Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Panthers' Anderson (2-0 vs. Bucs) prepares to start against Bucs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Derek Anderson is preparing as if he will start at quarterback for the Panthers against the Bucs in the game scheduled for Monday night with Cam Newton in the league's concussion protocol.

Anderson took reps with the first-team offense for the second straight day Thursday while Newton was absent from the outdoor practice.

Coach Ron Rivera had no update on Newton's status, saying he wouldn't make a decision on the league's 2015 MVP until later this week.

"We are not forcing players to get onto the football field," Rivera said emphatically. "We will do exactly as the protocol tells us and what the doctors and experts tell us."

The NFL is investigating how the Panthers handled a helmet-to-helmet hit Newton took in the fourth quarter of a Week 1 loss to the Broncos. Newton stayed in and completed the game despite a ferocious blow to the head. The league had no update on that investigation, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Newton was one of six starters who didn't practice Thursday.

Running back Jonathan Stewart (hamstring), left tackle Michael Oher (concussion), defensive end Charles Johnson (quad), linebacker Thomas Davis (hamstring) and cornerback James Bradberry (foot) also sat out. Six other starters, including wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., were limited in practice as injuries continue to mount for the struggling Panthers (1-3).

The Panthers have "absolute confidence" in Anderson should he be pressed into a starting role, Rivera said.

Anderson is 20-25 as an NFL starter, but 2-0 since joining the Panthers six years ago. Both of those wins came against the Bucs in 2014.

"He's done a great job for us," Rivera said. "He's been here the whole time and has been very steady. And guys have confidence in him as well, and that's very important."

Rivera said the game plan wouldn't change if Anderson starts, though he joked he probably would elect to hand the ball off more when it comes to running the read option.

Newton has struggled this season with only six touchdown passes and five interceptions in four starts. He has been sacked 13 times.

Newton left Sunday's game against Atlanta in the fourth quarter when he took a hit from linebacker Deion Jones on a two-point conversion run. Anderson relieved Newton and threw two touchdown passes to get Carolina back in the game. However, two costly interceptions of Anderson in the closing minutes, and the defense's inability to get a stop, were costly in the 48-33 loss.

The Panthers face the Saints a week from Sunday and then have a bye, so it's possible they could err on the side of caution and keep the franchise quarterback out until Oct. 30.

"If I do end up playing, I want to prepare and not let my teammates down," Anderson said. "I know the expectations are high and the bar has been set here. … We still have a lot of good football players in this room, and we can turn this thing around."

If Anderson starts, look for him to key on tight end Greg Olsen.

Olsen caught 18 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown in the two games Anderson started against Tampa Bay in 2014. The duo also hooked up for a touchdown and a two-point conversion last week against the Falcons.

"He's probably better than a lot of starters in this league," Olsen said of Anderson. "We're happy to have him and lucky to have him."

Panthers' Anderson (2-0 vs. Bucs) prepares to start against Bucs 10/07/16 [Last modified: Thursday, October 6, 2016 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)