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Tuck has hands full with Trueblood
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
There are NFL right tackles renowned for their technique and footwork. And then there is Tampa Bay's Jeremy Trueblood.
"He's a mauler," said New York Giants left defensive end Justin Tuck, who will be aligned over the seven-year NFL veteran during Sunday's home game against the Buccaneers (1 p.m. ET, FOX). "He's a guy who's going to try and out-physical you.
"He's not as athletic as some guys that I face but he's a very capable guy. He's a big, strong individual."
The 6-foot-8, 320-pound Trueblood is no stranger to Tuck. The two have clashed dating back to their college days when Trueblood was at Boston College and Tuck played for Notre Dame.
"He doesn't make a lot of mistakes," Tuck told FOXSports.com after Wednesday's practice at team headquarters. "Where he gets into trouble is when he gets guys who can change it up on him and give him different looks. I definitely know what to look for with him. He's going to be a challenge."
Trueblood himself faces multiple challenges from the Giants. He was limited in Thursday's practice because of an ankle injury suffered the previous day, which may not bode well with the quickness of New York's front four. Fourth-year veteran Demar Dotson will make his third career start if Trueblood can't go.
Schematically, the Giants sometimes swap Tuck with right defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to prevent double-teaming and keep offenses off-balance. A third end renowned for his pass-rush prowess, also figures into the mix, allowing New York to shift members of the trio to defensive tackle to exploit mismatches against slower-footed guards.
"Me, Osi and JPP have played left and right (end) and some inside," said Tuck, who has spent all eight of his NFL seasons with the Giants. "We've dropped into coverages. We've played linebacker in certain schemes. Our coordinators have seen the talent we have at end and say, 'We can get a little bit more out of Justin or JPP or Osi in this technique because they have the athletic ability to do so.'"
Trueblood told the Tampa Bay Times earlier this week that he will be "ready for anything" from New York's front four and vaunted "NASCAR" rush. Trueblood and his fellow offensive linemen should be well prepared since two former Giants assistants, Mike Sullivan and Bill Sheridan, are now Tampa Bay's offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively, under new head coach Greg Schiano.
"I'm sure they're going to put some things in to throw us off. They know our strengths and weaknesses," Tuck said of Sullivan and Sheridan. "I'm sure they're going to give us some of the same looks that our offense gives us and have some wrinkles off of those.
"But at the end of the day, we've got to play our keys and utilize what we know about our defense to our advantage and not get ahead of ourselves saying, 'Oh, I know what's coming here because I've seen this look.' Obviously, they're going to change some things up."