TAMPA – The Buccaneers floppy hat brigade, that crew of players watching from the sidelines for one reason or another, grew by two when the team returned to practice on Tuesday after a day off on Monday.
One of the newcomers, projected starting right guard J.R. Sweezy, was just getting a veteran’s day off, according to Bucs coach Dirk Koetter. The other one, middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, was not.
Alexander hobbled away from the Bucs workout on Sunday at One Buc Place and he appeared to have his left hamstring wrapped up while he walked the field taking “mental reps’’ with the team on Monday.
The Bucs have not said what it is that’s ailing Alexander, and while they’re confident the issue is not one that will keep him out long term, there is no guarantee of that.
Though Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Alexander was simply feeling “a little tight,’’ the Bucs were waiting for the results of an exam that will determine the true severity of the problem.
The Bucs expect to have those results by the time they take the field tomorrow, so there may be more to report on the issue then, but for now you can safely say that these are nervous times at One Buc Place.
The Bucs have taken strides during this camp to make sure they get to the start of the season as healthy as possible, but there’s really no way to control that and Alexander isn’t the only example.
The Bucs are hurting along the offensive line as well, where injuries to right tackle Demar Dotson and backup right tackle Caleb Benenoch and Sweezy’s day off forced the Bucs to go with an interesting alignment on Monday.
The Bucs moved left guard Kevin Pamphile to right tackle to fill that hole; placed former center Evan Smith at left guard to compensate for the movement of Pamphile and had backup center Joe Hawley at right guard.
Meanwhile, Ali Marpet, who played right guard and played it rather well for two years before moving to center this year, stayed in the middle. That suggests the Bucs do intend to keep him there no matter what.
As for Alexander, the Bucs filled the hole there by moving rookie Kendell Beckwith from the two-down strong-side linebacker spot to the middle and inserting Adarius Glanton into the strong-side spot opposite weakside linebacker Lavonte David.
If the news the Bucs eventually get regarding Alexander’s injury, whatever it may be, turns out to be bad, that’s the base alignment the Bucs could open the season with.