Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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."

Comments
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18