No. 4: The Debut of J.R. Sweezy
Heading into the offseason, most fans wanted the Bucs to address their offensive line. And heading into training camp, those same fans are surprised and/or upset that there were no changes made. Tampa Bay is sticking with the group of offensive linemen already on the roster. But the big hope is that 2016 free agency signing J.R. Sweezy will return completely healthy and effective. Training camp will be the first chance to see if that will be the case.
The former Seattle Seahawk was supposed to be a big addition to last year’s line. He signed a five-year deal last offseason, but never saw the field for Tampa Bay due to a nagging back injury. He was officially cleared to resume football activities earlier in the offseason, which means Buccaneer fans should finally get to see the veteran on the field this August. The original plan was for Sweezy to replace the retired Logan Mankins, but his absence caused some unanticipated re-shuffling last year.
Speaking of re-shuffling, the Bucs will do so again now that they have Sweezy back. Heading into camp, it looks like he will assume his spot at right guard. The plan is currently for Ali Marpet to shift over to center, which shuffles Joe Hawley to the bench. Kevin Pamphile will stay at left guard after stepping in last year, while Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson will stay at left and right tackle, respectively. The effectiveness of the offensive line as a whole will be worth watching during training camp, but the Buccaneer debut of Sweezy is an interesting storyline of its own.