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Hot Reads: Bucs C Zuttah hopes to stay put

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Published:   |   Updated: August 22, 2013 at 05:49 AM

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If Jeremy Zuttah is changing positions again, it's news to him.

Zuttah has showcased his versatility with the Bucs since being selected in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Rutgers, where he played for Bucs coach Greg Schiano. Zuttah's 60 career starts range from center (16) to left guard (39) and right guard (5).

Zuttah's natural position is center and he anchored Tampa Bay's line for the first seven games last fall before switching to left guard for the remainder of the season after a left toe injury to Carl Nicks required surgery.

Nicks is still recuperating and now is trying to overcome a blister on his left foot that could sideline the former Pro Bowler for awhile.

“As of right now, I'm playing center,'' Zuttah said Wednesday when asked whether he's taking practice snaps in Nicks' spot. “I'd like to try and settle in and try to master one position. I think that's what anybody would prefer to do, but whatever the team asks of me, I'm always willing.''

If Zuttah remains at center, veteran Ted Larsen is likely to get the call at left guard until Nicks returns.

Regardless of Tampa Bay's starting cast up front, Zuttah is seeking extended playing time in Saturday night's third preseason game at Miami.

“We just want to get into a rhythm,'' Zuttah said. “We haven't had many plays this preseason. This will be our chance to put some good things on tape and move this offense forward.''

In the spotlight

A weak pass rush has undermined Tampa Bay's defense in recent years and DE Da'Quan Bowers is expected to provide consistent pressure off the left side.

Injuries have plagued the former Clemson standout through two seasons and Schiano has challenged Bowers to reach double digits in sacks in 2013. Heading into Saturday's matchup, Bowers has yet to prove he can develop into an effective every-down force off the edge.

“I think the ceiling is unknown,'' Schiano said. “I think he can be a really fantastic player. Consistency is the big thing right now, but I do think he's making strides. I think he's improved in this training camp.''

Quote of the day

“We've made a lot of changes in the offseason to get this team stronger. I'm just excited to see all this stuff unfolding.'' -- CB Leonard Johnson on the potential impact of CB Darrelle Revis and S Dashon Goldson.

Upcoming schedule

PRESEASON

Saturday: at Miami, 7:30 p.m. (NBC, Ch. 8)

Aug. 29: Washington, 7:30 p.m. (NBC, Ch. 8)

REGULAR SEASON

Sept. 8: at New York Jets, 1 p.m. (FOX, Ch. 13)

Sept. 15: New Orleans, 4:05 p.m. (FOX, Ch. 13)

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