Buccaneers vs. Panthers: Thursday Night Defensive Preview

By John Beauchamp
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are scheduled to play the Carolina Panthers. The Buccaneers’ defense has had their struggles recently allowing 31 points their last two games.

Last week the Buccaneers faced off against the Atlanta Falcons who were missing three of their key players in Roddy White, Julio Jones and Steven Jackson. Regardless of these absences, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan manged to put up over 250 yards and three touchdowns passing.

This week the Buccaneers should be relieved since the Panthers have struggled thus far in the pass being ranked 28th in the NFL. The match-up should be interesting on the ground with the Buccaneers currently having the fifth ranked rush defense.

Panther quarterback Cam Newton has been a force on the ground as the Panthers’ second leading rusher averaging 4.6 yards per carry with an addition of two touchdowns on the ground as well. If the Buccaneers plan on stopping the Panthers’ offense they’re going to have to prevent the read option between Newton and running back DeAngelo Williams.

A player for the Buccaneers that has been drawing a lot of attention is linebacker Lavonte David. David is the leading tackler on the Buccaneers with 48 total tackles and also leads with four sacks. Last week David was seen nearly every play for the Buccaneers on defense, and if he continues to play the way he has been he should finish up the season in Hawaii.

Another name that has performed well is safety Dashon Goldson. Aside from the fines Goldson has received from the NFL for illegal helmet to helmet hits, he has made a huge impact on the team with 40 combined tackles.

These players and other names like Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn, Mark Barron and Mason Foster are going to have to perform at their finest if they plan on stopping this quick offense with a several weapons.

John Beauchamp is a multi-sport writer for Rant Sports; email any comments, questions or concerns to beauchamp.john8@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @John_Beauchamp_ or just add him to your network on Google

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