Buccaneers: J.R. Sweezy impressing at camp
By James Yarcho
One of the biggest questions surrounding Buccaneers training camp is the revamped offensive line and a missing component from last year is standing out early.
There’s not a lot that has Buccaneers fans worried heading into 2017. There are plenty of weapons around Jameis Winston, there is a defense that turned it on the second half of 2016 and the defensive coordinator has returned, and there is Dirk Koetter entering his third year with the franchise – second as head coach.
Offensive line, however, is a bit of a concern.
A lot of people are all-in on the move of Ali Marpet from guard to center. Demar Dotson had a bit of a down year after signing an extension during camp last year. The big question mark is whether or not J.R. Sweezy can return to form after missing all of last season with a back injury. As it stands now, the man Sweezy is in charge of protecting is impressed with his play. Winston had this to say following practice Wednesday;
"“J.R. Sweezy is a beast out there, man. I’m happy that he is able to play this year and you can see the tenacity in his eyes because he didn’t get a chance to play last year. Like I said, what we’ve been doing is just taking advantage of our opportunities. Whatever they give us, whatever we have [to work with], we have a chance out here to get better. We’re going to make sure we come out here and get better and not leave anything out there.”"
There’s something to be said about a motivated man. Sweezy is hungry and out to prove himself after his stint on IR last season. Adding someone with the kind of power and “nasty” like Sweezy to the line will not only bring an attitude but will help in opening up the run game for the stable of backs on the Bucs’ roster.
Head coach Dirk Koetter is confident in Sweezy and the offensive line as well as the cohesiveness they are building already;
"“Last year was tough for J.R. because had to be around, but he couldn’t be in the mix. Of all the position groups out here, O-linemen hate that the worst. The group is very accepting of J.R. He’s fit right in with the guys. J.R started 50-something games at Seattle, so it’s not like he forgot how to play. But, he just has to get back to the daily grind of it and how his body feels. He came off back surgery, so he’s just got to get used to it again. He’s fine, he’s where he needs to be after five practices.”"
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The offensive line development is something to watch for as training camp continues. The Buccaneers are a mere nine days away from their first preseason game in Cincinnati.