When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed J.R. Sweezy to a five-year, $32.5 million contract, they envisioned him playing left guard opposite Ali Marpet, with Joe Hawley or Evan Smith at center.
One year later, and things look very different. Ali Marpet has moved to center, Kevin Pamphile is at left guard because Sweezy missed all of last season with a lingering back injury and Sweezy...is now at right guard, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman.
Sweezy is at right guard, where he played in Seattle. Marpet at center, Pamphile at left guard. Could change, but that's Bucs' plan for now. https://t.co/feVDPfSfzn— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 26, 2017
That’s probably for the best. Sweezy played right guard with the Seattle Seahawks and did well there as a punishing run-blocker and inconsistent pass-blocker. Those strengths and weaknesses fit better at right guard than left guard, because Jameis Winston is right-handed and can more easily see and adjust to pass-blocking failures on his right side.
More importantly, this means a little less shuffling for the Bucs. Pamphile did well at left guard and won’t have to adjust to a new position, and neither will Sweezy. Marpet will have to get used to playing center, but the Bucs maintain that that was the long-term plan all along anyway.
All of that hinges on Sweezy being healthy and ready to go now. So far so good: he’s been participating in practice, and he wasn’t exactly happy to be sitting on the couch last year.
“It was the hardest year of my life, just not to play football and be with a new team – it’s pretty much the worst possible scenario.”
Hopefully, he’ll have an easier go of it this year. Get on the field, open up some holes for Doug Martin (or someone else...), protect Jameis Winston, and win a whole bunch of games.