Anthony Davis' play has pleased Bucs coaches, but the team would like more depth at the left tackle position
Charged with the responsibility of protecting their quarterbacks from some of the top defensive ends in the league, left tackles are vital to an offensive game plan, so it's no surprise that Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden is looking to improve the team's depth at that position.
"Obviously with Chris Colmer and Torrin [Tucker's] status what it is, we've worked out a couple of guys last week and everybody has our phone number and knows that we would be interested in looking into any tackle situation, given our present injury situation," said Gruden after Thursday's practice.
With Colmer sidelined for the year with a non-football illness and Tucker hampered by a knee injury, second-year man Scott Jackson has assumed the back-up role to starter Anthony Davis. While Davis started all 16 games last season, the lack of depth at the physically demanding position is less-than-ideal, especially considering the Bucs will see the likes of John Abraham, Mike Rucker, Terrell Suggs, Darren Howard and Osi Umenyiora this season.
The situation led to the sighting of a familiar face at the team's facility Thursday – that of former offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy who quietly worked out after the team's morning practice. Kennedy, 35, played under Gruden when he coached the Oakland Raider and was a longtime linchpin of the Raiders' offensive line before retiring after the 2003 season due to a variety of injuries.
For now, Gruden stressed, the team is only taking a look at Kennedy in response to receiving a phone call from the retired lineman.
"Oh he's a friend of mine," Gruden said. "He called and wanted us to work him out, so that's what we're doing. I take care of friends. It's a nice thing to do.
"I don't want to speculate on [Kennedy's possible return to the NFL] until I get a chance to see how the tapes look, things of that nature. It kind of came as a surprise to me, honestly, but we take everything seriously when players call, especially players who call and have played really good in the league. Again, I'm not going to raise speculation other than we're looking into his situation."
And though the left tackle situation will continue to attract Gruden's attention, the upcoming game against the Jacksonville Jaguars remains his primary focus. After turning in practices earlier in the week of which he was somewhat critical, the team responded Thursday with what Gruden labeled "a good practice" with "good tempo."
"We're looking forward to going out and playing a really good team," Gruden said. "Jacksonville, obviously, went to the playoffs. They've got some really big characters and fast guys on their team. They're well-coached. It will be our first road trip together. We want to go out and play better. We want to see some guys again, one more time. We've got to make some tough cuts, shortly. We'd like to see some guys pick it up."