The regular season is a little more than two weeks away, and a key component of the Bucs offensive line is suddenly on the shelf.
Ali Marpet was Tampa Bay’s second-round draft pick in 2015, and although he experienced his ups and downs as a rookie, he did start 13 games at right guard. That’s not easy to replace.
Although at this point, the Bucs may not have a choice. It remains to be seen how many games Marpet will play, as Greg Auman for the Tampa Bay Times reports the Hobart product showed up at practice on Wednesday in a walking boot.
Now a walking boot isn’t necessarily the end of the world. The injury is significant enough for treatment, but may not be anything that would keep Marpet out for any great length of time. Then again, the regular season begins on Sept. 11 for the Bucs, so even a minor injury could sideline Marpet for the opener at this point.
It’s not an entirely unfamiliar position for the offense, but if Tampa Bay was hoping to make a push this season, any loss for any amount of time is a potential setback. While the club finished 6-10 last season, this is still a rebuilding squad that can’t afford many major losses. Marpet would certainly qualify.