line. We have 3 great-good offensive line in the starting spots . We just need 2 guards to give us average play and we will be fine

  15. BucPuck Says:

    I am going to wait until Saturday night to panic. I still dont know why we are not going after some veteran free agents. I am not for Incognito, but what about Velasco from Pitt, Nwaneri from the Jags or Wharton from Carolina? I know the trade talk for Boone was smoke, but that would be ideal

  16. Posey99 Says:

    Gerald McCoy with have some input on this decision I bet

  17. Macabee Says:


    The pickings are slim to none. Travelle Wharton is officially retired. Fernando Velasco is a center for the Panthers, and Uche Nwaneri is a guard for the Cowboys. Incognito is radioactive!

  18. zam Says:

    Hey maybe the big secret of “The Jeff Tedford Offense” is it doesn’t use guards? – eternal optimist

  19. SAMCRO Says:

    Why does the media continually harp daily on this? Today is the 5th day after learning that our starting guards struggled, and everyday since, the media has been up L & L ass, demanding an answer. Back-off some and give them time to find the right combo. The media just exacerbates the frustration even more. There are quite a few Olineman on the roster and they will eventually find two who are adequate enough to fill the starting positions. The media is way to impatient, demanding, and negative so early in this regimes preseason development.

  20. Mac Says:

    Great… We have four shifty guards battling it out for the starting role… And currently an undrafted second year practice squad player and a guy that was playing Division 1AA last year are the front runners?

    This is delusional bullsh*t… McCown is not a mobile QB… Pressure up the middle will destroy this offense… I hope Buc fans enjoyed McCown running for his life and throwing that pick 6 because that’s going to be happening ALL SEASON LONG FOLKS…

  21. Bill Says:

    If anyone had separated themselves, the competition at one, or both, spots would be consistent.

  22. Broy3434 Says:

    What did I tell you/: Edwards would start game 3 of preseason. I was wrong. Game 2

  23. Broy3434 Says:

    Mac shut up^ it was already mentioned on NFL network were shopping for Boone

  24. Broy3434 Says:

    Also I just watched the highlights. Dotson was lighting up the 1st ring left end all series long. I watched it again. Nobody can convince me otherwise. Also McCown had a pocket to step into twice and he took a sack or a pic instead

  25. Mike10 Says:

    Up until that last sentence Joe, you were starting to make my blood boil. I mean I get Lovie has to say what he has to say with his current roster and he can’t overreact, but I really hope he doesn’t believe either of those two guards will be starting for us this year.
    Fans aren’t overreacting, we’ve known since the minute we started releasing/trading guards (and probably even sooner than that) that we had a very unfinished product. Not a single upgrade was made – so get on the phone Lovie….. and call me up, we’ll get this figured out.

  26. jo_mama Says:

    We gave up 7 sacks to the league’s worst sacking defense last year.

    Miami was tied for 11th last year in sacks. If we have another 7 or more sacks I say its time to panic.

    Preseason may not mean much, but when the bulk of the other teams only have a couple or no sacks against them this could be a trend.

    Bring in the best players. If our QB is always getting Sacked. This is putting his health at risk and my viewing enjoyment.

    Check the Egos at the door and bring in anyone who can make the team better.

  27. tampamac Says:

    This ‘sky is falling’ crap is getting out of hand. If by preseason game 3 the guard situation hasn’t stabilized, I guarantee they’ll sign 2 or 3 guards after the 1st round of cuts. There will likely be a few good although probably older guards that will be cap casualties in the 53 man cuts who can be stop gaps for a year or two. The Bucs are my team so yes I’m concerned, but I’m not frothing at the mouth like some are. I choose to let the people who know a lot more about personnel and football than I do (although I feel I know quite a bit) make those decisions and I’m not losing any sleep over it. Any sensible fan knows the problems over the last what, 9 years or so couldn’t be fixed in one offseason and I feel L&L have done a helluva job in a short period of time.

  28. BucFan20 Says:

    I can guarantee this problem has been going on the entire off season and training camp. The defense has not been allowed to flatten McCown. But on 11-on-11 he is not just standing there with our defense and throwing all these beautiful passes we hear about. Only now do we begin to hear the stories that our defense has OWNED our offense all training camp like we did yesterday. Only after Friday night do they decide they need to make changes at the guard position.

  29. Mac Says:


    Your a joke dude… keep dreaming… you think we are just going to find guards off the trash pile who are any better? Who? Your as delusional as Lovie if you think that will happen… Totally laughable man… That is a great plan… I think you should be named assistant GM so n ‘ve your so knowledgeable…

    Plus this wouldn’t be such a cluster fridge if they kept Zuttah and drafting a guard instead of a fifth running back… totally dumb…

  30. Mac Says:


    You shut up!!!

    Shopping for Boone doesn’t mean squat if they don’t get him…


  31. HolyBuc Says:

    I liked Trai Turner coming out of LSU went to the Panthers in late third round. I read he graded out good this weekend as the starting RG. He would have made so much more sense than Sims.

  32. Mac Says:

    @ holybuc

    AGREED 100%

  33. tampamac Says:


    Apparently you’re as delusional as I am then if you think drafting a guard in the 3rd round automatically ensures he’s a productive starter. And cap casualties don’t mean trash pile. Saints got Ben Grubbs off the ‘trash pile’ to replace Carl Nicks and that seems to have worked out ok. Offensive linemen more than any other position become productive players as waiver pickups. We also had this guy named Donald Penn we got from the trash pile who became a productive player for several years and our current RT Demar Dotson if I recall was claimed off the trash pile. So please don’t come after me if your football knowledge is not up to par because I’m not the one dude.

  34. Mac Says:

    @ tampamac

    Those finds are very rare silly boy… keep dreaming…

    If we keep our current guards or fail to find better off of the scrap heap then it’s another losing season… This is just a poorly thought out plan by the new regime…

  35. tampamac Says:

    And again, if guard is the Bucs’ biggest hole after the messes they’ve fielded for nearly the last decade after 1 offseason, they’re doing pretty good. Please tell us oh great NFL talent guru and evaluator, why you are not working for one of the 32 franchises because obviously your plan is far superior.

  36. Mac Says:

    I would not of thrown away Zuttah for nothing… I would have drafted Trae Turner out of LSU in terms third… and I would have kept Donald Penn with a renegotiated deal… I would never sign the worst guard in the NFL (Cousins) to any deal… and I would never expect Jam on Meredith to be a starter… and I would not expect a Divison 1AA ducking guard to be an NFL quality starter his rookie ducking year…

    Ok? Smart ass… you got something else to bring? Bring it!!!

  37. tampamac Says:

    Sorry, was at lunch. Turner may be great, he may not be. Any draft pick is a crapshoot. With Zuttah, who’s to say that wasn’t the best they were offered? With Penn, do you know if he was WILLING to renegotiate? Cousins is here only until someone better is signed to replace him, again likely during cutdowns. Meredith did a damn good job starting for Joseph in 2012 so he’s played well before. And if he has strength, quickness and smarts, what the hell does Edwards’ school have to do with anything? You have all the answers but don’t know what questions were asked.

  38. Dave Says:

    If I were Licht, I would look at the best
    Guards in the CFL right now and bring them in
    For tryouts.