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 Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /

Can the Carolina Panthers get enough pressure on Tom Brady?

One of the more disappointing elements for the Carolina Panthers in their Week 1 loss was the lack of pressure on quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders easily thwarted their bid to get in the backfield consistently and significant adjustments need to be made against the Buccaneers.

Tampa’s protection was overwhelmed for the most part against an outstanding Saints’ defensive front. So if the Panthers can regroup quickly then they might be able to get some joy on Sunday.

Tom Brady is long in the tooth now, so the last thing he wants is contact from bigger, faster, and younger pass-rushing weapons. He is adept at getting the ball out quickly to prevent this. But Carolina has some explosive pieces that should be able to do some damage if they hit the ground running.

The Panthers might be without the services of second-round pick Yetuir Gross-Matos, who was placed in the concussion protocol on Thursday. The former Penn State sensation was on the field for just 25 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in Week 1 after struggling early and if he can’t go then players such as Marquis Haynes will look to make an impression from a rotational role.

Brian Burns must step up in no uncertain terms. The 2019 first-rounder was virtually anonymous last time out and the Panthers’ pass-rushing fortunes could depend on him even more in this one.