TAMPA – Bad backs are like cable or satellite TV service. At some point or another, often when you least expect it, they go out on you. When they do, it’s never convenient.
Buccaneers right guard J.R. Sweeezy has a bad back. It was so bad last year that it had to be surgically repaired, ending his first season with the Bucs before it began, and backs that are surgically repaired have a tendency to go out more than those that aren’t.
Well guess what? Sweezy’s back went out on him. No one is quite sure when, but it seems as though it was yesterday in practice because Sweezy suddenly showed up on the Bucs injury report, listed as limited because of his back.
There is good news on that front this morning, though. The Bucs aren’t totally sure of course because you never really with bad backs but this tweak doesn’t seem to be all that bad.
The word we have out of One Buc Place is that Sweezy may even be back at practice today and that at this point at least, there is nothing to suggest he’s going to miss Sunday’s game against the Giants.
That has the Bucs breathing a sigh of relief because they’re already being forced to shake up their lineup at linebacker because of injuries and they certainly don’t want to have to do the same with their offensive line.
It would be interesting to see how they go about that, though. Even in the wake of a tough game last Sunday at Minnesota, where he was responsible for at least two bad snaps, The Bucs are committed to keeping former starting right guard Ali Marpet at center.
Should Sweezy go down, though, and with that bad back of his that’s always a possibility, they might opt to move Marpet back to right guard in an effort to keep their five best offensive linemen on the field.
That would leave either Joe Hawley, last year’s starter who has yet to play this year, as one option at center. The other would be Evan Smith, who has been splitting time at left guard with Kevin Pamphile.
Much to the chagrin of a lot of their fans, the Bucs passed on the opportunity to fortify their offensive line during the draft this year. The expected return of Sweezy was just one reason for that.
The Bucs also believe that offensive line is actually one of their deepest positions, largely because so many of their players there can play multiple positions.
That’s a good thing but the last thing they want to do is have to test that depth. At some point or another they’ll probably have no choice, what with Sweezy’s bad back and all, but it doesn’t look like that time is now.
At least not just yet.