Defensive line a huge question mark
After last night's whipping at Carolina, the area you should be most concerned about as a Bucs fan is the defensive line.
Aside from a nice rundown of Jake Delhomme by DE Kevin Carter, there was not much to brag about from the Bucs' front four. And, compounding the problem, the Bucs aren't guaranteed to have DT Jovan Haye or NT Chris Hovan at Atlanta on Sunday.
Haye missed Monday's game and, boy, was he missed. Haye (knee) has been very solid against the run and has even provided some sporadic pass rush. He was replaced by Ryan Sims who, as I've noted recently, had been making plays of late. The problem is he was called upon to play a lot more snaps than usual on Monday, and that's when he becomes ineffective. Stamina is perhaps an issue for him, too. Sims has been at his best when used in small doses. Elsewhere, DE Gaines Adams was nowhere to be seen against the Panthers. Ditto for DE Greg White.
Hovan sustained a knee injury Monday but told me in the locker room he would be fine. Still, coach Jon Gruden today referred to him as "questionable" for Atlanta, leaving a lot of doubts about whether the Bucs will hold up against the Falcons, a second straight opponent with a potent rushing attack. Not sure where the Bucs would turn if Hovan was to miss the game, but it likely would require a lot of playing time of second-year DT Greg Peterson, a 2007 fifth-round pick who has played very sparingly this season.