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Nicks Has Surgery, OL Could Shuffle

Posted Oct 16, 2013

Wednesday Notes: G Carl Nicks, who has missed all but two games this season due to a toe injury and a subsequent infection, had surgery on Tuesday night and the timetable for his return is not yet known...And other notes

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • With Carl Nicks unavailable and Davin Joseph held out of practice, the Bucs did some O-Line tinkering Wednesday
  • Rookie QB Mike Glennon has quickly impressed his offensive teammates with his poise and command of the huddle
  • WR Mike Williams was limited Wednesday but two cornerbacks returned to practice after a long absence
Last week, after it was learned that the MRSA infection had returned to the toe of Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano said there was a "whole gamut" of possible ways the ailment might be treated.  One of those possibilities was surgery.

On Tuesday, after seeking another expert opinion, Nicks was indeed advised that surgery was his best course of action.  That procedure took place without delay.

"Carl got an opinion outside of town and they decided they were going to do the surgery last night," Schiano reported on Wednesday after the team's practice.  "They did the surgery and he’s doing well. I don’t have a timetable for [his return].”

Obviously, Nicks has already been ruled out for the Buccaneers' game in Atlanta on Sunday (see below for a full Wednesday injury report).  Thus, the team is working on a plan to replace him at left guard, and it's possible that position will see its fourth different starter in just six games.

The Buccaneers at least experimented on Wednesday with the option of moving starting center Jeremy Zuttah to left guard and inserting reserve Ted Larsen in center.  That's a plan the team is familiar with, as it's the exact move that was made last season when Nicks first landed on injured reserve with his toe ailment.  Larsen is a very experienced reserve; he has already started 28 games over three-plus seasons, spending much of his 2010 rookie campaign at left guard and the last nine outings of 2012 at center.  The Buccaneers' offense remained productive last year after the switches with Larsen and Zuttah, ending the campaign with team-record 389 points.

As the practice week continues, the Bucs may try out other options.  Gabe Carimi, originally an offensive tackle by trade, started the first two games at left guard and Larsen took over that spot last week after Nicks got in two games.  The Bucs will look for the right five-man group to try to break through Atlanta's sixth-ranked rush defense on Sunday.

“Just trying different combinations," said Schiano.  "We’ll figure out by the end of the week what’s the best combination.  Whoever is up, we’ve got to go play them and we got to go block them. We’ve got to protect the quarterback. That will be a challenge this week, for sure. They’re playing good run defense, like I said, and they’re getting after the quarterback.”

-- Ted Larsen started at LG Sunday but saw time at center in practice
The entire middle of the Bucs' offensive line looked different on Wednesday, as Jamon Meredith spent a lot of time at right guard.  Davin Joseph, was held out of the workout due to a minor knee injury he sustained against Philadelphia on Sunday, but Schiano is hoping to have the team's other Pro Bowl guard back in action soon.

"He’s going to be okay, I believe," said Schiano.  "He just got hit in the game and we thought he would be able to practice today, he didn’t quite feel right so we held him out, but hopefully he can practice tomorrow.  I think he’s going to practice tomorrow; I hope so.”

* Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon now has two NFL starts under his belt, but he's still in a for new experience on Sunday.  When the Bucs take on their division rivals in the Georgia Dome, it will be Glennon's first NFL start on the road.

The former North Carolina State star has played in the Georgia Dome before, however.  In fact, he led the Wolfpack into the 2012 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game against the Tennessee Volunteers in the Falcons' home a little over a year ago, on August 31, 2012.  Tennessee won the game, 35-21, but the experience gave Glennon an idea of the kind of noise the building can generate.

“I played in there once before, and it is loud," he said.  "I’m sure it’s going to be amped up a little bit. That dome really keeps the sound in there. That just makes me have to prepare that much more to be on top of our game plan, that way, if you can’t always hear everything in the headset or whatever the communication [issue] may be, I think that just shows how much more we have to prepare – myself as a quarterback and as an offense – that way, if we’re not all able to hear each other perfectly, we still are able to understand what we’re trying to do on that play because we’ve prepared so well that the noise isn’t a factor.”

Glennon's teammates will be watching him to see how well he handles this latest obstacle, should Atlanta fans turn up the volume.  So far, they've been impressed with how quickly the 23-year-old has become comfortable in a starting role.

Until you go out there and [perform], you can only have so much credibility. I feel like the guys look at me a little different now.
-- QB Mike Glennon
“He did surprise me a lot," said starting left tackle Donald Penn, who is protecting Penn's blind side.  "I’m not going to lie, I was a bit worried the first game, when he came in, but his poise, his leadership too, it’s surprising, especially being a rookie. He’s coming out there, getting us going, keeping us calm in the huddle. I was getting ready to say something and he said it before I could. He’s doing a great job of that and taking control of this offense."

