TAMPA — RT Jeremy Trueblood has started 84 of the 94 NFL games he has played, more than only a handful of players on the Bucs' roster.
But after being replaced at right tackle two weeks ago by Demar Dotson, Trueblood is coming to terms with the fact that it might be permanent.
"I feel like their decision's made," Trueblood said of coaches. "So I'm just going to continue to do what I have to do. It's the NFL and people get hurt all the time. I don't wish anything upon anyone, but you just have to be ready. Someone could get sick. Anything can happen. Preparation is important."
The seventh-year player and former second-round pick by Tampa Bay could spend the rest of his contract year on the bench. That would strongly suggest he could look elsewhere next season, another fact Trueblood said he is beginning to digest.
Sunday against the Redskins, Trueblood had a new experience: He was inactive when healthy. He said coach Greg Schiano was clear in explaining the decision, to have backup linemen with versatility active.
"I'm a right tackle," Trueblood said. "That's just what it is. I've never played anything else. (Schiano) told me straight up. He said, 'The other guy (Jamon Meredith) can play guard and tackle, so you're inactive.' I can't question a man's decision."
Given the Bucs' struggles in running, they perhaps could use Trueblood's proven run-blocking ability. Dotson is the better pass protector.
Trueblood is earning $4 million, down from $5 million after he restructured his contract in July.
BLITZ BREAKDOWNS: The defense had communication errors on two blitzes during the Redskins' winning drive in Sunday's loss, defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said.
The first mistake, on first and 10 from the Washington 35, led to a coverage breakdown and a 20-yard completion to wide-open TE Fred Davis. Two plays later, on second and 6 from the Tampa Bay 41, the Bucs line slanted the wrong direction and lost containment of QB Robert Griffin III, who gained 15.
"As often happens in a critical time of the game, one was a guy (who) got turned loose in coverage and the other was because of the direction we had called the pressure and a miscommunication at the line of scrimmage, we didn't have the pocket contained in the other one," Sheridan said. "So it ends up being very blatant and severe issues at the most critical part of the game."
PROGRESS REPORT: Schiano, asked about the state of his team in this bye week, said it's been a mixed bag. "We're 1-3," he said. "We've played some good football. Not good enough to be 2-2, 3-1 or 4-0. But (players) believe in what we're doing and they're working their tails off. As long as we keep doing that, we'll be good."
ROSTER MOVE: The Bucs signed former 49ers TE Nate Byham, who played in college at Pittsburgh under current Tampa Bay tight ends coach Brian Angelico. A sixth-round pick in 2010, Byham played in 14 games and started three as a rookie with the 49ers, catching five passes for 27 yards. DE Jeff Charleston was released.
TIME OFF: Today is the week's final practice. The Bucs will pick up game planning for the Chiefs next week.