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Buccaneers have early injury concerns on right side of offensive line

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s only the first preseason game, and it’s not as if the Buccaneers were going to show an awful lot on offense with their first two units, anyway. However, injuries have mounted up already in the first two week of camp and it means that some young and inexperienced players will be called upon to play some early on Thursday night in Miami.

First, the longest current tenured (nine seasons) Buc is RT Demar Dotson (above), and he is progressing nicely from off season knee surgery. Dotson has been back at practice but has also been held out of some reps and even entire workouts, while they bring the soon to be 33 year old along.

Dotson did practice on Tuesday during 11 on 11 work, but is not expected to see the field for Thursday night. Late last season the Bucs used former UCLA star Caleb Benonoch as a backup at right tackle, but he has also been nursing an undisclosed injury.

The Bucs had wanted use Benonoch at right guard some in this camp, but that is also on hold.

Good news is that Benenoch was able to practice Tuesday. It’s unclear how much, if at all, he will try to play against the Dolphins. The Bucs also have a young veteran tackle in Leonard Wester, but he’s been out of practice, including Tuesday. So, he is not likely to play in game one.

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter, addressed the banged tackle depth after Tuesday’s workout:

“We don’t necessarily want Donovan Smith to play with the threes (third team) because we don’t have any tackles left. We have some issues at a couple positions like that right now. Some positions better than others and we’ll work them out. We’re going to go out there and compete our tails off on Thursday night. I’m looking forward to it.”

Smith is anchoring the left side with Ali Marpet having moved to left guard for this season and new free agent Ryan Jensen in the middle. It’s believed that rookie and former Division II football star Alex Cappa, who’s taken some first team reps, will play significantly in the first half at right guard along with veteran Evan Smith.

As for the right tackle? It’s anyone’s guess until we see it Thursday night.

The Bucs announced late Tuesday afternoon that they had signed second year player T Jarron Jones, who was in the Giants training camp and also on the Cowboys practice squad last year.

Jones won’t be an option for Thursday, but maybe beyond.

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