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Bucs could pursue Nicks
Posted Feb 21, 2012 by Ira Kaufman
Updated Feb 21, 2012 at 03:17 PM
BY IRA KAUFMAN
TAMPA—When you listen to Tampa Bay’s new braintrust, it quickly becomes evident the Buccaneers want to be a nasty bunch in 2012.
Raheem Morris often talked about physical play when he stood at a podium, but the Buccaneers were never particularly aggressive while going 17-31 in the past three years. If the new regime is serious about the Bucs imposing their will on opponents, targeting Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks makes a lot of sense when free agency begins March 13.
If the Saints don’t slap the franchise tag on Nicks, Tampa Bay could be very interested in his services. He would fit in snugly at left guard, opposite Pro Bowl right guard Davin Joseph, and the Bucs could boast one of the premier offensive lines in the NFL, with Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood manning the tackle spots.
If Jeff Faine returned at center, Jeremy Zuttah would be a valuable reserve, versatile enough to play any spot up front. With Nicks aboard, the Bucs could decide to move Zuttah to center, his most natural position.
Either way, Nicks would set a tone for nasty play that would reverberate throughout Tampa Bay’s offensive line.
A team with a powerful offensive line doesn’t need big-time playmakers to put up big numbers. A decade ago, the Kansas City Chiefs led the AFC in total offense three consecutive seasons behind a dominant front led by Hall of Fame left tackle Willie Roaf and perennial Pro Bowl guard Will Shields.
Signing Nicks wouldn’t be a sexy move for a franchise that craves more attention, but he would give new offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan the tools up front to implement a dynamic offensive scheme.
If Nicks hits the open market, he’ll attract a bevy of suitors willing to spend serious money. The Bucs would have an opportunity to help themselves, while seriously damaging a division rival.
That 1-2 punch represents serious motivation.