TAMPA - JULY 31: Tackle Donald Penn #70 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers works with Jeremy Trueblood #65 on a blocking drill during Training Camp at One Buccaneer Place on July 31 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Jeremy Trueblood and Davin Joseph have been starting for the Buccaneers for five years now. Both were drafted in 2006 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and both have been starters since their rookie seasons. Both are punishing run blockers who have 'anchored' the right side of the offensive line for years now. But where Davin Joseph has turned into a very good player, if a little inconsistent, Jeremy Trueblood has done the exact opposite. Trueblood first struggled with personal foul penalties. Then, false starts and holding penalties were his nemesis. And while he seemed to have fixed that in 2010, he was still a liability as a pass blocker. When he lost his starting job because of injury, he couldn't win it back from backup James Lee.
It's easy to see:Jeremy Trueblood has been a weakness and is not worth a new contract. But the two players don't seem to agree. They've played together their entire career and want to continue doing so. For his part, Trueblood sounds like a dedicated professional who will have no problem accepting a backup job. "I don’t think anything in the NFL is ever given to you, so I don’t expect anyone to be like here be our starter," says the former second-round pick to Pewter Report.
In the end, though, the Bucs will have to do what's best for them. And what's best for them is to bring back Joseph, and not Trueblood - not as a starter, anyway. Signing Trueblood as competition may be a good idea, but it is unlikely that he will beat out James Lee: he's simply not a good enough pass-blocker. Unless the team decides to forsake pass blocking just to run the ball (and that would be a terrible idea), Trueblood will not be the starter - and his and Joseph's dream of forming a tandem throughout their career will end next season.