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 uncertain about Nicks, offensive line

Gabe Carimi. left, taking on LB Najee Goode, is taking reps at left guard with the first team.


Gabe Carimi. left, taking on LB Najee Goode, is taking reps at left guard with the first team.

TAMPA — The Bucs believe they have contained the outbreak of MRSA that has kept Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks out of action, but doubts about the readiness of their offensive line have spread.

Coach Greg Schiano said Monday it was "too early to tell" whether Nicks will be available for the regular-season opener against the Jets at MetLife Stadium. That means the Bucs may have to pick from Gabe Carimi, Jamon Meredith and Ted Larsen to fill Nicks' spot though none of them would list guard as their primary position.

Carimi, who was acquired in a trade with the Bears in June, took reps at left guard with the first team during the install period of practice Monday.

"Well, we have guys on our roster on the offensive line, we'll choose one of them," Schiano said. "They all can play guard. One of them will end up being the starting guard if Carl can't play."

The Bucs have not explored the option that worked best when Nicks went down with a season-ending injury to his plantar plate: moving center Jeremy Zuttah from center to left guard and starting Larsen at center.

"It's always an option because we've done it," Schiano said. "I wouldn't say that's the way we're going to go or it's not the way we're going to go. We just have to get the best five on the field. We'll evaluate that when we know definitely about Carl."

Playing behind the starting offensive line, quarterback Josh Freeman was sacked nine times. Granted, not all of those sacks can be laid at the cleats of the offensive linemen since tight ends and running backs were part of the failed protection.

Joseph was limited to a couple of series in the third preseason game at Miami. He rejoins Zuttah, left tackle Donald Penn and right tackle Demar Dotson on a unit that was responsible for the league's 15th-ranked rushing offense last season. Doug Martin led all rookies with 1,454 yards rushing and Freeman passed for a club-record 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Despite a lackluster preseason, Schiano says he's confident the line will play well this season.

"I feel very strongly about Davin," Schiano said. "I think Davin is going to come out and play Davin-like. I feel uncertain about Nicks, because that's what it is, it's uncertain. And then the rest of the guys, I feel confident they're going to play well, the guys that have practiced all camp, they're going to play well.

"I mean, there were issues (in the preseason). But that could be said for every O-line over the course of the season some weeks. Overall, I'm confident. I just wish there was more certainty at the left guard, but everybody has got their issues and that's ours."

Bucs uncertain about Nicks, offensive line 09/02/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 2, 2013 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and ... whom else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  2. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  3. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.
  4. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?


    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: What went wrong on defense?


    Greg Auman is back from Buffalo, going back over a difficult finish and tough loss for the Bucs, in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Buffalo Bills tight end Logan Thomas (82) makes a touchdown catch over Bucs defensive back T.J. Ward (43) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]