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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Another effort to upgrade OL

2

April

If you watched the Bucs play last season (or the one before that and the one before that...), you know they lack stability on the offensive line.

With that in mind, they're trying to acquire another player who should be an upgrade over the current crew. Broncos guard Cooper Carlisle should be in town tomorrow for a visit with Tampa Bay, and expect the Bucs to seriously consider signing him.

So far during free agency, the only significant move the Bucs have made on the offensive line is the signing of tackle Luke Petitgout, a starter who is coming off a season-ending injury with the Giants. If he returns to form, Petitgout would seem to be the leading candidate to start at left tackle, where Anthony Davis has been inconsistent the past couple seasons.

So, if Tampa Bay can land Carlisle, the Bucs likely would slide him in as the starter at left guard, where two-year starter Dan Buenning is coming off a season-ending knee injury. And Carlisle's versatility will be a key, too. He can play some tackle and he has been a solid starter at right guard for the Broncos. Acquiring him would help lessen the impact of losing Sean Mahan to the Steelers. You may recall Mahan was able to play three positions -- both guard spots and center.

It's a process, but you can see the beginnings of a formidable lineup here. Let's assume Petitgout pans out at LT. If the Bucs can land Carlisle, he becomes a solid player at LG. RG will continue to be occupied by 2006 first-round pick Davin Joseph, who looks like the real deal. And RT Jeremy Trueblood certainly didn't embarrass himself as a rookie last season in his first attempt to play the position long term.

The lone position that would be left unaddressed would be center, which is a position the Bucs will consider augmenting in the draft. Veteran John Wade looks to have the job for the time being.

So, who knows? Maybe one day soon the days of the patchwork offensive line will finally end. But first, the Bucs have work to do. If they indeed want Carlisle, they'll have to outdo some competitors, including Oakland and Miami.

We'll keep you posted on how that's going. In the meantime, feel free to dream.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:44pm]

    

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