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Meredith Likely to Start

Posted Oct 31, 2013

Thursday Notes: Barring a late change of plans, the Bucs will try another offensive line combination on Sunday, with Jamon Meredith taking over at left guard...And other notes

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Bucs may have their fifth starter at left guard in eight games if Jamon Meredith gets the call as expected on Sunday
  • S Dashon Goldson was limited on the practice field on Thursday, as were several other Buccaneer defenders
  • The Bucs' solid run defense will get a serious test this weekend from Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had more starters at left guard this season than they've had road trips.  Expect both totals to go up by one this weekend.

The Buccaneers are definitely hitting the road this weekend, heading to Seattle for a Week Nine matchup against the 7-1 Seattle Seahawks.  A new starter at left guard isn't quite as certain, but Head Coach Greg Schiano conceded on Thursday that the coaching staff was leaning in the direction of giving the job to veteran lineman Jamon Meredith.

"I’m not sure 100 percent, but I’d think that he’s going to be the guy at left guard," said Schiano.  "We haven’t totally made that decision, but I thought he practiced well two days in a row. Unless something would make us change our mind, he’s done a nice job."

Obviously, the Buccaneers didn't envision such a revolving door at one of their O-Line spots this season.  Left guard was supposed to be in the capable hands of Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks, but a toe injury, a subsequent infection and eventual foot surgery have kept Nicks out of all but two games so far.  Converted tackle Gabe Carimi started the first two games at left guard until Nicks returned, but Carimi battled an illness and was unable to step back in when Nicks went back on the shelf.  The next option was Ted Larsen, followed by a swap of Larsen and Jeremy Zuttah between guard and center.

Now the Buccaneers, apparently keen to keep Zuttah at center, which is considered his best position, are likely going to go with Meredith, the barrel-chested former tackle who started 12 games at right guard last year.  In addition to his experience, the 6-5, 312-pound Meredith brings some added size to the front line.

“[He’s] a bigger guy," said Schiano.  "He’s going to be physical. This is going to be a big man’s game Sunday. They’re big.  He gives us a better physical matchup.  Hopefully the things that I just talked about will give us a chance to move some of those big guys [for Seattle].”

-- G Jamon Meredith started 12 games at right guard in 2012
The Buccaneers' blocking front will be looking to make some inroads against a Seattle defense that has averaged more than three sacks per game so far and is ranked seventh in the NFL against the run.  With Nicks already ruled out for Sunday's game and the timetable for his return still uncertain, the Bucs are hoping Meredith can be part of the answer.

* The Buccaneers' other starting guard, Davin Joseph, is on the weekly injury report, but he has not been limited in practice this week and should start Sunday.  The outlook is a little less clear for safety Dashon Goldson, who continues to battle a knee injury and was limited for the second straight day on Thursday.

Actually, Goldson was one of three Tampa Bay defenders who were unable to fully participate in practice on Thursday, but he was the only one who missed last week's game against Carolina due to injury.  Also limited on Thursday were safety Mark Barron and defensive tackle Derek Landri, while linebackers Mason Foster and Dekoda Watson both went from limited participation on Wednesday to full on Thursday.  Below are the injury reports for both teams.

Buccaneers:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

S Mark Barron

Hip

Limited Participation

RB Jeff Demps

Groin

Out

LB Mason Foster

Hamstring

Full Participation

S Dashon Goldson

Knee

Limited Participation

G Davin Joseph

Knee

Full Participation

DT Derek Landri

Back

Limited Participation

RB Doug Martin

Shoulder

Did Not Participate

G Carl Nicks

Foot

Out

WR Chris Owusu

Foot

Full Participation

DT Akeem Spence

Wrist

Limited Participation

S Keith Tandy

Ankle

Full Participation

LB Dekoda Watson

Shoulder

Full Participation



Seahawks:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

DE Michael Bennett

Illness

Full Participation

RB Derrick Coleman

Hamstring

Did Not Participate

T Breno Giacomini

Knee

Did Not Participate

S Jeron Johnson

Hamstring

Did Not Participate

RB Marshawn Lynch

Knee

Did Not Participate

G J.R. Sweezy

Elbow

Full Participation



* Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch has crossed the 100-yard mark in 17 of his last 33 games, the most of any running back since 2011.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense has allowed just four individual 100-yard rushing games in the last two years, and just five of 80 or more.  As they say, something has to give.

The Buccaneers, who approach virtually every game with the primary defensive goal of stopping the run, don't expect it to be them.  However, Lynch isn't one to give in, either.  His "Beast Mode" nickname was borne of the sort of run where he repeatedly shoved off, fought through or ran over contact from defenders.  His epic 67-yard TD run against New Orleans in the 2010 playoffs remains the gold standard of Beast Mode, but Lynch takes that style of attack into every handoff.

"Marshawn Lynch is a very, very physical, aggressive runner," said Schiano.  "He’s one of the best running backs in this league and he is a guy that likes to get it going downhill. When they’re running that zone-read, they’re making you play assignment defense, so a lot of times it’s a one-on-one tackle with that big strong back. We’re going to have to make those tackles to be effective. Swarm, the first guy gets him, and then we need two or three hats to the ball right now to be able to get him down, that’s going to be critical."

Tampa Bay's defense, led by sideline-to-sideline linebacker Lavonte David, has done a good job of getting to the ballcarrier quickly and then getting extra defenders to the point of contact.  That's reflected in the team's strong defensive numbers, as the Bucs rank eighth in the league in both rushing yards allowed per game (94.6) and yards allowed per rush (3.7).

The one back who did crack 100 against the Bucs this year was Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy, the NFL's leading rusher.  Lynch, who ranks fourth, is a similar challenge, as cornerback Darrelle Revis knows from his tenure in the AFC East.

“I played against him a lot when he was with the Buffalo Bills and I was with the Jets," said Revis.  "The guy, he’s an aggressive runner, a power runner – he’s very tough. He’s tough to get down as well. We do have to gang-tackle him.  The guy, he makes plays. He’s one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the league.”

Game Rewind: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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