Which five Bucs have the most to gain — and the most to lose — at training camp? Bucsblitz.com has the scoop for you in this exclusive analysis Just click here to find out who made the list.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters -- LT Luke Petitgout, LG Arron Sears, C Jeff Faine, RG Davin Joseph, RT Jeremy Trueblood. Backups -- T Donald Penn, G/C Dan Buenning, T Anthony Davis, T Chris Denman, C Andrew Economos, G Brian Johnson, T Dennis Roland.
Petitgout should be healthy and ready to go for training camp after injuring his knee last year. He helped solidify the left tackle position for Tampa Bay before his injury. But he’ll see stiff competition from Penn, who took over for Petitgout and made serious strides in his play at the end of last season. It should be a competitive situation.
Sears and Joseph are the heart of the line. The Bucs want a road-grading interior that can open up holes for the running game. Both have Pro Bowl potential. Joseph improved greatly last season and Sears played above average as a rookie. Sears and Joseph also proved adept at pulling from their positions for running plays, greatly increasing the line’s versatility. Expect both to improve.
Faine was awarded the richest contract ever to a center to add toughness in the place of John Wade. He’s no bigger than Wade, but he’s more physical and, at age 26, is entering his prime. Chris Hovan called Faine the toughest lineman he played last year.
Trueblood earned an All-Pro vote from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King and settled into the right tackle position nicely. There are still scouts that believe he plays too high in his stance and can be leveraged out of position. But he gave up few sacks last year and improved as a run blocker.
Buenning and Davis should be the top backups, and both are in the final year of their deals. That makes players like Denman, Johnson and Roland all the more intriguing. The Bucs will likely keep eight linemen, leaving one spot for the final three players.
Economos is the long snapper and should make the team regardless of what happens. He didn’t mishandle a single snap last year.
Which five positions battles are going to keep Buccaneers coaches and fans interested the next six weeks? There are key battles that could determine the Bucs’ success this season. What are they? Get expert analysis and predictions from Bucsblitz.com. Just click here to find out who made the list.
They were the nine biggest stories of the offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. How did the Bucs do in the magnifying glass of hindsight? Did they do the right things to attack their team needs and keep the team on the winning track? Matthew Postins of bucsblitz.com examines those storylines and their impact on the upcoming season in his exclusive group of articles:
Vol. 1 — the coaching staff.
Vol. 2 — the secondary’s future.
Vol. 3 — is Jovan Haye a future star?
Vol. 4 — the precarious state at running back.
Vol. 5 — who will eventually replace Joey Galloway?
Vol. 6 — Jon Gruden’s contract extension.
Vol. 7 — What should the Bucs do at center?
Vol. 8 — re-signing a key tight end.
Vol. 9 — assessing the return game.
We’re gearing up for training camp at Bucsblitz.com. Today we’ve posted our first Mailbag feature, with answers to questions on Greg White, Jeff Garcia and a potential breakout player. Just click here to check it out. Part 2 will include an answer on Brett Favre and be published later this week.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla.