After spending the last few weeks healthier than they had been all season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be significantly banged up heading into their next contest, which is against NFC South division rival Carolina.
As Pewter Report reported Tuesday, Bucs wide receiver Michael Clayton (knee) will be sidelined 1-2 weeks with a MCL sprain he sustained in Atlanta. Bucs WR Maurice Stovall will start in Clayton's place, but only if he's healthy enough to play. Stovall is nursing a thigh injury and was limited in Wednesday's practice.
In addition to Stovall, tackle Donald Penn (knee), cornerback Aqib Talib (hamstring), defensive end Stylez G. White (hand), tight end Kellen Winslow (knee), running back Cadillac Williams (coach's decision), defensive tackle Roy Miller (ankle) and defensive end Michael Bennett (toe) were also limited in today's workout.
The overall health of Tampa Bay's team, which is 1-10 on the season, certainly isn't ideal as it prepares for the 4-7 Carolina Panthers, who are considered a physical football team.
Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said his team would have to find a way to overcome the injuries and snap Carolina's two-game winning streak vs. Tampa Bay.
"We're coming off a physical, tough game," Morris said, referring to the team's 20-17 loss in Atlanta. "We just have to go out there and play.
"Injuries are all gray matter. Nobody cares, so why should I? You have to put the next person in that's going to play. It doesn't matter who is out there. You want them all to be healthy and play, but you have to go with what you got and be your very best self."
The Bucs won't limp into Sunday's game in Carolina alone, though. The Panthers have their fair share of injuries as well.
Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme (right finger), fullback Brad Hoover (ankle), wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett (ankle), defensive end Charles Johnson (pectoral), cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (concussion), running back Jonathan Stewart (Achilles), defensive tackle Tank Tyler (knee) and running back DeAngelo Williams (ankle) did not practice Wednesday.
Carolina linebacker Na'il Diggs (ribs) and wide receiver Mushin Muhammad (knee) were limited, while guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (knee) had full participation in practice. BUCS PREPARED FOR QB MOORE
With Jake Delhomme sidelined for Sunday's game with a right finger injury, the Carolina Panthers will start Matt Moore at quarterback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Moore is in his third season with the Panthers. He originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon State. He has started three games with the Panthers, completing 56.1 percent of his passes for 793 yards and three touchdowns and six interceptions.
The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Moore hasn't started a game in nearly two seasons. In fact, his last start came against Tampa Bay. Moore completed 15-of-24 (62.5 percent) of his passes for 174 yards and tossed two touchdowns and no interceptions en route to Carolina's 31-23 win over Tampa Bay in the 2007 regular season finale.
Much has changed since that game, but the Bucs, who have struggled against the Panthers' ground attack, but Tampa Bay still is somewhat familiar with Moore, especially safety Sabby Piscitelli, who was Moore's teammate at Oregon State.
"Matt Moore I played with him in college two years," Piscitelli said. "I'm happy for his opportunity and excited for him. I'm excited to compete against him, and play against him again, and hopefully steal a couple of picks from him. I think their game plan will stay the same. They want to run the ball. They create the pass by running the ball. They've had a lot of success running against us so why would they change it? We are taking it personal."
Moore shares Piscitelli's enthusiasm for the meeting in Carolina on Sunday.
"It will be fun," said Moore. "[Sabby] called me earlier in the week trying to stir things up. [In college], he got me sometimes and I got him sometimes, so it should be fun."BATES STILL WITH THE BUCS
Despite being demoted and not traveling to Atlanta with the Buccaneers last week, Jim Bates still is with the football team.
Bucs head coach Raheem Morris took over play-calling duties for Tampa Bay's struggling defense, and that unit showed significant improvement in its return to the Cover 2, one-gap system, holding Atlanta to 297 yards of offense and notching six sacks.
Morris said Bates still is contributing to the team and may travel to Carolina with the Bucs later in the week.
"We're doing the same process," said Morris. "He's been helping me out, up there in the office grinding away. I go to him and he comes to me. At the end of the week he sees my call sheet. He talked to me about the tempo of the game a little bit. It was kind of like the old coach's ceremony [before the Atlanta game]. He told me to just go out there and relax, shut everybody out, tell everybody to be quiet on the phone and just go with what you feel. He talked about some of the tendencies Atlanta had. That's what we are right now and that's what we'll continue to be until he decides something else or I decide something else."STAT CHANGE
It might not help your fantasy football team, but it's still important to get statistics right.
That's what happened Wednesday when the Elias Sports Bureau announced a scoring change to Tampa Bay's 20-17 loss to Atlanta.
Towards the end of the first quarter, a sack recorded on Falcons quarterback Chris Redman was originally credited to linebacker Quincy Black. However, the sack has now been split between Black and defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson.
The correction gives Wilkerson a team-leading six sacks on the season. Black has 1.5 quarterback takedowns on the year.
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