Bucs still have ‘open competition’ for starting left guard spot

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost both of their starting offensive guards this offseason, with Ali Marpet’s shocking retirement, and Alex Cappa signing with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency.

Trading for a quality veteran in Shaq Mason filled Cappa’s spot on the right side, but Marpet’s absence on the left gave way to a wide-open race to claim a rare opening in the starting lineup for a Super Bowl contender.

Rookie Luke Goedeke is battling with returning veterans like Aaron Stinnie for that job, and though the more experienced players appear to be getting more reps with the first-team unit, the second-round pick from Central Michigan is still in the thick of the race.

After Friday’s practice, Bucs head coach Todd Bowles acknowledged the while the veterans might be getting more of the early snaps, it’s still an open competition heading into the preseason.

“He still gets in the mix,” Bowles said of Goedeke. “The other guys have been here. Experience-wise, as we install, they kind of know it already. It’s good for Luke to see somebody do it before he does it, rather than just go out there and just make a mistake that way. We’re getting the older guys in there some that [have] been here. As he gets experience, he’ll play a lot. It’s still an open competition.”

Performance in the preseason games is sure to go a long way towards deciding who replaces Marpet when the Bucs line up against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1.

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Bucs WR Chris Godwin (knee) returns to practice

Story originally appeared on Buccaneers Wire