The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered a crushing blow to their offense on Tuesday when it was announced that Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks was placed on injured reserve, a move that ended his season.
Nicks, who signed a massive five-year, $47.5 million deal in the offseason, has been dealing with a toe injury nearly all season long and requires surgery to repair the torn plantar plate in his left toe. Despite being limited with the injury, Nicks was able to start all seven games up until this point.
The All Pro will now join fellow guard Davin Joseph, who was lost in the pre-season with a knee injury, on injured reserve, leaving the Bucs with only two of their original starting five offensive linemen.
Make no mistake about it, the loss of Nicks, who is widely considered to be the best guard in the NFL, will impact Tampa Bay's offense immensely. In the month of October, no offense has been hotter than the Bucs'. The Bucs put up over 34 points per game and averaged 472 yards per game.
When a team hands an interior lineman nearly $50 million, there is no way to replace a player of that caliber. Expect the Bucs to use Larsen, who initially filled in for Joseph to start to the season before losing his job to Jamon Meredith, to try and fill the void left by Nicks.
But Nicks is a mammoth blocker and no one they use will be as effective as him. Take for example rookie Doug Martin's production. When Martin runs to the left side, he is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. On the right side, Martin is only averaging 3.2 yards per carry.
Expect a big drop in offensive production across the board now that Nicks has been lost for the season.
In addition to losing Nicks, the Bucs also placed tight Danny Noble on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
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