Gameday: Bucs at Panthers

Sunday's game between Tampa Bay and Carolina is just hours away. Get ready for the game with Bucsblitz.com's "Bucs Primer," the most complete preview package for the Buccaneers on the Web each week (P-Denotes premium story that can only be accessed with a Bucsblitz.com subscription).

Need to get ready for the game? Look no further than Bucsblitz.com's "Bucs Primer." Along with a game capsule, the Primer also provides links to all of Bucsblitz.com's coverage leading up to the game. So before the capsule, here's a look at our complete package of stories this week:

Monday

Williams to start vs. Panthers.

Jon Gruden's day-after press conference (P).

Press Pass: Jeff Garcia (P).

Tuesday

Photo Gallery: Rams at Bucs

Postscripts: Sept. 25 blog

Film Session: Rams at Bucs (P)

Wednesday

Chukwurah says knee "good enough to go."

NFC Hot Topic — Week 4 (P).

Jon Gruden's Wednesday post-practice transcript (P).

Press Pass: Carolina QB David Carr (P).

Press Pass: Bucs LB Derrick Brooks (P).

Bucs' Piscitelli moved to IR.

Thursday

Bucs' Jones gets return on hard work (P).

Postscripts: Sept. 27 blog.

Press Pass: Bucs S Jermaine Phillips (P).

Behind Enemy Lines: Carolina (P).

Press Pass: Panthers HC John Fox (P).

Jon Gruden's Thursday post-practice transcript (P).

BucsBlitz.com chat wrap.

Friday

Postscripts: Sept. 28 blog.

Press Pass: Jeff Garcia (P).

Fantasy Bucs: Week 4.

Bucs kick coverage unit casts wide net (P).

Jon Gruden's Friday post-practice transcript (P).

Four Bucs questionable for Sunday's game.

Panthers get ready to get behind Carr (P).

Saturday

Observation Deck: Bucs-Rams Preview (P).

Press Pass: Alex Smith (P).

BucsBlitz.com's Matthew Postins will blog during Sunday's game, followed by a post-game chat at 10 p.m. in the Bucsblitz.com chat room.

Also, as a premium subscriber, you can now access Matthew Postins' appearances on the Scot Brantley show on WHBO 1490, the ESPN Radio affiliate in Tampa-St. Petersburg. Postins appears with Brantley on a weekly basis to talk about the Bucs. His last two appearances can be found in the audio section at Bucsblitz.com.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) at Carolina Panthers (2-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 ET

SURFACE: Grass

TV: FOX, Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan, Chris Myers

PREDICTION: Bucs 23-16 (Matthew Postins).

KEYS TO THE GAME: Bucs WR Joey Galloway said he hopes an improved running game leads to more big plays in the passing game -- and that wish could be granted against a Carolina secondary proving to be as vulnerable as expected. This should be the week coach Jon Gruden opens the playbook for QB Jeff Garcia to be more aggressive downfield. ... The Bucs' Cover-2 defense is routinely carved up by Smith, who likely will be catching passes from backup QB David Carr this week. To ease Carr into the game, expect Carolina to be run-heavy early -- which isn't a bad idea with RB DeShaun Foster averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

KEY INJURIES: RB Cadillac Williams (ribs) and CB Brian Kelly (groin) expect to start. Panthers: QB Jake Delhomme (elbow) appears unlikely to play; MLB Dan Morgan (heel tendinitis) will be a game-time decision.

FAST FACTS: Bucs MLB Barrett Ruud leads the NFL with 35 tackles and has two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception. ... Panthers DE Julius Peppers does not have a sack this season.

PERSONNEL NEWS:

Panthers --DE Stanley McClover declared himself back to 100 percent Thursday, and said he will play this week. "It's been a long time coming," said McClover, who has missed the first three games with a strained groin. "I'm finally feeling good and I'm ready to go out there and help the team win." He should help Carolina's sagging pass rush. The Panthers have just two sacks in three games, both of those belonging to defensive tackles.

RB DeShaun Foster was pleased the Panthers were able to run out the clock last week in the fourth quarter. Foster carried for gains of 12, 11 and 13 yards to close out the Falcons on the final drive. "When you can close out a game like that, it's kind of exciting," said Foster, who ranks seventh in the league in the NFC in rushing with 238 yards.

QB Jake Delhomme did not participate in Friday's practice. Look for David Carr to start in his place.

MLB Dan Morgan did not participate in Thursday's practice. Look for James Anderson to start in his place.

RG Jeremy Bridges has a turf toe injury that has kept him out of the last two days of practice. He still has a chance to play. If he doesn't play, look for Ryan Kalil or Geoff Hangartner to start.

DE Mike Rucker (toe) returned to practice on a full-time basis Thursday.

OT Travelle Wharton (toe) returned to practice on a full-time basis Thursday.

Bucs

DE Patrick Chukwurah, who missed three games with a partially torn MCL, said he is ready to play Sunday at Carolina. But the Bucs have not decided whether Chukwurah will be active.

WR Ike Hilliard was limited in practice Thursday with an ankle sprain. He is expected to play Sunday at Carolina.

DE Greg Spires was limited in practice Thursday with an ankle injury. He is expected to play Sunday at Carolina.

WRs Michael Clayton and Maurice Stovall split reps as the Bucs' No. 2 receiver in practice Thursday with Ike Hilliard nursing an ankle injury.

WR Joey Galloway returned to practice on Thursday and will start against the Panthers.

LT Luke Petitgout returned to practice Thursday and will start against the Panthers.

INSIDE THE CAMPS

Panthers

Quarterback Jake Delhomme didn't practice again Friday, adding to speculation that David Carr will get his first start for the Carolina Panthers this Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Carr worked with the first team at practice all week, while rookie Matt Moore saw action as the No. 2 quarterback. Delhomme wore a red practice jersey, just like the other quarterbacks, but watched practice from the sidelines and did not participate.

Coach John Fox would not comment when asked if Delhomme attempted to throw a football at any time on Thursday. Delhomme did not speak to reporters during open locker room because he was receiving treatment.

Delhomme isn't the only concern this week for the Panthers.

Two other starters -- middle linebackers Dan Morgan (ankle) and guard Jeremy Bridges (turf toe) -- did not work for a second straight day, nor did backup middle linebacker Adam Seward (calf).

It's expected James Anderson will start for Morgan. However, Bridges and Seward both participated in practice on Friday and could play.

However, if he can't play, the Panthers could turn to rookie Ryan Kalil, who started the first two games of the season at right guard while Bridges was serving a two-game suspension. Geoff Hangartner and Evan Mathis are also capable of playing guard.

Meanwhile, defensive end Mike Rucker and Travelle Wharton both "practiced full" on Friday and are expected to play this week against the Bucs.

Bucs

The Bucs are preparing to face quarterback David Carr in Sunday's game against the Panthers.

Carr, the Texans' free agent, is expected to start against the Buccaneers after Jake Delhomme missed a second straight day of practice with a strained elbow.

The No. 1 overall pick in 2002, Carr started 75 games in five years for the Houston Texans and was sacked a mind-numbing 249 times.

He said he already feels at home with the Panthers.

"Honestly, I do feel better on this team," Carr said. "I'm more relaxed. I'm not being pressed to do things I don't need to be doing. I feel like I can go out with my mechanics and all that and just throwing the football in general, I feel like that just comes naturally and I don't have to think about it.

"That's freeing as far as playing quarterback. Now, it's just completing balls and throwing to the right guy."

Although the Panthers have not officially ruled out Delhomme, they are preparing for a more mobile quarterback in Carr, who came off the bench in last week's win over Atlanta.

"He's a talented guy," coach Jon Gruden said. "He was obviously the starting quarterback for an expansion team; that's tough. He took some licks there in Houston, it was well-documented, but he also had some great moments. He's a great competitor and he's a super kid. (He's an) athletic guy (that) can run."

After five losing seasons in Houston, Carr said he longed to be with a winning franchise.

"Playing against them, they had a good football team. Their defense was phenomenal," Carr said. "I really felt we could build on it and when I had the chance to come out here, I wanted to be a part of winning. Of all the teams I was looking at, they were the team I felt was the most solidified as far as just being in playoff contention year in and year out and that's really what I wanted to be a part of. And their offensive line was solid and when they were all healthy, they were one of the best in the NFL so it was a no-brainer for me."


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