After getting nicked up in yesterday’s practice, left tackle Donovan Smith was sidelined as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put on the pads for the first time.
On the first day of training camp with pads on, the starting left tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was not suited up. Donovan Smith, fresh off of a new contract extension worth $13 million annually, is dealing with a minor achilles injury that has kept him from getting physical with the pads on.
For Smith, who has never missed a start in his career, it is better to get healthy in camp so that he is ready to go by the start of the regular season. In his place at left tackle at practice today was last year’s starting right guard, Caleb Benenoch.
Benenoch was displaced from the right guard spot after playing terribly there a year ago. Now in at right guard is last year’s third round pick Alex Cappa as Benenoch will fight for a roster spot as a backup tackle; getting these starting reps in camp will go a long way for him as he fights to stay with the Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers’ offensive line as a whole struggled mightily last season, ranking near the bottom of the league in rushing. The team decided to make minimal changes, Benenoch being the only move, and hope that a change in blocking scheme will be sufficient to spring Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones on the ground this year.
Losing Smith would be a big blow for the Buccaneers, so it is encouraging to see them being cautious and taking their time with their starting left tackle. As the Buccaneers’ offensive line looks for a massive rebound up front in 2019, Smith and his large pockets will play a major role for them.