The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t have to face Cam Newton on Monday night, when they take on the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte. The Panthers quarterback is recovering from a concussion, and has been officially ruled out for the game.
For the third time in three years, the Bucs will instead face backup quarterback Derek Anderson. That is obviously good news for an embattled Tampa Bay defense, but the Bucs will still have to be careful — the last two times they faced Anderson came in 2014, and the Bucs lost both games.
Anderson isn’t good, exactly, but he has a strong arm and can still get some decent offensive production going, provided he has a solid running game supporting him and gets a little lucky.
In that regard, two other absences will also help the Bucs: the Panthers also ruled out left tackle Michael Oher and running back Jonathan Stewart, making that whole running-the-ball thing a little more complicated. Oher’s absence isn’t necessarily that disastrous for the Panthers, given his somewhat lackluster record as a blindside pass protector, and the Bucs’ own injury issues along the defensive line.