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CHUCKY'S CHALK TALK

Bucs coach Jon "Chucky" Gruden on today's opponent, the Carolina Panthers:

ON PLAYING CAROLINA WITH RODNEY PEETE AT QUARTERBACK:

"The guy is a proven player, he's a winner. He's got a knack for making plays. He's got a couple 300-yard passing games. He's put his team in position to win every time he's been out.

"He's careful with the football and he's a leader. I think his team feeds off that. I can speak firsthand on it and I'm sure that's the case."

ON SLOWING DOWN THE PANTHERS' PASS RUSH:

"You have to have good success on the early downs in my opinion. You get behind in the down and distance, you're in for a long day against this team. They're very talented.

"They've got a lot of scheme, they use a lot of different looks in their nickel package and in their base package to generate pressure. But I think that's the key, success on first and second down."

ON THE PANTHERS DEFENSE WITHOUT SUSPENDED TACKLE BRENTSON BUCKNER:

"You watch them play last week and it certainly didn't diminish what they can do. They still have (Julius) Peppers, who has 10 sacks. (Michael) Rucker is extremely hot and Kris Jenkins is generating a lot of pressure inside. He's really on the verge of becoming a household name in the NFL. He's impressive.

"They've got a lot of scheme and they're playing extremely well. We've still got to deal with a relentless pass rush. They do a lot of things to be creative with the blitz, trying to create physical one-on-ones."

RICK STROUD

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