Bucs' guards might not be so bad

TAMPA, Fla. -- A lot of fans are nervous about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive line. There's been skepticism in the media because the Bucs don't have any clear-cut starters at guard and the candidates don't have a lot of experience.

After Carl Nicks left the team because of a toe injury, the Bucs have been rotating Jamon Meredith, Oneil Cousins, Patrick Omameh and Kadeem Edwards at guard. But coach Lovie Smith said he's not particularly worried about the offensive line.

"To me right now, I have concerns about every position on the team," Smith said. "I haven't seen any live action with our football team. I'm anxious to see what we have. I know we've looked good in drills. [All-Pro defensive tackle] Gerald McCoy is a dominant defensive lineman inside. We've been judging our guards based on going against him and [defensive tackle] Clinton McDonald and players like that and they've held their own."

Smith has a point. The guards aren't going to have to face a player like McCoy every week. The practice sessions against him should be making the guards better.

Here's another thought I have about the guard situation. Yes, it's less than ideal. But the Bucs are better off at guard than they were last season when veteran Davin Joseph was struggling and Nicks was missing all but two games. Joseph had a dismal year as he tried to recover from knee surgery. The Bucs used several players at Nicks' spot and didn't get great results.

This year's guards might not be experienced, but at least they're healthy and they should only continue to get better.