NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 27: William Hayes #95 of the Tennessee Titans leaps to block a pass by Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during play at LP Field on November 27, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 23-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
We have some good news and some bad news on Josh Freeman's injury. The good news is he actually threw a few balls today, though they were described as "soft balls" and it wasn't a heavy workload. The bad news is that he's listed as Questionable, which would suggest he has a 50% chance of playing. While he told Steve Duemig that he was ready to play on Wednesday, his workload so far seems to suggest something different.
If Freeman can't go, expect fourth-year quarterback Josh Johnson to start instead. Interestingly the Bucs currently have no backup quarterback behind Johnson. WR Micheal Spurlock could act as an emergency quarterback, the Bucs are doomed if he starts taking snaps from center. Johnson was terrible in four starts in 2009, but has undoubtedly improved since then. Still, the Bucs are unlikely to see great production from Johnson.
In other dire news, DE Michael Bennett will miss Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. That will be the second game in a row he will miss. That has opened the door for Da'Quan Bowers to get more playing time, which gives him some experience but weakens an already weak run defense. In addition, DT Brian Price is listed as Questionable, although he did participate in practice today - making it more likely he will play on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Panthers have just three players on the injury report: LB Omar Gaither and KR/WR Kealoha Pilares are listed as Questionable, while LB Jason Phillips will not play on Sunday. The Panthers' linebacking corps has been destroyed by injuries this year, and this won't help their already abysmal run defense.
Full Injury Report
Out: DE Michael Bennett (groin)
Questionable: DT Brian Price (ankle), QB Josh Freeman (right shoulder)
Out: Jason Phillips (calf)
Questionable: LB Omar Gaither (knee), WR Kealoha Pilares (quad)