How Ryan Jensen news impacts Buccaneers in the playoffs

Alex Cappa, Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Alex Cappa, Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers getting Ryan Jensen back for the playoffs is great news on its own. How they choose to use Jensen is another story.

The Buccaneers finally got the news they have been waiting for. Not only is Ryan Jensen back on the 53-man roster ahead of the matchup with the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs, but the dominant center is actually expected to play tonight.

Tampa couldn’t get much more luck in a situation like this.

Jensen is an obvious improvement over anyone else the Bucs could put in that role. Whether it is Robert Hainsey or Nick Leverett, anyone else is going to have their work cut out for them if they truly want to replace Jensen.

The line as a whole is poised to take a major step forward tonight with such an important player back, but injuries could create a new problem that muddies the water further for Tampa.

Who will play left guard?

Nick Leverett played that role well down the stretch but could miss the game. Hainsey might be available if the Bucs are confident Jensen can stay in, but it would be a shift for Hainsey to go from guard to center. Luke Goedeke is the final option, but his play in the regular season should have him far from the starting lineup tonight.

Regardless of who is available, the answer should be simple for the Bucs; put the five best players on the field to defend Tom Brady and worry about position fits later.

Leverett would be the best option, but mixing and matching Jensen and Hainsey is far from a bad thing if that is what it comes to and Goedeke is the only other option.

The Buccaneers are doing what they can with what they have tonight. It might not be a perfect situation, but Ryan Jensen being back should help enough to offset some of the unease for the guard to his left, regardless of who ends up lining up in that spot.

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