The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night, therefore, we’re counting down the hours to the 8:20 kickoff at Bank of America Stadium. Buccaneers vs Panthers live online. After a week of preparation, here’s what it all comes down to: Match Details: Who: Panthers vs Buccaneers What: NFL regular season, Week 2 When: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 Time: 5:20 p.m. PT/8:20 p.m. ET Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC TV: NFL Network
5 TAMPA BAY PLAYERS TO WATCH
Shaquil Barrett. Barrett collected a sack in his first regular-season game as a Buccaneer, taking down Jimmy Garoppolo on an exquisitely-timed burst at the snap. Though Barrett and Carl Nassib rushed from both sides of the line in the opener, that sack for Barrett came around the right edge of the O-Line. To do that again in Week Two, Barrett would have to beat third-year man Taylor Moton. Who had an excellent season for the Panthers in 2018. Buccaneers vs Panthers match will be live within a few time.
Mike Evans. Nobody in the Bucs’ deep stable of talented pass-catchers had a particularly big day in the season opener against San Francisco, though Chris Godwin got his first touchdown of the season. Jameis Winston spread the ball around and only had 20 total completions. Evans, who was coming off an illness that kept him out of the previous Friday’s practice, rarely is held in check for long, so his breakout could come as soon as Thursday night.
Buccaneers vs Panthers Live
Jordan Whitehead. Second-year safety Jordan Whitehead showcased his tracking and tackling skills in the opener. Leading the team with eight tackles, many of them around or behind the line of scrimmage. He was a key factor in holding the 49ers to 3.1 yards per carry. Whitehead could be one of the Bucs’ best bets against Christian McCaffrey, who will demand multiple defenders in run defense and tight coverage when he splits out to run routes. A fourth-round draft pick in 2018 who got a lot of playing time as a rookie, Whitehead appears to be a rising player on a much-improved defense.
Matt Gay. So far, so good for the Bucs’ rookie kicker, who won his preseason competition with veteran Cairo Santos (through no fault of Santos) and is hopefully the man to calm down the Bucs’ recently-tumultuous history at the position. Gay made both of his extra points and a 31-yard field goal in the opener last Sunday. That said, he wasn’t called on for any long-distance shots. Which he proved quite capable of drilling in the preseason. Eventually the Bucs will ask him to kick another from 50-plus and that will be another step in his integration into the NFL. Perhaps that opportunity will come at Bank of America Stadium.
O.J. Howard. The Buccaneers believe they have the NFL’s next tight end star in Howard, and he is definitely one of the team’s best options for creating mismatches down the field. Howard had a few bumps in the opener. However, losing a fumble in the red zone and having a pass deflect off his hands for an interception. Head Coach Bruce Arians said, that Howard had a great camp and figured. Those miscues were the result of Howard pressing to make big plays. Arians suggested that Howard should “relax and play” and the big plays will come, though, they certainly have in the past and hopefully will again on Thursday night.
4 STATS THAT MATTER
· 25% red zone efficiency/75% defensive red zone efficiency. The Buccaneers left points on the table in their 31-17 loss to San Francisco. Which was much closer than the final score suggests. One trip inside the 20 ended in a fumble, one in a failed fourth-and-goal and one in a field goal. The Bucs obviously need better results near the goal line. Perhaps they can get it against a Carolina team that allowed the Rams to get into the end zone in three of their four red zone trips.
· 61 and 55 plays. Those were the defensive rep shares for outside linebackers Carl Nassib and Shaq Barrett, respectively. In the Bucs’ opener, out of a possible 67. Nassib did get a few of his reps on the inside in certain packages. But for the most part Nassib and Barrett soaked up almost all the playing time on the edges. Rookie Anthony Nelson saw his first bit of playing time but Devante Bond did not take a single snap. Will the Bucs continue to ride Nassib and Barrett or trend towards more of a rotation in the weeks to come?
4.7 yards per carry/3.1 yards per carry. The battle on the ground was a net positive for the Buccaneers in their season opener. As they outran the 49ers, 121 to 98 yards and were much better on a per carry basis. As noted by those two per-carry marks. The Buccaneers are seeking a more balanced offense in 2019 after rushing offense and rushing defense was a net negative for them in 2018, and Week One was a good start.
· 2 of 38 deep passes. According to the numbers compiled by the NFL’s official stat service. Cam Newton and the Panthers threw 38 passes in their game against the Rams and only two of them were classified as “deep.” Both went to the deep right, while the Panthers threw 13 passes to the short left. Six to the short middle and 16 to the short right. (One pass was apparently unclassified.) Buccaneer defenders should expect to face a good number of quick throws.
3 LINEUP NOTES Buccaneers vs Panthers Live
· Ronald Jones finished the Bucs’ opener with more carries than starting tailback Ronald Jones. And he was a bright spot in the loss to San Francisco with 75 yards and an average of 5.8 yards per tote. That strong debut on the heels of an impressive training camp have some wondering if Jones will eventually take the starting spot from Barber. So, Arians says the rotation will stay the same this week. If either back gets the hot hand, as Jones did in Week One, he’ll get the majority of the work.
· Rookie safety Mike Edwards appeared to have captured one of the two starting spots in the first couple weeks of training camp. Because, then he missed the back half of the preseason with a hamstring injury. And, Edwards returned to action to start the regular season but got only four snaps on defense in the opener. With veteran Darian Stewart getting the start next to Jordan Whitehead.
With the release of Caleb Benenoch. Recently-acquired tackle Jerald Hawkins is likely to be active for the first time as a Buccaneer. Tampa Bay got Hawkins in a trade with Pittsburgh. On the same day that NFL rosters trimmed to 53 players to start the regular season. Hawkins would seem to be in line for the active swing-tackle role on game day over Josh Wells. Who is an even more recent acquisition, having signed on Tuesday.