The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a pretty deep and versatile group of offensive linemen, and they’re very happy with their players. That always seems to come as a shock to fans, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Sorry folks.
That they’re happy with their players doesn’t mean they’re going to stick with the lineup they had last year, though. Obviously, last year’s big-name signing J.R. Sweezy is now healthy and expected to earn a starting position, pushing one lineman to the bench.
If things stay the way they are, the lineman heading for the bench is left guard Kevin Pamphile — but Dirk Koetter said today at the NFL owners’ meeting that they’d look at shuffling the offensive line. According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs head coach said he’ll look at playing Ali Marpet at center and Sweezy at right guard, while JoeBucsFan notes that Kevin Pamphile could take over at right tackle.
All of that is a little curious given that the Bucs re-signed center Joe Hawley, although his contract isn’t so expensive that it would demand a starting spot. Marpet is athletic enough to be a potentially dominant center, while Hawley has a tendency to get overwhelmed.
Potentially, the Bucs could start the season with an offensive line consisting of Donovan Smith at left tackle, Kevin Pamphile at left guard, Ali Marpet at center, J.R. Sweezy at right guard and Demar Dotson at right tackle — which would be a massive, road-grading line with a lot of athleticism.
Whatever happens there, it’s clear there will be some real competition for starting spots along he offensive line. That’s always a good thing.