Bucs line will miss Nicks, but still confident
The Bucs' offensive linemen spoke with great respect for Carl Nicks after news that he and the team were parting ways, but at the same time, the remaining guards have confidence that they can step up as part of an improved Bucs line.
"Our group, we're not even sweating it," said Jamon Meredith, who opens preseason as the starting left guard after starting 20 games the last two seasons. "We're going to miss Carl a lot. We like him as a player, we like him as a guy. I think y'all are going to be a little bit more panicky than we're going to be. ... We've lost Carl a few times in the past and we were able to bounce back. It's one of those unfortunate things, but I think we're built ready, built to bounce back from this."
Meredith and fellow veteran Oniel Cousins have the first shot at starting guard jobs, but rookie Kadeem Edwards and second-year pro Patrick Omameh are also competing. The line has three entrenched starters in center Evan Dietrich-Smith and tackles Anthony Collins and Demar Dotson.
"Losing Carl is a big blow. You can't take that lightly, but the ship has to keep going," Dotson said. "You have to pay respect to him, but on the flip side, you have some good guys who have an opportunity to step up and fill that position. That's a blessing in disguise that they get that opportunity."