Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs have highs, lows with offensive line

TAMPA — Two events in the past week highlighted the best and worst of the Bucs' attempts to build an offensive line.

G Davin Joseph, their first-round pick in 2006, broke his right foot against the Patriots on Sunday.

"You feel bad for Davin because he's really on the cusp of becoming a dominant player in this league," offensive line coach Bill Muir said.

Fortunately for the Bucs, they have done a creditable job of using high draft picks on offensive linemen who could play sooner rather than later: Joseph, T Jeremy Trueblood (second round 2006) and G Arron Sears (second, '07).

They also made Saints free agent Jeff Faine, 27, the highest-paid center in NFL history, signing him to a six-year, $37.5-million deal in March.

No wonder more than a few eyebrows raised when the Bucs used their third-round pick this year on Rutgers G/C Jeremy Zuttah, even though they appeared to have a logjam of interior linemen.

Zuttah, however, will start at right guard, replacing Joseph, who could miss the first month of the regular season.

The other event was less flattering.

T Luke Petitgout, 32, was released Aug. 16 after spending training camp on the physically unable to perform list. A day later, he was informed he would be suspended for four games for violating the NFL's steroid policy.

Petitgout, who signed a three-year, $15-million contract that included a $3-million signing bonus in '07, played in just four regular-season games last season before tearing his ACL.

The timing of the release was no coincidence. The Bucs no doubt were aware of the impending penalty.

Petitgout highlights the list of failures with veteran free-agent offensive linemen, including T Derrick Deese, T Todd Steussie, G Matt Stinchcomb, T Jason Whittle, T Torrin Tucker and G/C Matt Lehr.

If there is a lesson in these examples, it's this: stay away from free-agent offensive linemen unless they are young and ascending like Faine; and utilize high draft choices to stockpile offensive linemen. The Bucs haven't had much luck in the middle rounds at those positions, however, as evidenced by Jeb Terry (fifth, '04) and Chris Colmer (third, '05) to name two.

It's the second time in three years Joseph will miss the opener. He sprained his knee as a rookie. But at least the Bucs won't have to rely on a broken-down veteran.

"That's the nature of the business," Muir said. "One man goes down, another man has got to take his place."

Rick Stroud can be reached at

Bucs have highs, lows with offensive line 08/22/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 24, 2008 10:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Steven Stamkos making exhibition debut for Lightning


    Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will make his much-anticipated exhibition debut tonight against the Predators.

  2. Quick snaps: Florida's streak, FSU's true freshman QB and UCF's prolific offense



     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain shakes hands with Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops at the end of the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7.
  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Key matchups in Bucs-Vikings game


    In our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman breaks down five key matchups that will help decide Sunday's Bucs game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Defensive lineman Chris Baker is a question mark heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Will Bucs go 2-0? Are Gators on upset alert?


    It's football friday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' game in Minnesota, including the improved offensive line.

    Ali Marpet moved from guard to center on an improved Bucs offensive line.
  5. Week 4 Heisman watch, local of the week and more


    Heisman watch

    San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny (20) reacts with teammates during the final minute of the second half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in San Diego. San Diego State won 20-17. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) CAGB113