Mark Dominik explains where Gabe Carimi fits with Bucs
Gabe Carimi was listed as a late-first round pick on the Bucs’ 2011 draft board.
But now that he’s arrived in Tampa Bay some two years later via Sunday’s trade with the Bears, Chicago’s former first-round pick isn’t being guaranteed so much as a starting job.
The Bucs first want to see what they have in Carimi before proclaiming him a potential starter at right tackle, general manager Mark Dominik said.
But the team is cautiously optimistic Carimi can, at minimum, provide much-needed depth on an offensive line that was decimated by injuries in 2012.
“I think it provides competition, which is our favorite word,” Dominik said today at One Buc Place. “It provides competition at right tackle. No doubt about it. It also adds a lot of depth to our team and provides a guy who can play inside at guard, which he did last year. . . It gives you incredible depth.”
The likely key will be how much Carimi has recovered from his knee injury. Dominik during the past few weeks has studied Carimi’s 2012 film and said the injury – suffered in 2011 – adversely affected his play.
“You almost have to look at last year as his rookie year,” Dominik said, noting Carimi played in just two games as a rookie.
“He missed a lot of chances to grow and develop. (The injury) did wear on him. You could see he was not 100 percent. I think they ended up having to sit him. You could tell it affected him. There’s games where you could see what you want to see, but then there’s also games where you say, ‘Oh, boy.’”
Now that he’s further removed from the injury, the Bucs are hoping they can get more out of Carimi. And they’ll be enlisting the help of his one-time coach, former Wisconsin line coach Bob Bostad. He joined the Bucs’ staff last season in the same capacity and is eager to get back to work with his former pupil.
“What we’re looking for is for Gabe to just come in here and compete,” Bostad said. “That’s No. 1. Come in here and do what he did for me for four years at Wisconsin. Be physical, be tough, be a smart football player.
“I’m definitely excited to have a guy who you have a relationship with, who you have a history with, you’ve trained him. I’m really excited.”
Despite the trade, Demar Dotson remains the incumbent right tackle and the Bucs aren’t wavering on their feelings about him. The Bucs re-signed him to a contract this offseason, though its relatively low value doesn't necessarily ensure him anything.
“Certainly, it’s nice to have the competition at the tackle spot,” Dominik said. “But Dotson has four years of NFL ball now that he’s been around, and I think that’s helpful. He took great strides. That’s why we did the extension and kept him around. And he’s versatile too, because he can flip to the left side as well.
“That gives you flexibility if something happened. The flexibility (in exchange) for a sixth-round pick just made too much sense.”