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Demar Dotson won't be starting, despite thinking he would

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Demar Dotson has finally returned to the roster after spending the first half of the season on injured reserve. The right tackle was set to sign a new contract before tearing his MCL in the preseason, and so the logical assumption was that he'd return to the starting lineup as soon as he was healthy. But Demar Dotson won't be starting this week, the offensive tackle told the media yesterday.

"I was told last week that I'd be ... back in the lineup, and I was told this morning I wasn't," Dotson said, via the Tampa Bay Times. "It was tough, especially because I was told I was (starting). They want to keep the continuity of the O-line and all that. It's hard to accept, but it's the nature of the business. You kind of want to rely on what somebody tells you, but you realize at the end of the day it's a business."

Lovie Smith disagreed with that version of events, suggesting at his press conference yesterday that he never told Dotson he'd start, merely that he'd be "active and he would be ready to play." That's curious, and it seems there's some miscommunication there. Or perhaps Lovie Smith and other coaches changed their minds in the mean time.

Regardless, it seems Dotson will have to wait a little longer to get on the field as the Bucs are now sticking with Gosder Cherilus, who's been up-and-down as the starter. With right guard Ali Marpet injured now, the Bucs could certainly use an  infusion of talent on the right side of the offensive line, though.

Of course, neither Dotson nor Smith hinted at the rest of the season and it's conceivable they're allowing Dotson to get acclimated to playing a game before putting him back on the field for 60+ snaps in a game. We'll see how this plays out in the future.