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2011 Season in Review: Offensive Guard

What happened in 2011

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed Davin Joseph to a seven-year $53 million contract with $19 million guaranteed this offseason, and he was one of the few players who didn't disappoint. Joseph had a very solid year, especially as a run blocker, and earned his second Pro Bowl berth. The

The left guard position wasn't nearly as well-filled, however. While second-year player Ted Larsen started at left guard early in the year, he was quickly benched for Jeremy Zuttah - who promptly looked like a very good player for about three games, before injuries struck and he once again returned to his mediocre (but not poor) form.

That injury and a later injury to Jeff Faine forcing Zuttah to move over to center gave Ted Larsen some extra playing time, but he failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Neither Larsen nor Zuttah could produce consistently at the position, leaving the Bucs with more question marks for the 2012 season.

2012 Outlook

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a clear starter at right guard: Davin Joseph, Pro Bowler. Joseph is still young and should be a staple on the line for years to come, really. At left guard the Bucs do not have a set starter, however. With Jeremy Zuttah a free agent and possibly moving to center if re-signed, Ted Larsen is likely to play a big role next season. Derek Hardman is a versatile backup, but he hasn't impressed with limited opportunities either.

In this case the Bucs would do well to find some competition for Larsen somewhere. Either by bringing Zuttah back and keeping Jeff Faine at center, or by moving Zuttah and finding another guard in free agency or the draft. I would expect them to do so, although I doubt they'd invest much in terms of money or draft picks.

2012 Options

A number of very good guards will hit the market this season. Most notably New Orleans Saints guard Carl Nicks, but Ben Grubbs and Evan Mathis are no pushovers either. If the Bucs want to reinforce their offensive line, they can easily do so in free agency.

The draft could provide some good players too. David DeCastro looks like a future star, but the Bucs likely won't select in the first round - and he won't make it to the second round. Behind DeCastro, Cordy Glenn, Kelechi Osemele and Kevin Zeitler are a few players who could be available for the Bucs in the second or third round.

Projected depth chart

Ted Larsen (left guard), Davin Joseph (right guard), New Addition, Derek Hardman