Jeremy Trueblood addresses diminished role with Bucs
Veteran offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood has started 84 of the 94 NFL games in which he’s played – more than only a handful of players on the Bucs’ active roster.
But after being replaced at right tackle two weeks ago by upstart Demar Dotson, Trueblood is starting to come to terms with the fact his predicament might be permanent. Asked whether he felt he could regain the starting role through strong practices, Trueblood wasn’t so sure there’s a chance.
“I feel like their decision’s made,” Trueblood said of the coaching staff. “So I’m just going to continue to do what I have to do. It’s the NFL and people get hurt all the time. I don’t wish anything upon anyone, but you just have to be ready. Someone could get sick. Anything can happen. Preparation is important.”
The seventh-year player and former second-round draft pick has been in Tampa Bay for the duration of his career but could spend the rest of his current contract year on the bench. That would strongly suggest he could be looking elsewhere for work next season, another fact Trueblood said he is beginning to digest.
Sunday against the Redskins, Trueblood had a new experience: He was left inactive for a game when healthy. He said coach Greg Schiano was clear in explaining the decision, an effort to have backup linemen with versatility available on game day.
“I’m a right tackle,” Trueblood said. “That’s just what it is. I’ve never played anything else. (Schiano) told me straight up. He said, ‘The other guy (Jamon Meredith) can play guard and tackle, so you’re inactive.’ I can’t question a man’s decision.”
Trueblood has always been a physical and violent run blocker, but pass blocking has long been a weakness. Dotson has proven to be a skilled pass protector -- see his performance against the Giants two weeks ago as evidence -- but he has been underwhelming in the running game.