Panthers at Bucs: Joseph Person’s three things to watch

October 23, 2013 

SPORTS FBN-BUCS-FALCONS 16 AT

Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has attempted 130 passes in three games, the most in NFL history by a quarterback in his first three games. It’s safe to say the ball will be in the air Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers.

CURTIS COMPTON — MCT

  • Panthers at Bucs Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. When: 8:25 p.m. Watch: NFL Network (Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan)

Get after Glennon

For as good as their defense has been, the Panthers have struggled against mobile quarterbacks. Bucs rookie Mike Glennon does not fall in that category. The former N.C. State quarterback possesses a long frame and a big arm, and if given time he’s shown he can spread the ball around. But with the Bucs missing leading rusher Doug Martin (out with a shoulder injury), the Panthers can go after Glennon more aggressively to try to unnerve him in his prime-time debut as a pro.

Loosen up the Bucs’ defense

The Bucs have the league’s fifth-best rushing defense, and throttled the Panthers’ running game twice last season. Tampa Bay held the Panthers to a franchise-tying low 10 rushing yards the last time these teams met in Tampa. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said defenses have started bringing a safety near the line of scrimmage to limit Carolina’s rushing attack. And while no one likes throwing at Darrelle Revis, Cam Newton has to take some chances deep early to keep the Bucs from crowding the box.

Jump out early

The Panthers should kick the Bucs while they’re down. Tampa Bay has lost 11 of its last 12 games, including six in a row at home. Rivera learned last November what can happen if you let the Bucs hang around. Tampa Bay overcame an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit to stun Carolina 27-21 in overtime. The Panthers have led at halftime in every game this season, and the defense has yet to give up a first-quarter score. Rivera needs to stick with the same go-for-it approach he used to grab early momentum at Minnesota.

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