Bucs rookie Alex Cappa makes NFL debut as O-line gets different look

TAMPA — After spending the season's 10 games among the Bucs' inactives each week, rookie guard Alex Cappa made his NFL debut Sunday, playing 25 snaps at right guard.

Cappa, a third-round pick out of Division II Humboldt State, said Monday that he's been anticipating his first game action and that a season of practice helped him prepare for his debut.

"It's not too different," Cappa said. "You're obviously getting better being out here practicing every day, but it's good to get the experience. There's really no substitution for experience. … Obviously, I have a lot to work on and a lot to get better at, but it was good to get out there."

Sunday, with the team down one tight end with O.J. Howard out and offensive tackle Demar Dotson battling injuries, the Bucs made eight offensive linemen active.

Dotson left Sunday's game with a knee and hamstring injury, playing just 27 snaps, to the Bucs took a longer look not only at Cappa at right guard — starter Caleb Benenoch played just 48 snaps — but also Leonard Wester at right tackle. Wester recorded a season-high 46 snaps at right tackle filling in for Dotson.

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter, who has said in recent weeks that Cappa's time was coming, said Cappa's inexperience showed, but it was good to get his debut behind him.

"Like a guy getting his first NFL snaps," Koetter said. "Effort, fine. Toughness, fine. But he's been doing a good job in practice and Alex had been coming on, there's no question about that. But the first time you're going against guys going full speed is just a little bit of an eye-opener. We'll see how it goes going forward, but it was good to get him out there. That's for sure."

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