Bucs must get ready for Panther defense

Rob Johnson, Tampa Bay's likely quarterback of choice for Sunday's game against the Panthers, must be ready to handle the Panther defense.

Charlotte, N.C. - Tampa Bay is speeding up to get ready for Sunday's game.  They are much too on top of things to think that they do not have anything to worry about.  True enough, Carolina has had some troubles with their quarterbacks Rodney Peete and Chris Weinke.  They have also had a numerous amounts of injuries on their team, namely DeShaun Foster, Wesley Walls, and Mike Minter just to name a few.   However, for NFL sacks, the Panthers are in the lead with 25, and Tampa Bay is recognizing that. 

Although it is not a certainty, Rob Johnson will likely be starting for the Buccaneers on Sunday.  Defensive ends Mike Rucker and Julius Peppers will be a force that Johnson will have to consider. 

"He's (Julius Peppers) a solid player", said Buccaneers' tight end Ken Dilger.  "He's a first-round draft choice, for sure. They have a good scheme and good people up front. They get after the quarterback." 

Peppers is tied with the Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp for the NFL lead with seven sacks.  Mike Rucker has six.

"We just get out on the edge and go get the quarterback," Rucker stated. "We're using our ability. That's the reason you see the improvement as far as sacks on the defensive line. We're just getting after it and letting it loose." 

John Fox has received much of the credit for Carolina's marked improvement in this NFL season.  The Buccaneers' offensive tackle Lomas Brown has said that Fox brings in the kind of defense that really puts pressure on the quarterbacks. 

"He's pretty much a defensive genius," said Brown.  "You get a coach like him and add some talent up front, you can get pressure on the quarterback and do some other things, too."


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