5 questions from the Bucs’ camp ahead of Week 2 clash

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Mike Evans
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Mike Evans /

The Carolina Panthers are getting set to square off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2, and we asked questions of the enemy camp with a Bucs’ expert.

The first game of Week 2 is in the books, meaning we are just a few short days away from the Carolina Panthers taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

The two teams have differing ambitions for the campaign, to put it mildly. The Carolina Panthers are in year one of a substantial rebuild and will be looking to develop as the season goes on. But the Bucs enter 2020 in win-now mode following the arrival of perennial Super Bowl winner Tom Brady.

Carolina goes into the contest as a heavy underdog for the contest. They face a stiff task against a formidable Tampa Bay outfit that should be in postseason contention if they can improve on their Week 1 loss in the coming months.

This might be a good time to play the Bucs. It appears increasingly unlikely that star wide receiver Chris Godwin will get out of the concussion protocol in time to take his place in the lineup. And there were definite chemistry issues that the Panthers defense might be able to take advantage of.

We sat down with Andrew Boardwine over at The Pewter Plank to ask five questions from behind enemy lines ahead of Carolina’s first NFC South divisional matchup of the season.

Are expectations too high for the Bucs in 2020?

I think it depends a lot on who you ask. There are plenty of Buccaneers fans who came into the season thinking the team is going to win the Super Bowl. If that’s your expectation, you’re likely to be disappointed in the outcome.

Overall, I think Bucs fans should expect something along the lines of earning a postseason berth – most likely as a wildcard – and then if you get to the playoffs, you never know what could happen. This team has a long way to go and it will be interesting to see what happens, but I definitely think some have placed their expectations too high.

What was the overall analysis of Tom Brady’s debut?

A lot of analysts are all over Tom Brady after that Week 1 start and there are certain things he needs to clean up. Brady threw two interceptions – including a pick-six- and didn’t look as if he had much mobility at all.

That being said, it wasn’t all bad. Brady still showed arm strength, nice touch on his deep ball, and good accuracy. He is still gaining chemistry with his wide receivers – and that’s especially difficult with no preseason games – but I don’t think it was near as bad of a performance as many want to make it out to be.

He’s not going to be scrambling around and picking up a ton of yards with his legs, but he still has the arm talent and just needs to clean up those interceptions from a week ago.

What improvements to the Bucs need to make against the Carolina Panthers?

Brady’s interceptions need to be improved, no doubt, but I think the biggest issues are left tackle with Donovan Smith and the rushing attack.

The Bucs couldn’t get anything going in the running game with either Ronald Jones II or Leonard Fournette and that’s in part because of the offensive line.

For the Bucs to be decent this year, the offensive line- especially Smith, who is has been limited this week due to a knee injury – has to be better.

How can the Bucs exploit the Carolina Panthers’ weaknesses?

The one thing the Saints had is a vaunted pass-rush and I think that’s something the Panthers struggled mightily with this past week against the Raiders.

If you give Brady plenty of time to throw, he’s going to find the open man and I think that’s a major area that the Buccaneers will exploit the Panthers.

Prediction for the game?

I think this one is close for a while, but the Bucs eventually pull away.

Bucs 34, Carolina Panthers 20

More. 4 things Matt Rhule must get right against the Buccaneers. light

The Bucs appear confident that they can get their first win of the season at the Panthers’ expense. This is a more than realistic prospect as Carolina continues to become a cohesive unit with a young roster. But if the Raiders game taught us anything it’s to write them off at your peril.