Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp Preview: Offensive Guards

TAMPA - JULY 31: Defensive tackle Brian Price #92 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers works against offensive lineman Davin Joseph #75 during Training Camp at One Buccaneer Place on July 31 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently have no competent starting offensive guards on the roster. Davin Joseph is a free agent, Ted Larsen showed some promise last season but was barely adequate, and Jeremy Zuttah seems to be out of the picture as a starter. 

Davin Joseph should be a priority for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The free agent has been a very good drive blocker for the Bucs, and he is a solid pass blocker despite a poor 2010. Davin Joseph may be the top offensive guard on the market, though, and the Bucs will have to shell out to keep him. In addition to that, Joseph has made it clear that he wants to play alongside Jeremy Trueblood, and the Bucs may not be willing to grant that wish given Trueblood's poor play over the years. 

At left guard, the Bucs have Ted Larsen penciled in as a starter. I'm not sure why Jeremy Zuttah seems to have disappeared from the conversation, though. I thought Zuttah looked good when he was on the field, especially as a pass blocker, while Larsen looked marginal. While Larsen should be improved next season with an offseason of strength work, Zuttah should at least be able to give him a run for his money. 

At right guard, though, there seems to be little competition. If Davin Joseph is re-signed, he'll be the starter and won't actually have to worry about his job. If he isn't re-signed, the Bucs have no one to take over. Derek Hardman started a couple of games for the Bucs and didn't look horrifying, but he shouldn't be more than a backup. The Bucs also have Brandon Carter on the roster, who is most famous for his face paint. While that makes him look really intense, it doesn't make him a good player, and he didn't see the field last season. The Bucs also have Marc Dile and John Malecki as backups, but neither of those players has seen the field yet either.

So if Davin Joseph isn't re-signed, the Buccaneers will need to find a replacement in free agency. The market looked pretty strong for guards, but the good players have been taken off the market: Logan Mankins and Ryan Kalil have been franchised. This leaves some second-tier but solid players, like Green Bay's Daryn Colledge (who was offered a tender and signed it, although he should still be an unrestricted free agent), Atlanta's Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock, Baltimore's Marshal Yanda and Arizona's Deuce Lutui. Any of those players would make a competent starter, although none of them would match Davin Joseph's talent. 

In the end, I do think the Bucs re-sign Davin Joseph: he's too talented to be let go. But if they don't manage to do so, there are plenty of alternatives on the market. One thing is certain: they have to spend on the offensive guard position. 

 

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