TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have used the same five starting offensive lineman for four consecutive games, but soon that lineup could be upset by the return of Demar Dotson.
The 6’9”, 314 lb. stalwart has been out with a knee injury since the preseason, but he’s eligible to return this week.
“I feel pretty good,” said Dotson on Wednesday. “I’m ready to go, but nobody told me nothing and so I guess I’m not going. I don’t know.”
Dotson has not been added to the Buccaneers 53-man roster, and thus is not listed on the team’s injury report. Head coach Lovie Smith said there was a chance Dotson could be activated this week, but it appears unlikely since Dotson is still taking repetitions with the scout team instead of the starting offense.
“I went out there for our walk-through and it’s the same old same old, just out there on the scout team,” detailed Dotson. “I’ve been practicing for two weeks so I think I’m ready to go out there and play a full game.”
Dotson’s return presents a champagne problem for Tampa Bay. Who would the Buccaneers remove from the starting lineup to make way for him? Would the Bucs swap out Dotson’s replacement at right tackle, Gosder Cherilus? If history is any indicator, the answer is no. Center Evan Smith is healthy, but seems to have lost his starting job to his replacement, Joe Hawley.
“When players come to you, you ask them: ‘Hey, are you ready to go?’ You are going to get the same answer always,” said Smith. “If they have a broken leg you are going to get the same answer. ‘Yeah, I’m ready to go. I’m feeling a lot better.’ That’s the case. Then we, on game day, make those decisions. We want to have as many good options as possible. That’s the case. Demar is making progress. He hasn’t played. It’s been a long period of time since he’s played. We’ll see how it goes. He’s back in the mix.”