Panther Strategy and Personal Report

Wide receiver Kevin Dyson practiced for the first time since tearing his Achilles tendon during minicamp, but his status for this Sunday remains up in the air. Dyson worked a handful of plays with the regular offense and spent the rest of the time working with the scout team.

Wide receiver Kevin Dyson practiced for the first time since tearing his Achilles tendon during minicamp, but his status for this Sunday remains up in the air. Dyson worked a handful of plays with the regular offense and spent the rest of the time working with the scout team.

He appears to have most of his speed back.

"He looked good," Panthers head coach John Fox said. "He hasn't played in a long time, so it is going to take a little time but he is coming along well."

Dyson has yet to be added to the team's 53-man roster.

When asked if there's a chance Dyson may be added to the roster, Panthers head coach John Fox replied, "Never say never. We are just evaluating him day-to-day. That is where he is right now. I thought he had a good day's work and made it through healthy."

Dyson feels like he's ready to play.

"I feel like I could have played a couple weeks ago," Dyson said. "But I've got to wait and see what they've got to do. They've got a lot of decisions to make. Nobody's hurt right now, and I don't play special teams. So it doesn't make any sense to make any drastic moves right now. We'll see what goes on after this."

PERSONNEL/INJURY NOTES

--RB Stephen Davis was a surprise addition to the injury report on Wednesday. He was listed as questionable with an ankle injury. But Davis is optimistic he'll play.

--DE Mike Rucker missed practice on Wednesday but he is expected to play this Sunday against Tampa Bay.

--LB Dan Morgan was back to practice on Wednesday and will play against the Bucs. He missed the first game against Tampa Bay because of a hamstring injury. Still, Carolina played well that game without him.

--RB Rod Smart is listed as questionable for Sunday with a hamstring injury, but he did practice Wednesday and is expected to play this week against the Bucs.

--WR Karl Hankton, a key figure on special teams, is expected to play for the first time in three weeks.

GAME PLAN: Offensively, Stephen Davis has a combined 25 carries in the first quarter of the last two games. In the last meeting, Davis ran for 142 yards on 33 carries in a 12-9 win at Raymond James Stadium. However, Davis is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and his status for Sunday's game is questionable. If Davis can't play, expect a full dose of DeShaun Foster. The chances are Davis will play and get the bulk of the carries.

Defensively, Carolina held the Bucs in check until the final drive of the game when Tampa Bay drove the length of the field in the final two minutes to tie the game at 13-13. The Bucs would have won, but the Panthers blocked Martin Gramatica's for a touchdown

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Martin Gramatica vs. Panthers kick block team -- In the last meeting, the Panthers blocked two Gramatica field goals and an extra point at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime. That game in Week 2 sent Gramatica's season spiraling downhill. He's missed half of his 12 field goals this season.

INJURY IMPACT: The Panthers have three players -- defensive end Mike Rucker and running backs Stephen Davis and Rod Smart -- listed as questionable but head coach John Fox said he expects everyone to be ready to play on Sunday against Tampa Bay.


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