Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers: Scouting report

Projected starters

BUCS

OFFENSE

WR: Vincent Jackson

LT: Donald Penn

LG: Carl Nicks

C: Jeremy Zuttah

RG: Ted Larsen

RT: Jeremy Trueblood

TE: Dallas Clark

WR: Mike Williams

QB: Josh Freeman

RB: Doug Martin

FB: Erik Lorig

DEFENSE

LDE: Michael Bennett

DT: Gerald McCoy

DT: Roy Miller

RDE: Adrian Clayborn

SLB: Quincy Black

MLB: Mason Foster

WLB: Lavonte David

CB: Aqib Talib

CB: Eric Wright

SS: Mark Barron

FS: Ronde Barber

special teams

PR: Sammie Stroughter

KR: Michael Smith

PK: Connor Barth

P/KO: Michael Koenen

Panthers

OFFENSE

WR: Steve Smith

LT: Jordan Gross

LG: Amini Silatolu

C: Ryan Kalil

RG: Geoff Hangartner

RT: Byron Bell

TE: Greg Olsen

WR: Brandon LeFell

QB: Cam Newton

RB: DeAngelo Williams

FB: Mike Tolbert

DEFENSE

LDE: Greg Hardy

DT: Frank Kearse

DT: Ron Edwards

RDE: Charles Johnson

SLB: James Anderson

MLB: Jon Beason

WLB: Luke Kuechly

CB: Chris Gamble

CB: Captain Munnerlyn

SS: Charles Godfrey

FS: Haruki Nakamura

special teams

PR: Joe Adams

KR: Kealoha Pilares

PK/KO: Justin Medlock

P: Brad Nortman

Injury report

BUCS: Questionable — WR Arrelious Benn (knee). Doubtful CB E.J. Biggers (foot); CB Anthony Gaitor (hamstring).

Panthers: Out — G/C Jeff Byers (knee). Questionable RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle). Probable LB Jon Beason (thigh), WR Steve Smith (foot).

Stat pack



4:25 p.m., Raymond James Stadium, Tampa | Radio: 620-AM, 103.5-FM | Line, O/U: Panthers by 21/2; 47

Rushing yards

passing yards

total yards

Rushing yards allowed

passing yards allowed

total yards allowed

Bucs

Panthers

91.1 (30th)

150.5 (3rd)

The pick Panthers 26, Bucs 23

156.1 (32nd)

130.8 (25th)

238.4 (21st)

246.8 (24th)

228.1 (16th)

239.3 (13th)

319.2 (21st)

389.8 (7th)

394.5 (30th)

377.6 (28th)

Note: Stats are from 2011

The new Bucs are unveiled today, and they should match up better against the Panthers than last season. Carolina swept the series by a combined score of 86-35. Look for an aggressive defensive approach against the Panthers and QB Cam Newton, a trademark of Bucs coach Greg Schiano. On offense, the Bucs have vowed to use a power running game they hope keeps the ball away from the Panthers' quick-strike offense.

Panthers' top offensive player

Pick the statistic for Cam Newton, left: the 4,051 passing yards or 14 rushing touchdowns. Each is impressive in its own way. Newton will try to avoid the sophomore slump after a brilliant rookie season, and there's little reason to believe he'll take a step back.

Panthers' top defensive player

Middle linebacker Jon Beason, right, returns after missing 15 games in 2011 with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. That loss was a chief reason the Panthers defense was so ineffective last season. The second-leading tackler in team history brings playmaking to the defense.

What the Panthers do best

Carolina's offense makes big plays. It's what kept it in games last season even when its defense was nowhere to be found. The Panthers last season had 66 pass plays of 20 yards or longer — sixth most in the NFL. Carolina's 24 runs of 20 yards or longer ranked first.

How you beat the Panthers

Make them predictable. As dangerous as QB Cam Newton is, he's much less so in obvious passing situations. That neutralizes the Panthers' potent running game duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart (who has been limited at practice by a sore ankle).

The Bucs must avoid …

Turnovers. Tampa Bay had an NFL-worst minus-16 margin in 2011. It's something coach Greg Schiano has spent much of the offseason and preseason trying to alleviate. Today, we begin to see if the extra attention to detail pays off.

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