Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

When line needs arise, Bucs just plug in Pamphile

TAMPA — He has made just four starts in his NFL career, yet has earned the confidence of his coaches and teammates.

He's played primarily as a "jumbo" tight end when the Bucs use a six-man offensive line, yet in all likelihood, he will be a starting guard for the first month of the upcoming season.

Kevin Pamphile has been tasked with replacing not one but two $6 million guards, all while making just $600,000 in his third NFL season.

"He's been looking phenomenal," center Joe Hawley said Monday, having lined up next to him for the entire offseason. "He really came in ready to compete. … It's a great opportunity for him to step in there and show the team what he can do. I don't think he wants to be labeled a backup his whole career. I think he wants to get in there and start."

The Bucs had a seven-time Pro Bowl left guard in Logan Mankins, but he retired after last season. They wrote a big check in free agency to bring in J.R. Sweezy from Seattle, but he's yet to practice with the Bucs, shelved by back surgery that is expected to cost him the first five games of the season.

In steps Pamphile, a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 out of Purdue who has been a backup at tackle and guard, filling in as a starter once last season when Mankins was injured.

First-year head coach Dirk Koetter likes the competition that Pamphile, 25, has shown, preparing as if he's a starter, even when others are in line for the job.

"He's doing well," said Koetter, whose team will practice in Jacksonville today and Thursday with the Jaguars in preparation for Saturday's preseason game. "I've said multiple times that if J.R. wasn't ready, we'd be fine with Kevin at left guard. In Kevin's mind, he was coming out to compete for a first-team position regardless of what happened with J.R., so he's handling himself well, and now he's in position to play."

For the last two practices, Pamphile has actually been the starting left tackle, as Donovan Smith has been sidelined with the flu. It's just a short-term cameo, but typifies his mentality of being ready to help out, wherever he's needed.

"I like to be called the jack of all trades," said Pamphile, who didn't take up football until his senior year of high school in Miami, having averaged a double-double in basketball as a junior. "Dirk Koetter, he's mentioned that to me. Honestly, I own up to that. If that's my nickname for now, I'll take that."

Pamphile has made a career of adjusting. He went to college as a defensive tackle and didn't start on the offensive line until he was a redshirt junior, spending his last two years as the Boilermakers' left tackle.

Offensive line was one of the Bucs' most improved position last season, greatly reducing the number of sacks allowed and clearing a path for Doug Martin to finish second in the NFL in rushing. To continue that without Mankins — and for a while at least, without Sweezy — they'll count on Pamphile to help protect quarterback Jameis Winston.

"I think he's playing awesome football," right guard Ali Marpet said. "I think that he's a starting caliber guard, there's no question. So it's awesome to have that depth."

Comments
Rick and Tom podcast: What does it mean when Bucs GM cringes at expectations?

Rick and Tom podcast: What does it mean when Bucs GM cringes at expectations?

Bucs general manager Jason Licht told Rick Stroud that he cringed at some of the preseason expectations last season, and the outrage from some fans has been more than he expected.In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down what it a...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

Receiver DeSean Jackson stopped short of saying he regretted his decision to sign a three-year, $33.5-million contract as a free agent with the Bucs last March. But he certainly is disappointed in his lack of chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston...
Published: 01/17/18
Bucs LB Kwon Alexander headed to Pro Bowl

Bucs LB Kwon Alexander headed to Pro Bowl

Kwon Alexander is headed to the Pro Bowl.The third-year Bucs linebacker, who led the NFL in solo tackles a year ago, was announced Tuesday as an injury replacement for Seattle's Bobby Wagner.Alexander, 23, won't have to go far, as the game is back in...
Published: 01/16/18

Shrine Game journal: Homecoming for Utah OL Salesi Uhatafe; Quinton Flowers works on snaps

ST. PETERSBURG — Salesi Uhatafe is back in his hometown, and though he moved to Texas when he was still a baby, it’s very much a homecoming as the former Utah offensive lineman plays in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field."I’ll probab...
Published: 01/15/18
Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — Joel Lanning has the unique distinction of being listed as an "LB/QB" on the West roster for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.And while the former Iowa State star spent the entire practice at middle linebacker Mond...
Published: 01/15/18
Bucs GM Jason Licht ‘cringed’ at expectations, optimistic about future

Bucs GM Jason Licht ‘cringed’ at expectations, optimistic about future

TAMPA — It was a brutal year. That’s how general manager Jason Licht views the Bucs’ 2017 season.Start with Hard Knocks and the surrounding expectations, some he embraced and others he "cringed at." They all went unfulfilled, mostly due to injuries, ...
Published: 01/15/18

NFL playoffs schedule

AFCCONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP• Jaguars at Patriots, 3 p.m. Sunday, CBSNFCCONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP•Vikings at Eagles, 6:40 p.m. Sunday, FoxSuper Bowl LIIJaguars or Patriots vs. Vikings or Eagles, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis TV: NBC...
Published: 01/15/18
Jason Licht addresses what went wrong for the Bucs in 2017 and how they plan to fix it

Jason Licht addresses what went wrong for the Bucs in 2017 and how they plan to fix it

It was a "brutal year." That's how general manager Jason Licht views the Bucs 2017 season.Expectations, many of them he said he "cringed at," nonetheless went unfulfilled due to injuries, particularly the right shoulder sprain suffered by quarterback...
Published: 01/15/18
Bucs search for a backup quarterback becomes paramount amid NFL’s probe into Winston

Bucs search for a backup quarterback becomes paramount amid NFL’s probe into Winston

With the NFL investigating allegations against Jameis Winston that potentially could result in a suspension, the Bucs will need to address the backup quarterback position again this off-season."That's another position I always want to do whatever we ...
Published: 01/15/18
Rick and Tom podcast: Who says you need a franchise QB in the playoffs?

Rick and Tom podcast: Who says you need a franchise QB in the playoffs?

The NFL’s final four teams are set, and the starting quarterbacks are Tom Brady, Blake Bortles, Case Keenum and Nick Foles. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down this past weekend’s games, including the Vikings’ miraculous fin...
Published: 01/15/18