Since Demar Dotson took over as the starting right tackle on the Buccaneers’ offensive line in Week Two, veteran Jeremy Trueblood has been inactive for two of the last three games. Against New York in Week Two, he was overcoming an ankle sprain, and last Sunday he was placed on the inactive list as a coaching decision based on position flexibility among the O-line reserves.
However, Trueblood remains a valued asset to the Bucs’ coaching staff, thanks to both his seven years of NFL experience and his very driven approach to the game. As such, with the bye week offering a little extra time for experimentation around the depth chart, the staff has been looking at the viability of Trueblood playing other positions along the offensive line, including right guard.
“This week we don’t have an opponent so we’ve done some different things [with] Blood, with Dot taking over at the right tackle,” said Schiano. “There’s nothing permanent ever in this business but for now if [Dotson] keeps playing well then he’ll keep [the right tackle job]. We’ve tried to move Blood around a little bit because I love his competitiveness, his fight, his desire. We’ll take a look at him at different spots, we’ll see.”
Ted Larsen has started all four games at right guard following the season-ending knee injury Pro Bowler Davin Joseph suffered in August. The Bucs aren’t necessarily looking to make a change at any spot on the O-Line, but adding positional flexibility among all the candidates is obviously a good thing.
“When you lose a guy like Davin you have to really work to figure out what’s the best way to fill in,” said Schiano. “I won’t say ‘replace’ because I don’t think anyone’s going to replace him; he’s an All-Pro player. But we have to fill in for him. Ted is in the mix still and Cody Wallace and Jamon Meredith so there’s a bunch of guys.”
Run-blocking is considered the strength of Trueblood’s game – along with that competitive demeanor – which would be an asset on the interior line. Trueblood’s height – at 6-8 he’s second on the Bucs’ roster only to Dotson – would be unusual for a guard, but he is at least getting an opportunity to see if it could work.
“It’s done; there are guys in our division that are doing it, so it can be done,” said Schiano. “It’s a matter of, are you willing to do the things it takes to get the job done and I know he is. ‘Can he?’ is the question. We’ll figure that out.”