Scott Says

I think Derek Anderson will start vs. Bucs, while Josh Norman sips tea

Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) replaced Cam Newton after Newton suffered a concussion in the second half Sunday. Could he start vs. Bucs on Oct. 10?
Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) replaced Cam Newton after Newton suffered a concussion in the second half Sunday. Could he start vs. Bucs on Oct. 10? dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

I’m far from a doctor, but I believe Derek Anderson will start the Carolina Panthers’ next game.

If he does, there will be some symmetry to that. Anderson has started exactly two games in his career for Carolina, and both came against Tampa Bay in 2014. The Panthers won both of them.

Carolina’s next game will be on “Monday Night Football” on Oct. 10 at home against Tampa Bay. Like 1-3 Carolina, the Buccaneers (1-3) are struggling mightily.

Anderson, 33, is considered one of the better backup quarterbacks in the NFL. “I have the same faith in him that I have in No. 1,” Panthers offensive guard Trai Turner said of Anderson compared to Cam Newton.

Newton sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter of Carolina’s 48-33 loss Sunday. Anderson came in and immediately led Carolina to 16 points on two touchdowns and a couple of two-point conversions. “We were starting to gain some tread a little bit,” Anderson said.

With Carolina trailing 41-33, Anderson got the ball back again in a one-score game with 1 minute, 25 seconds to go. But on the first play of that drive, Anderson overthrew tight end Greg Olsen on what he called “a nonconfident throw.” He said he tried to pull the throw back at the last second but ended up letting it go anyway.

Atlanta’s Robert Alford intercepted the ball and returned it for a touchdown. Anderson had another interception on the Panthers’ final drive.

Before that, though, Anderson did get the ball out more quickly than Newton on a number of his throws and threw for 172 yards in one quarter. He said he won’t change anything this week, whether he starts or not. “It’s business as usual for me,” he said. “The preparation will be the same. ... I’ll come in, work and see what happens.”

▪ I can’t believe the Panthers kept trying to single-cover Julio Jones. Even after Jones caught passes on Atlanta’s first three plays. Even after James Bradberry went out with a toe injury. Even after Jones had 170 yards at halftime.

Because the Panthers let Josh Norman walk, Carolina had no one on the field who could possibly match up with Jones (who had an incredible 300 yards receiving). But devoting two players to him on every play at least would make it a fairer fight.

Norman, incidentally, was asked about Jones’ 300-yard day after getting his first interception of the season against Cleveland in a Washington victory Sunday.

“I’m just gonna sip my tea on that one,” Norman told reporters.

There’s no doubt Norman would have helped. But even with him in the lineup last December in Atlanta, Jones torched Carolina for 178 yards.

Through three quarters today, that’s probably the worst collective game we’ve played since a lot of us have been here.

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, on Atlanta’s 48-33 win over Carolina. The Falcons led 34-10 through three quarters.

▪ Carolina scored 23 points in the final quarter to give itself a chance, but those first three quarters were horrid.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of concern,” Olsen said. “Through three quarters today, that’s probably the worst collective game we’ve played since a lot of us have been here.”

▪ Panthers offensive tackle Mike Remmers had three penalties in the space of 43 seconds in the fourth quarter – two false starts and an offensive holding. “Just a lack of focus,” said Remmers.

The Panthers scored on that drive anyway. The bigger problem for Remmers was he had to switch from right to left tackle because of Michael Oher’s concussion, which was only announced Friday.

“Everything is backward on the left,” Remmers said.

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