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Buccaneers shuffling offensive linemen

TAMPA, Fla. -- All the buzz about the offensive line has been about the arrival of rookies Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet. But, very quietly, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made a couple of position switches on the offensive line.

Defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo has been moved to guard. Patrick Omameh, the starter at right guard last year, has been moved to tackle. Neither is likely to win a starting job, but they could end up being key backups.

Offensive line coach George Warhop said Masifilo is doing a good job of learning a new position.

“Matt is hungry and he is like a sponge,’’ Warhop said. “Every day he comes out here he gets a little bit better. We know it’s going to take some time, so we are patient with him. I like the fact that he shows up every day and wants to get better. He doesn’t shrink to criticism. If you say “you are doing this wrong. You need to try that’’. He says ‘OK, I’m going to do it.’ If he goes about it that way, he will progress quickly.”

The Bucs have Logan Mankins as one starting guard and they’re hoping Marpet can handle the other spot. That would leave Masifilo competing with Kadeem Edwards and Garrett Gilkey for the backup spots.

Omameh struggled at guard last year, but the Bucs believe he might be better suited to tackle.

“I think that is going to help him,’’ Warhop said. “I’ve been impressed with him out there so far because he has not done it (in the past).

Smith is expected to start at left tackle with Demar Dotson returning on the right side. Omameh likely will compete with second-year pro Kevin Pamphile for the job as the top backup tackle.