For the entire offseason program and training camp, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been without starting left guard J.R. Sweezy. They were without their starting right guard Ali Marpet on Wednesday.
Marpet had his right ankle in a walking boot and watched training camp practice on the sideline with Sweezy, who is still recovering from a back procedure. Marpet was not using crutches and was able to walk on his own.
Head coach Dirk Koetter declined to provide an update on his health status after practice.
Evan Smith, who is currently battling Joe Hawley for the starting center job, lined up at right guard Wednesday. Kevin Pamphile, a converted offensive tackle, has continued to line up at left guard, as he did all offseason. Smith had previously played guard in Green Bay, and given that this is a run-first team now missing not one but two guards, the Bucs’ decision as to who starts at center might be based on necessity and who has experience at guard.
On the bright side, rookie offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch is finally back practicing after suffering an ankle injury nearly a month ago. Koetter was more willing to talk about the fifth-round pick’s progress.
“He got a few reps today. This was his first day in a long time, so from going from being out as much as he has to playing in a game,” Koetter said, tempering expectations. He said that playing Friday, when the Buccaneers host Cleveland in their third preseason game, would be “a decision for the doctors.”
Strongside linebacker Daryl Smith missed his fifth consecutive practice. Last week in Jacksonville, Koetter said he was taking a “veteran’s day.” That day turned into two, and on Wednesday, it became five. The 34-year-old missed last weekend’s second preseason game. If he can’t go again this week, look for Josh Keyes or rookie Devante Bond to fill in.
Wide receiver Evan Spencer, who suffered a knee injury Saturday against the Jaguars, has not practiced this week. After practice, he did say he was “feeling better and just rehabbing it for now.”