Uncertainty Looms For Nicks, Bucs Offensive Line

carl-nicks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano still doesn’t know the status of Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks heading into Week 1 against the New York Jets.

Nicks is currently undergoing treatment for MRSA, a highly-resistant form of staph, and the timetable for recovering from that type of infection varies from person to person. Nicks has been undergoing treatment with antibiotics for roughly two weeks.

“[It’s] too early to tell,” Schiano said during his Monday press conference before practice at One Buc Place. “Right now we just have to get the best five on the field. We’ll evaluate that when we know definitively about Carl.”

Schiano wouldn’t specify who would replace Nicks in the likely-scenario that he doesn’t Sunday, but during the first 30 minutes of practice open to the media, it was Gabe Carimi lining up as the starting left guard.

Another option would be to slide starting center Jeremy Zuttah to left guard and put backup center Ted Larsen in at center.  All five members of the Bucs offensive line are capable of playing the position.

On the positive side, the Bucs will have their other Pro Bowl guard, Davin Joseph, back out on the field. Joseph suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in his knee during the preseason last year, forcing him to miss the entire season.

He made his return against the Dolphins and played in the first quarter, in which the unit did not give up a sack and had a 1-yard touchdown run from Brian Leonard.

“I feel very strong about Davin. I think Davin’s going to come out and play Davin-like. I feel uncertain about Nicks because that’s what it is, it’s uncertain. And the rest of the guys, I have confidence that they’re going to play well.”

The offensive line did struggle in the preseason without its starters, giving up 13 sacks, which tied them for eighth-most in the league. There were also struggles in protections. And the run game didn’t look exceptionally strong, averaging 3.5 yards per carry.

Still, Schiano remains optimistic.

“Overall, I’m confident. I just wish there was more certainty at the left guard. But everybody’s got their issues, and that’s ours.”

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