Tuesday’s surprise trade with the New England Patriots that brought guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay in exchange for tight end Tim Wright adds some much-needed strength to the Buccaneers’ offensive line.
Much maligned early in the preseason, the Buccaneers’ offensive line is instantly improved with the addition of Mankins, a highly-decorated veteran and Pro Bowler.
Head coach Lovie Smith said at his Tuesday press conference that he hopes fans understand that the Bucs are not in a rebuilding mode.
“Well I should hope from day one that the fans thought it’s about us winning now,” Smith said. “Everything we’ll do every day is to win now.”
When asked if he feels better about the offensive line, Smith responded, “Do I feel better about adding a Pro Bowler to our offensive line? Yes I do.
“I’ve made the statement that we’re always trying to improve our roster,” he continued. “Constantly – it doesn’t stop. We felt good. I talked about how much our team had improved; of course, the offensive line was a part of that. But this is just a guy that we felt like you couldn’t pass on. Not only do we talk about the Pro Bowls that he’s gone to, but [he was a] team captain. Once you get a chance to know Logan, you’ll see what we’re talking about.”
The trade was announced one day after the Bucs met with Richie Incognito.
“We have a process we go through of looking at all available guys,” Smith said. “When guys become available, we look at them. A part of that with Richie, of course, was to meet with him. We had long discussions with him up until last night. And there’s a lot of things going on. We have a great personnel staff that’s evaluating a lot of players right now. You just have to be ready to make decisions when someone like this comes up.”
Smith and the coaching staff are eager to get Mankins up to speed with the offense immediately.
“We’re going to start immediately trying to catch Logan up. We didn’t bring him here to be a backup and sit on the bench and all that stuff,” Smith said. “So it’s about catching him up to date as soon as we possibly can. We have an excellent offensive line coach in George Warhop. Again, as soon as we get him in, we’ll start. He will not play Thursday.”
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