In two starts Glennon has completed 50 of 86 passes for 466 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.  His fledgling passer rating of 70.2 is not yet where the Buccaneers need it to be, but it is a reasonable starting point as he develops his game on the pro level.  What he has already done is shown enough promise – and enough control – to build his teammates confidence in him.

“Until you go out there and [perform], you can only have so much credibility," said Glennon.  "I feel like the guys look at me a little different now, and I think that’s a good thing and it’ll help us as we go forward.

"It doesn’t really matter who’s at quarterback – if it’s a veteran or not – the team’s still counting on you to win, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to win. If it’s to throw the ball a bunch, then we’re going to do that, and if it’s to run the ball, then we’ll do that. I feel comfortable with whatever the coaches throw at us. I’m good to throw any ball out there."

* Reinforcements are on the way at cornerback.

The Bucs seemed to be getting a bit thin at the cornerback position, with rookie Rashaan Melvin following Anthony Gaitor to injured reserve and veteran Michael Adams still battling his way back from a knee injury.  Pretty soon, however, they should be flush at the position once again.

Not only is Adams nearing his regular-season debut as a Buccaneer  but third-year player Danny Gorrer, who was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list at the start of the season, is following not far behind.

Actually, it's a stretch to call that special designated-for-return" I.R. tag a "list" because each team can only use it on one player in any given season.  The option was just introduced last year, and it is obviously best used on a player who is expected to miss a significant amount of the regular season but who can conceivably still help you before the schedule is complete.  Choosing when to use that single designation is a bit of a gamble – employ it too early and you may wish you still had it available when a key player goes down; save it for too long and it eventually won't be of any use.

The Bucs appear to have gotten it right with Gorrer.  They could use the help, and he looks ready to provide it, as does Adams.

"There's a need to get me and Mike Adams back," said Gorrer.  "We've both been grinding together.  It's been an uphill fight but we're built for this.  That's my saying, and [Adams] is picking up on it: 'We're made for this.'"

Adams was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.  The seventh-year veteran who spent his first six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals played extensively on defense during the preseason and also emerged as a core special-teamer for the Buccaneers.  During his tenure in Arizona he made seven starts in 75 games and recorded 166 tackles, three interceptions, 18 passes defensed and 53 stops on special teams.

Gorrer, who first joined the Bucs on Halloween last year as a waiver claim from Seattle, appeared to be one of the team's most improved players during training camp.  He played in six games last year with one interception and eight tackles and had already intercepted one pass and broken up another in this summer's preseason opener before he went down with a groin injury.

"I started off going well," said Gorrer.  "It was to the point where everybody knew [Darrelle] Revis was there and [Johnthan] Banks was there, and now Danny's starting to arrive.  That's been my drive, to work hard and get ready to help the defense.  They've been playing lights-out on defense and I can't wait to sprinkle in wherever I can right now."

By the rules of the designated-for-return tag, Gorrer had to wait six weeks into the season before he could start practicing again.  He'll now get two weeks to round into shape at One Buccaneer Place before he can first be brought back to the active roster in advance of the Week Nine game at, coincidentally, Seattle.  Gorrer is anxious to put the uniform back on, but even getting back into his practice gear had him smiling on Wednesday.

"It feels real good just to be back out there with my brothers," he said.  "That's the first thing.  Right now I'm just trying to get back in shape and be ready to help the team any way I can.  The guys kept me around, the coaches wanted me around, so I haven't missed a meeting.  I know what's going on and I'm up-to-date on everything.  I'm just happy to be back out on the field with my guys."

* WR Mike Williams was back out on the field Wednesday, too, but he was limited, which means there is still some question as to whether he'll be able to suit up for Sunday's game in Atlanta.  Last weekend, Williams snapped his career-opening streak of 52 consecutive games played when a hamstring injury he's been dealing with for weeks kept him out of action.

Below are the full injury reports for both teams on Wednesday.

Buccaneers:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

CB Michael Adams

Knee

Full Participation

DE Da'Quan Bowers

Toe

Limited Participation

RB Jeff Demps

Groin

Did Not Participate

G Davin Joseph

Knee

Limited Participation

G Carl Nicks

Foot

Limited Participation

WR Mike Williams

Hamstring

Limited Participation

C Jeremy Zuttah

Groin

Full Participation

 

Falcons:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

T Sam Baker

Knee

Did Not Participate

TE Chase Coffman

Knee

Did Not Participate

LB Akeem Dent

Ankle

Did Not Participate

RB Steven Jackson

Hamstring

Did Not Participate

RB Jason Snelling

Concussion

Full Participation

WR Roddy White

Ham./Ankle

Did Not Participate

 

Game Rewind: Tampa Bay Buccaneers