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Friday, Feb 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs benefitting from Trueblood's silent turnaround

TAMPA - Tampa Bay Buccaneers right tackle Jeremy Trueblood has been almost invisible this season. It could be that Trueblood is having the best season of his six-year NFL career. "Once you stop talking about a tackle, that's usually a good thing," coach Raheem Morris said. Trueblood has not been penalized or given up a sack in Tampa Bay's three games. He handled defensive ends Ray Edwards of Atlanta, Brian Robinson of Minnesota and Cliff Avril of Detroit.
Tampa Bay is also averaging nine yards per carry (second in the NFL) when it runs to Trueblood's side, according to nflgsis.com, a website for the NFL's Game Statistics and Information System. Indianapolis left tackle Robert Mathis will attempt to end Trueblood's streak of success on Monday Night Football, but Bucs teammates believe Trueblood's revitalization can continue. "I think this is his best year since he's been a Buc," left tackle Donald Penn said. "He's really come into his own. He's playing some great ball." Trueblood did not always have that reputation. Trueblood had 10 penalties as a rookie in 2006, according to NFLGSIS.com. He had 10 in 2007, 11 in 2008 and a career-high 12 in 2009. Trueblood had only four penalties last season, but lost his starting job to James Lee after injuring a knee in Week 6. Since reclaiming his spot during training camp, Trueblood has played like a different man. "With age and playing come more opportunities to see different things," Trueblood said. "I feel like I've seen a lot in the NFL. I'm very prepared. I have a great offensive line coach (Pat Morris), great offensive coordinator (Greg Olson) and they put us in the right positions. It's just our job to execute." One area Trueblood has improved in is preventing false starts. Of his 47 career penalties, 28 are false starts. "There is no excuse for that kind of stuff," Trueblood said. "Consistency at quarterback helps that. Every quarterback has a different rhythm and that helps a little, but that's not the whole thing. "The whole thing is not having your mind right before the play and knowing what you're doing. I didn't know what I was doing in the past, but it helps when you've seen it all so you can sit there and anticipate." Trueblood's progression is what Mark Dominik, Tampa Bay's general manager, anticipated when he re-signed him prior to this season. He also re-signed Lee in hopes competition would make each player better. So far, the plan has worked. "It was very important during the lockout, specifically at that position," Dominik said. "Trying to bring a new person in to learn a brand new offensive system in a limited amount of time was a big part of the decision to retain Trueblood. "There was a lot of faith and belief in Pat Morris and what he could continue to do to enhance Trueblood's career. I think he's playing a lot more consistent football up to this point. That's a testament to Pat Morris' ability as a coach." Pat Morris refused to take any credit for Trueblood's improvement. "I think through the years he's grown to have some patience and not have that anxiety," Morris said. "Obviously, he's just growing into himself. I really haven't done anything special." Trueblood's play has been special this season. He has played so well, nobody is talking about him. "I'm just going to continue to do the little things," Trueblood said. "Coming in to work on my off days, doing what I need to be doing as far as watching extra film, getting my nose in the playbook and just being prepared. That's all there is to it. There is nothing that replaces being prepared to help you tackle any obstacle."

arichardson@tampatrib.com (813) 259-8425