TAMPA FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Jake Delhomme #17 of the Cleveland Browns throws a pass as defensive tackle Brian Price #92 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers closes in during the game at Raymond James Stadium on September 12 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Steve Wyche of NFL.com ran into Bucs DT Brian Price, and talked to him about his injury. It seems that Price is coming along but he's not fully recovered yet. He's begun lifting weights, but hasn't begun running yet. Price sustained a hip injury at some point the past year, and while he was able to play through the pain and the injury he was largely ineffective until he was placed on IR early November. He had surgery for a hip fracture afterwards, and four screws were placed in his pelvis. Previous players who have come back from hip surgery include DeAngelo Hall and Ed Reed. The Baltimore safety had surgery right after the 2009 season concluded, and was back on the field 7 weeks into the 2010 season. He seemed to have no problem with his hip injury, leading the NFL in interceptions with 8 in just 10 games. Because Brian Price had surgery back in November, it's conceivable the Buccaneer defensive tackle could be ready for the season opener.
Last year's second-round pick got rave reviews in training camp, when he was singlehandedly destroying practices with his quick first step. But training camp isn't a real game situation, and he was unable to make an impact on the few occasions when he got on the field in 2010. Hopefully a successful rehab will allow him to get back that first step, and some more time spent with the coaches should allow him to dominate as a defensive tackle. He certainly has the tools to do so.
However, the Buccaneers still plan to use Brian Price at nose tackle, while he has played 3-technique throughout his career. On passing downs this doesn't make much of a difference: whether he is asked to penetrate as a nose tackle against centers or as a 3-technique against guards, he will still make an impact if he beats the lineman across from him. He won't be asked to simply hold the point and soak up blockers in pass-rush situations, but he'll be asked to shoot the gap and get to the quarterback. Compare it to what Jay Ratliff was asked to do in Dallas the past years. On running downs this is different, and I do not know if Price has the skills to be a run-stuffer at the position as his natural game is all about penetration. But that's why the Buccaneers have Roy Miller as their starting nose tackle. I'd expect Price to rotate with McCoy at the 3-technique on running downs, then, and for both of them to be on the field as penetrating tackles on passing downs.