On the Line: Bucs at Panthers

On the Line: Bucs at Panthers

C3 On the Line series bets the Carolina Panthers line and discusses the stakes of the game in the context of the Panthers season. CarolinaCatChronicles.com On the Line is not betting advice, but a means for football discussion. 

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David Gettis Gets Opportunity With Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers invited former Carolina Panther David Gettis to training camp tryouts this week. Gettis was a favorite of mine during his intermittent time in Carolina.  The rookie standout, faced continual injury problems, ending his Panther career returning from a torn ACL and hampered by hamstring injuries.  Gettis was quickly forgotten by most fans and written off entirely by the new Gettleman regime, even after a strong 2013 preseason.

I’ve always wondered why Carolina so quickly parted ways with Gettis prior to the season.  Some have indicated that he wasn’t fully healthy by the end of the preseason and wasn’t worth occupying a roster spot because he wouldn’t have seen the field that much even if he was 100%.  Others say Gettis didn’t practice all that well.  This always surprised me given his production when he occasionally did see the field while healthy.  There’s a difference between practicing poorly and never practicing.  I’d be stunned if Gettis was lazy the few times he ever did practice.

Gettis does Super Man Celebration after this TD catch!

He’s going to have to work hard this week if he wants to see Tampa’s training camp.  They just signed a very tall rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (6'6), adding to Mike Evans (6'5) and Vincent Jackson (6'5) for what has to be the tallest bunch of pass catchers in the NFL. The Bucs could probably use a bit more speed than Gettis offers given Tiquan Underwood’s departure to Carolina.  Gettis isn’t fast, and there is always worry that he’ll get injured.  Making Tampa Bay’s camp and surviving the preseason would be a tremendous success for Gettis given his struggles over the last 4 years.  Lovie Smith does love those big boy receivers though.  Gettis would be another big target for McCown or Glennon if he can manage to make the rotation.

I’ve always rooted for Gettis and was a disappointed to see him not make Carolina’s 53 man roster after a decent preseason showing.  He was also a guy that I had hoped we would sign after Steve Smith was dinged up late in the year. Best of luck Gettis, and just #KeepPounding!

Hold Up, the Bucs Ain't Champs Yet! A Pre-Draft Evaluation of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There's been a lot made of the Tampay Bay’s offseason free agency activity, especially hiring of Coach Lovie Smith.  The media had fawned over these additions, some already deeming the Buc’s the new division leader.  It has been busy offseason for Tampa with 17 total new faces on the roster. While there have been heaps of praise, I don’t think there has been enough coverage free agent departures and problems with important components of the team’s roster. Here's a couple of issues I see pre-draft for the Buc’s.


Secondary: Tampa is playing 3 strong safeties without a true free safety. Dshon Goldson, Major Wright, and Mark Barron all have issues in coverage and are best playing in the box. I’m interested to see how they fit in a Tampa 2 base defense. The newly added Alterraun Verner is a good solid corner who fits the Tampa 2 defense, but he's not an upgrade over Revis. 
Big questions also loom with Mike Jenkins, Jonthan Banks, and Michael Johnson.

Linebackers: Tampa has an excellent outside linebacker in Lavonte David, but then what? Mason Foster is horrible in coverage. This position has to be addressed in the draft.  I’m guessing this will be a position Tampa Bay will look to upgrade in the draft given Lovie’s history with beast linebackers in the middle, such as Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.

Defensive line: Consisting of Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, Michael Johnson, Da’Quan Bowers, and Adrian Clayborn, this line is a mixed bag of goods. McCoy is an outstanding player, but what about the rest?  Big name free agent, Michael Johnson, was brought to shore of last year’s lack of defensive push. Johnson showed promise in 2012 compiling 11.5 sacks with the Cincinnati Bengals, but that figure dropped to a mere 3.5 sacks in 2013. The Bengals do one of the league’s premier pass rushers in Geno Atkins, so it's not like Johnson didn't have help. It unclear why his production dropped so dramatically.  Some think Johnson should flourish in Lovie’sdefense, but we haven’t seen much consistency yet from the league’s, now, 4th highest paid defensive player. McDonald, a backup defensive tackle for Seattle, had 5.5 sacks last season. He could be valuable in passing situations. Bowers has yet to live up to his acclaimed draft status, and Clayborn’s future with the Bucs is a question.


Quarterback: Tampa added free agent quarterback and former Panther, Josh McCown, who played especially well in Chicago last year. There were a lot of things in McCown's favor, however, that may not be as prevalent with his new team. First, he had an offensive guru in head coach Marc Trestman. Second, Chicago has tons of offensive talent with studs Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall, Michael Bennett, Matt Forte, Eric Weems, and Devin Hester. There aren’t many teams with that type of offensive talent, and Tampa certainly isn’t one of them. Adding an experienced quarterback is a good thing, but they are currently shopping Mike "Ole Neckbones" Glennon. This most likely means they're planning on drafting a quarterback this Thursday. We’ll see how affects Tampa’s offensive direction.

Wideouts: There's been tons of national talk about the departure of Carolina's receiver corps. Nevertheless, there has been little said about Tampa’s corps, which not only lacks any threat behind Vincent Jackson, but also lacks a potent tight-end. At least Carolina added Cotchery, Avant, Underwood and Dickson.  The Bucs signed Louis Murphy and Brandon Myers, hardly an intimidating bunch. 

Offensive line: On the O'line, Tampa signed Anthony Collins but released former pro-bowler Donald Penn. They also allowed former pro-bowler Davin Joseph and Jeremy Zuttah to walk after having down years in 2013, only to replace them with Oniel Cousins, a backup from the Browns, and Evan Dietrich-Smith, an ok center from Green Bay. Carl Nicks, who is sidelined with a foot infection, still hasn't been able to practice with the team. If Carl Nicks isn't 100% by the start of the season, the Bucs could be in trouble.

The draft is Thursday and the Bucs will be looking to upgrade at quarterback, wide receiver, and offensive line. The fear of Tampa winning the division is a little bit premature. Let’s not go and crown them just yet. They have an outstanding coaching staff and some key defensive pieces, they still need a lot of work personnel wise.

Go Panthers!

By Willie Perry