4 big storylines to watch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Ian Thomas
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Ian Thomas /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /

How healthy is Donte Jackson?

Donte Jackson going off in the first quarter of their opening game was the worst-case scenario for a cornerback unit that was already without the services of Eli Apple. The former second-round pick’s time as the No. 1 option at the position didn’t get off to the best start. But all signs point to the player turning out for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

This will be a significant boost against the Bucs’ passing attack that is loaded with playmakers. They might be without Chris Godwin if the wideout fails to come out of the concussion protocol in time. But they still have plenty of other players who can make things happen at the drop of a hat.

Ankle injuries are among some of the worst to come back from quickly. Jackson plays with exceptional speed and this only heightens concerns regarding another possible knock if he isn’t fully healthy.

The Panthers can ill-afford to lose some like Jackson for an extended period of time. Rasul Douglas, Troy Pride Jr., and Corn Elder enjoyed mixed success against the Raiders without the LSU product. So defensive coordinator Phil Snow will need his top option available and firing on all cylinders.

Jackson has practiced all week, which is a good sign. But we will not know for sure just what sort of shape the corner is in until we see him out on the field.