TAMPA — Gabe Carimi, who started in place of Carl Nicks at LG in the first two games before being diagnosed with mononucleosis, appears ready to return for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Carimi lost 20 pounds and said he was sleeping 14 hours a day because of mono, which also caused his spleen to be enlarged.
“I don’t think he can go in and play 70 plays right now,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano said, “but I thought he practiced well this week. He caught my eye doing some good things and he’s going to be able to play for sure.’’
Nicks didn’t play until Week 3 because he was battling a MRSA infection. On Thursday, the Bucs said the MRSA has returned to Nicks’ left foot.
Carimi was acquired from the Bears in June in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. Also in the mix at left guard is veteran Ted Larsen, who can also play center if Tampa Bay decides to shift Jeremy Zuttah into Nicks’ spot against the Eagles on Sunday.
The Bucs capitalized on the timing of the early bye week, using extra practice to sharpen the timing between rookie QB Mike Glennon and his targets, WR Vincent Jackson said.
“It’s always going to help us to get more reps together,’’ Jackson said. “Mike’s done a great job. He’s spent extra time doing a lot of film. We’ve done some routes after practice just to make sure, mentally, we’re on the same page, seeing the defense the same way.
“He’s up to speed; I don’t really have any questions about him. When he’s back there in that pocket, he knows exactly where he needs to go with the ball and he’s going to make great decisions.”
Jackson remains optimistic an offense averaging 11 points per game will soon get untracked.
“I think it’s there,’’ he said. “We just haven’t been able to get to those opportunities in the games thus far, but there’s a lot of football left and I think that we will.”
In six NFL starts, Philadelphia QB Nick Foles has posted only one victory, rallying the Eagles to a 23-21 triumph against the Bucs last December at Raymond James Stadium.
Foles threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns on a day Tampa Bay marked the 10th anniversary of the 2002 championship club. Foles became only the third rookie in NFL history to pass for at least 350 yards and two scores, while avoiding an interception.
The Bucs signed 23-year-old rookie G Patrick Omameh off San Francisco’s practice squad. ...Tampa Bay has dropped its past five home games. ...The last time the Bucs beat the Eagles, Matt Bryant kicked a 62-yard field goal in the final seconds at Raymond James Stadium to rally Tampa Bay past Philadelphia 23-21 in 2006.