Even before they drafted him three years ago, the Buccaneers always thought Ali Marpet’s best position in the NFL might eventually prove to be center.
Now they plan to find out if they were right or not.
With J.R. Sweezy returning to health after missing all of last year with a back problem, the Bucs are planning to experiment with Marpet at center and Sweezy taking over for Marpet at right guard.
But that’s just one of the experiments Bucs coach Dirk Koetter plans to run with his offensive line when the Bucs begin offseason workouts on April 17 at One Buc Place.
The Bucs initially brought in Sweezy to play left guard, and Koetter said during the NFC Coach’s Breakfast at the NFL Owner’s Meetings in Phoenix on Wednesday that Sweezy will get work there as well.
Oh, and the Bucs also intend to see just what kind of a right tackle Kevin Pamphile would be as they intend to work their projected starting left guard at that spot.
None of this comes as any great surprise. The Bucs have long talked about moving Marpet to center, Sweezy spent his entire career in Seattle playing right guard and Marpet was drafted primarily to play tackle.
Pamphile only wound up playing left guard because the Bucs were in a bind last year, when Sweezy went down with his back problem.
And with Marpet coming off a superb second season at right guard last year, the Bucs didn’t want to mess with a good thing so they opted to move Sweezy to left guard.
Now everybody may be on the move again, but keep in mind, Koetter made it clear these are only experiments designed to prepare for the possibility someone has to move because of an injury elsewhere.
“If you look at our cut-ups from last year we had some strange combinations at guard and center because on game day you can only have seven guys,’’ Koetter said. “So if one guy gets hurt in a game your combinations are going to start moving.
“But anything we experiment with now in the offseason and through the preseason, that’s just that – experimentation to find who the best five guys are and give guys experience at different spots.’’