Yardbarker Horiz

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Faine, Vincent, And Now Trueblood Not Practicing

Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Jeff Faine continues to be sidelined with a quadricep injury sustained in Week 6 against the New Orleans Saints.  Faine was inactive in Week 7 against the Saint Louis Rams and is not expected back for at least a couple more weeks. Unfortunately, while Faine heals, things are continuing to get thinner on the Buccaneers offensive line.

Let me start by stating I owe Ted Larsen a big, fat apology for thinking he would not see the field this season.  Larsen made me look foolish and I will not underestimate the young man again.  Arriving in Tampa the day after training camp in a post-roster-cutdown haul pulled together by General Manager Mark Dominik, Larsen stepped in at left guard and helped Tampa Bay defeat the Saint Louis Rams, pushing their record to 4-2.  Less than 10 days ago, Larsen was on the practice squad.  Now he has an NFL game under his belt.  Hats off to Larsen and Offensive Line Coach Pete Mangurian for all their hard work being ready to step in and play.  Larsen was pressed into service because veteran guard Keydrick Vincent ended up inactive last Sunday due to back issues.  Vincent missed quite a bit of practice time last week as well.  The extent of his injuries are not known, but he did not practice on Wednesday this week either.

It could have been a complete disaster up front as veteran guard Davin Joseph was nursing a sore knee last week.  Fortunately, Joseph was able to play.  It is not clear if this will be something which nags Joseph for the rest of the season, but for now he appears to be the steady force in the middle of the Buccaneers offensive line.

During the Saint Louis game, Jeremy Trueblood left with an knee injury.  It now appears the injury is more serious than was hoped.  Trueblood did not practice on Wednesday, meaning the Buccaneers could possibly be three men short up front going into the weekend.  This is clearly a bad situation which has gotten worse.

In weeks past, the Buccaneers have taken seven offensive linemen into game day.  If all three injuries are serious the Buccaneers may be promoting another player from the practice squad to the active roster.  It will not be G John Malecki who was added to the practice squad this week after the promotion of OT Derek Hardman last week.  That leaves G Brandon Carter (6'7" 344lbs) and T Will Barker (6'7" 230lbs) as promotion candidates should the team feel the need to tap the practice squad.  However, if the Buccaneers promote another lineman they will have 10 offensive linemen on their 52-man roster, meaning not only will the offensive line be thin, but other areas may also have a shortage of bodies when it comes to making the 45-man game day roster.  The season is almost half over, meaning there is far too much football yet to be played to put any of these men on injured reserve (and thereby losing them for the season).  General Manager Mark Dominik has some serious decisions to make.

The Buccaneers cannot afford any more significant injuries to the offensive line -- they need their most experienced players taking the majority of the snaps if they are going to keep up a playoff pace.

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