Pewter Report reported last week that Bucs LG Aaron Sears still has not been medically cleared to play due to at least one concussion suffered last season.
This post is not intended to be callous and disregard Sears health, because that is obviously the first concern, but the impact to the Bucs would be fairly large. Sears was begining to look like one of the best young gaurds in the game. Combined with Davin Joseph, you would be hard pressed to find me a better young tandem in the league as far as potential and current ability are concerned.
If Sears is not able to play, swing lineman Jeremy Zuttah would definitely step into Sears’ place. Zuttah was a 3nd round draft pick 2007 and has been a very nice fill in for Sears and for Joseph during times of injuries. I have even speculated this offseason that Zuttah might have gotten a chance to overtake the penalty prone Jeremy Trueblood in Jeff Jagodzinski’s new offense. He is a very solid player, and will fill in just fine for Sears if it were to come down to that.
The biggest issue would then be the depth on the offensive line. Zuttah played every position except Center on the line in college, so having him as a backup is quite a luxury. The Bucs are really only forced to carry two backup lineman as long as Zuttah is one of those two. If he is forced to start, Sean Mahan would be the backup interior lineman and one of the few tackles on the roster currently, or a player on someone elses practice squad would have to come in and backup the T spots. It is possible that depending on the versatility of said player, two T’s might need to be brought in, one to man each side. This will have a direct correlation on the roster as we might not have the luxury of carrying 4 pure running backs, or 6 wide receivers or 7 or 8 defensive lineman.
So not only does Sears injury effect the overall product moving forward, the potential for him to be out could have a devastating effect on the final 53 man roster.