The Bucs fall to division rivals New Orleans in the Superdome - 11/6/2011
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday October 16.
Ntohing beats a win in on national TV in front of a sold out crowd!
By Tom Krasniqi
The way I see it, there are four premium positions in the NFL these days: quarterback, left tackle, pass-rushing defensive end/outside linebacker and cover cornerback. The Buccaneers believe they have the franchise QB in Josh Freeman. Adrian Clayborn had a terrific rookie season at defensive end and the team hopes he takes that next step in becoming a double-digit sack guy. Aqib Talib is a good cover corner when healthy. So there are 3 check marks, but what about the all important left tackle spot? Donald Penn’s play regressed last season and is now battling a calf injury. His replacement is Demar Dotson, a guy who didn’t play college football at Southern Miss, but played some basketball.
With Penn out of action for a while, Dotson will be the starter at the critical position of left tackle with the enormous responsibility of protecting Josh Freeman’s blind side. Nobody knows how long Penn will be out. There is talk he may only play in the 3rd preseason game, which is usually the dress rehearsal for the regular season. In the meantime, Dotson will get a chance to display his talent. Dotson is a huge man, listed at 6-9 and 315-pounds. He does display some good athleticism for a man his size. “It’s going good, I’m working every day. It’s a process”, Dotson says. “When I’m called up in a game, I have to be ready to go”.
Every day in practice, Dotson gets a healthy dose of defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Last week, Clayborn told me that he’s trying to beat down Dotson every chance he gets. Dotson says going up against a guy like Clayborn in practice is only helping him become a better player. “That guy [Clayborn] is a battler and I love going against him. I think he’s real good and it makes me better”, says Dotson.
All eyes will be on Dotson this Friday night when the Bucs open the preseason at Miami. Dotson will face one of the league’s better pass rushers in Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake. Schiano has been extremely pleased with Dotson so far. “I have confidence in Demar. He’s busted his tail. From the day I got here, the guy’s been here every day….I trust him”, says Schiano. Schiano called Friday’s matchup against Wake “a nice welcome party” for Dotson. Dotson says his goal on Friday is getting better and “doing my job in winning the battle” against Wake and the Dolphins.
Dotson credits Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks with helping him out and understanding what to look for on each given play. Nicks is known for nastiness on the field and Dotson believes he’s in the same mold. “You can’t make a man to be nasty. You either have it or you don’t”, says Dotson. When asked if he had that same streak of nastiness, Dotson emphatically replied “Oh I got it”. Freeman is certainly hoping so.
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