Jeremy Zuttah was virtually invisible, which was a virtually perfect result.
The 6-foot-4, 303-pound rookie third-round draft pick is third on the Bucs depth chart at center but started at right guard Saturday against Jacksonville because Davin Joseph broke a bone in his right foot in a dominating effort against New England last week. A tackle at Rutgers, the studious 22-year-old had been practicing at center and guard in preseason camp, and his versatility made him the obvious choice to replace Joseph in what could be a two-month stint.
Zuttah appeared more than competent facing mostly nine-year pro Ron Meier and John Henderson, a two-time Pro Bowl selection he kept off quarterback Brian Griese long enough for a 5-yard completion late in the first half.
On his effort: "I thought it was a real good effort. I'm just getting better — I think — every time I go out there, and that's all I can really ask myself; just try to keep improving, try to get more comfortable."
On blending in: "You don't want to have any penalties. That's the only time they call an offensive lineman's name out."
On the fundamental difference between playing guard, tackle and center: "There's little differences to each one. Tackle is more out in space. It's just the little things you can get away with at certain positions that you can't get away with at others. Tackle you've got so much room out there, if he's bending a little bit you can run him upfield, but inside it's harder to do that."
On the trick to playing guard: "You've got the biggest, baddest dude on the defense lined up on you every time. And it's not like these guys are slow. They're 330 pounds and they get off the ball."
On facing Henderson: "I've been playing Madden, and I always pick John Henderson on my teams. He's an outstanding player. (But) I don't really try to think about who's on me, I just try to do my job."
On the intellect of offensive linemen: "It's a whole other level with the quarterbacks. They've got the most cerebral job of any position. They have to know what everyone is doing around them on any play, so I don't think we compare to them, but our job ain't easy, either."
On replacing Joseph: "Davin Joseph is obviously one of the best guards in the NFL, hands down. … But I think, obviously, I am a capable player in the NFL, but as far as vs. Davin, I'm just a rookie right now."