Today marked the day that veterans reported to training camp and Ali Marpet gave an update on his transition from center to left guard this offseason. Tampa Bay Times reporter Greg Auman tweeted this video clip where Marpet explains how the move to a new position has gone.
Video: Bucs’ Ali Marpet said his transition from center to left guard has gone well heading into training camp. pic.twitter.com/tNW2GgJjcr— Greg Auman (@gregauman) July 25, 2018
Marpet started his career at right guard and had an impressive rookie season. He only improved on that start in his second year and looked to be on the verge of playing at a Pro Bowl level. The Bucs coaching staff wanted to get a bigger presence in the middle of the offensive line, and with 2016 free agent right guard J.R. Sweezy finally healthy after a back injury forced him to miss all of 2016, Marpet was moved to center for the 2017 season.
Although Marpet played pretty well at center, the offensive line as a whole underperformed and top free agent center Ryan Jensen was brought in and Marpet, in a surprise move, was moved to left guard. The progression of Marpet at left guard will be one of the main storylines I’ll be watching for during training camp. Him playing well would hopefully give the offensive line a dominant side, for running the ball, like fans saw in Logan Mankins last season in 2015. The guard play on the offensive line last year really underwhelmed at times and contributed to the 40 sacks on Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston. Another storyline about his move to left guard is that Marpet is in a contract year. Unless the Bucs resign him before (the should) or during the season, his level of play could influence what type of deal he can demand at the end of the season.
Will he be able to replicate the success he had at right guard? Will his presence help Donovan Smith be more consistent in his 4th year? Those answers will go a long way in deciding if the Bucs have a winning 2018 season.