Thursday, Sept. 27
Do the Bucs have the advantage at QB?
For the first time in a long time against Carolina, the Buccaneers might have the upper hand at quarterback this week.
Carolina's starting quarterback for Sunday is uncertain. Jake Delhomme did not practice on Wednesday, as he is recovering from what the team is calling a hyperextended elbow. David Carr took all of Delhomme's reps in practice on Wednesday.
If Delhomme doesn't practice this week, expect Carr to start, which could lead to some chemistry problems in the passing game, specifically with wide receiver Steve Smith. He and Delhomme are simpatico, and the pair was off to a roaring start to the regular season before last weekend, when Smith only had one catch for 10 yards and Delhomme came up injured.
The upshot for Carr is that he would have a much better supporting cast than he had in Houston. The downside for Carr is that he's only played with these guys since May.
That might give the Bucs an edge on Sunday, as Jeff Garcia has taken every first-team rep for the Bucs since May and won't have to learn certain things on the fly, as I'm sure Carr will have to this week. Additionally, Delhomme has been the quarterback for all of the Panthers' last eight games against the Buccaneers, where the Panthers are 7-1.
Garcia has been a winner the majority of his career. Carr has never piloted a winning season. That may mean something on Sunday.
Links to the best Bucs stories
At Bucsblitz.com, I've published a piece on return man Mark Jones, who has been cut or signed by the Buccaneers seven times since Tampa Bay took him in the seventh round of the 2004 Draft. Find out why he's back in this premium piece. You can also get ready for the game by reading our premium "Press Pass" feature on Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks, whose thoughts every Wednesday are a regular visit to this feature.
No doubt you've noticed the turnaround in the secondary this year. The Tampa Tribune's Roy Cummings wrote about the turnaround and its architect, secondary coach Raheem Morris. His intensity and personality have made a big difference.
Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times writes about the aftermath of Michael Clayton's brief on-field spat with Jon Gruden on Sunday. Clayton seems to have cooled down after being pulled from the game after a dropped pass and a fumble.
More coming today, including our exclusive "Press Pass" with Panthers coach John Fox, a daily practice update and the "Behind Enemy Lines" feature on the Panthers to get you ready for Sunday's game. MP