Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Joseph returns to key role for Bucs

TAMPA — Although the buzz surrounding the Bucs the past two seasons has been about the arrivals at the airport — from New York, Darrelle Revis; passenger Dashon Goldson from San Francisco; paging Vincent Jackson from San Diego; please pick up the white courtesy phone, Carl Nicks from New Orleans — a homegrown talent might play the biggest role in their success this year.

Davin Joseph was among the last standing in an autograph line after another training camp workout Friday.

While reporters swarmed like moths to a flame around the hot names, Joseph, a two-time Pro Bowl right guard, walked alone to the training facility for another round of treatment before meetings that would go well past dark.

"We look at having a veteran group, a smart group, athletic, tough and with physical guys," Joseph said of the Bucs' offensive line. "So to me, it still continues to be the strength of our team. That alone is motivation coming back and knowing guys expect a lot from me, and I expect a lot from them.

"This training camp, I'm anxious to push guys, anxious to be pushed. We'll have our hard days and sore mornings and all that good stuff, but it's just football. I'm just glad to be playing football again."

Last year at this time, Joseph was having one of the best preseasons of his career and looking forward to becoming half of one of the top guard tandems in the NFL with Nicks, a two-time Pro Bowl player who arrived as a free agent.

But late in the first half of a preseason game Aug. 24, Bucs left tackle Donald Penn lost his leverage against a Patriots player and pushed that player to prevent a hit on quarterback Josh Freeman. But the player went right into Joseph's planted right leg, tearing his patellar tendon.

Penn was visibly upset after the play and had to be calmed by coach Greg Schiano.

"It really hurt," Penn said. "You see your best friend get hurt and hurt very severe, and you're one of the reasons why it happened. I felt awful, very awful."

Joseph will tell you it's just a part of the game, the roulette wheel of severe injuries a player hopes to avoid.

"In this league, there's not much time for pity parties," Joseph said. "I've got to work."

A few weeks later, Nicks, having played with excruciating pain in his left foot, was forced to have surgery to repair a torn plantar plate and was lost for the season.

"You don't replace those two guys," Schiano said. "So if we can get them back healthy — they're right on path to do that — they bring not only really good play, but they're both guys who have played in this league and have been successful. And that always helps when you have those guys in your huddle."

One of several team captains, Joseph said he found it hard to lead from the training room. He did what he could, but his biggest contribution was committing to getting healthy as soon as possible.

"It's just letting the guys know that you're working hard to come back," he said. "Guys have respect for that."

Joseph spent time expanding his charitable work in the community through his foundation. He ran a football camp in his hometown, Hallandale. He went to every baseball game played by 9-year-old son Ali. He was part of an eight-day NFL-USO tour of the Middle East, including visiting troops in Afghanistan.

"It's a blessing in another way," Joseph said. "You've got to turn that negative into a positive some way."

With Joseph and Nicks back, the Bucs' offensive line could take teams behind the woodshed. And perhaps because it's his job again, Joseph already is protecting Freeman.

"We haven't been to the playoffs yet," he said of their four seasons as teammates. "To be a good quarterback, you've got to go to the playoffs. If you want to shut (critics) up, win a Super Bowl. So let's go do it."

Rick Stroud can be reached at [email protected]

Joseph returns to key role for Bucs 07/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 11:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  4. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe

    College

    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]