The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been toying with the idea of playing Jeremy Trueblood at guard for the past week. Today, he took the majority of the snaps at right guard with the starting offense. It's not clear whether that will carry over into Sunday's game, but the Bucs are serious about trying Trueblood at the position.
Earlier this year, the offensive line looked like a strength, with Trueblood the only weak link. Yet when Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph went down, the Bucs didn't have a quality replacement. Ted Larsen has been starting at right guard in Joseph's stead, but Larsen is a weak run blocker and has a tendency to miss players when he pulls. Larsen has been a big reason the running game hasn't gotten off to a good start, though the running backs and Erik Lorig have contributed to that as well.
Still, the Bucs want to kickstart the running game, and replacing Larsen seems like the easiest path. The question is: can Trueblood play guard? At first glance the move seems to make sense: Trueblood has always been a good run blocker, while his liability was pass protection and specifically dealing with edge speed. He wouldn't have to worry about speedy defensive end running circles around him at guard, and his run-blocking skills could help get the offense going.
Yet some problems arise when we think about this issue a little longer. Can Jeremy Trueblood play low enough to win inside in the trenches? Offensive line play is all about leverage - and Trueblood has a tendency to play a little high. He's a tall guy, and that's fine as an offensive tackle, but when you're going up against defensive tackles you need to stay really low to the ground. If Trueblood can do that, he should be fine - but I don't think he can.
Tampa Bay appears to be convinced he can play guard. If he can, they may have solved their problem at guard for this season. But if he can't, the Bucs may be looking at a disaster on Sunday.