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Panthers vs. Bucs News and Notes


Lots of interesting doings have happened in Tampa Bay this week, enough for a quick discussion before we tune in to the Panthers' takedown of their favorite division opponent.

Starting out with the big news, starting defensive end Gaines Adams has been traded to the Bears for a future draft pick:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have traded defensive end Gaines Adams to the Chicago Bears for a 2010 draft pick, the team announced Friday night.

Adams, the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft, had been a disappointment in his first two seasons under coach Jon Gruden. He was supposed to get a fresh start under coach Raheem Morris. Defensive coordinator Jim Bates spent much of the offseason working on pass-rush moves with the defensive end.

Adams will be replaced by Stylez White, a good DE against the run, but someone who's not much of a pass rusher and who's a little undersized at 6'3", 270.  White's got a non-stop motor and really gets after the play.  One thing the Panthers need to watch is how he hits.  If he gets by the tackle and lays one on Jake, he's the type of tackler who causes fumbles.  Fortunately for the Panthers, one of the knocks on White is that he's the kind of lineman who tends to get swallowed up by big tackles.

B. J. Askew is going to miss the game too, for different reasons.  He was in a car accident earlier this week, and while it was minor it was enough to cause neck and back pain.  Holding Askew out is more of a precautionary measure.

Starting in his place will be Earnest Graham, who's played this position before.

Askew was held out of all three of Tampa Bay's practices this week. He will be replaced by running back Earnest Graham, who has seen playing time at fullback before.

"Earnest will be the starting fullback in B.J.'s place," said Morris. "We look forward to that. He's done that role before, and done it well. He'll get some more touches and blocking opportunities in that role this weekend."

At first glance this could be taken as good news by Panthers fans.  You never want to wish injury on someone but when a starter is out for a game it's usually a good thing.  However, having Graham back there gives the Bucs two quality running options on any given play. 

Askew wasn't a huge part of the Tampa Bay offense.  So far this year he's rushed once for no gain and caught two passes for a whopping three yards.  With Graham back there though, they may go to the fullback more than they normally would.

Finally, it's a certainty that Jeff Faine will be back in the lineup Sunday. 

Finally, some good news for the 0-5 Bucs.

C Jeff Faine says he believes he will return to the lineup Sunday against the Panthers.

Faine has missed a month recovering from a left triceps injury suffered four weeks ago.

This isn't a last minute surprise, he wasn't supposed to miss more than four weeks.  But it will have a big impact on the play of the Bucs' line.  To date they've been underperforming in the running game and allowing far too many quarterback pressures.  Faine is not only a significant upgrade over backup Sean Mahan talent-wise, he's the leader of their offensive line and calls out the blocking assignments. 

His presence alone should fix a lot of problems for the Bucs, and may cause some for the Panthers.

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