When Carl Nicks was placed on injured reserve during the 2012 season, most experts around the league were ready to slam the brakes on the Buccaneers’ quickly growing running game. Doug Martin had just started getting into a groove, and was doing so behind the left side of his offensive line. This meant that Nicks and Donald Penn were paving the way for the Muscle Hamster to get up the field.
There were even fantasy football experts who advised fantasy players to bench Doug Martin against the Raiders because of the patchwork offensive line in front of him. Fortunately, the Bucs were able to put together an offensive line that did well enough to spring Martin for a team record 251 yards and four touchdowns. This meant re-arranging the offensive line, moving Jeremy Zuttah out to guard, and plugging in Ted Larsen at center.
Combine Larsen’s multi-position experience in 2012 with the transition from tackle to guard of Jamon Meredith, and you can see why the Buccaneers’ offensive line coach is excited about what the upcoming season will bring for these young players who were thrown into the fire:
“Hopefully with those reps we dumped into them, they’re going to be able to either be there for us right off the bat or step into that same situation that happened. It was a really good investment. Last year was a good investment that way.”
Combine these two players with Gabe Carimi, who the Bucs acquired from Chicago, and you have an offensive line that goes eight deep with players who have started and performed decently well somewhere on the offensive line. And other than at left tackle, every position on the Bucs’ O-line goes two or three deep, meaning that the Bucs are ready for any scenario that may pop up during the 2013 season in the trenches.