First-half observations on Buccaneers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Some observations on the Buccaneers from their first half against the Panthers.

  • So much for the talk over the past few days that Tampa Bay left guard Keydrick Vincent would be replaced in the starting lineup. That didn’t happen as Vincent got another start and a $78,000 bonus (his contract calls for him to get that for every game he starts). But the talk about getting backup guard Jeremy Zuttah some playing time was real. Vincent got most of the early playing time, but Zuttah came in for a series early in the second quarter. Look for this continue. The Bucs want to keep Vincent fresh.

  • As long as we’re talking about trends, let’s go ahead and accept the fact that it’s going to be a trend for tight end Kellen Winslow to miss a lot of practice time during the week, but be ready to play on Sundays. That’s the way it’s worked the first two weeks and that’s probably the way it will work all season. Winslow’s got a chronic knee injury and the Bucs are going to protect him and make Sundays the only day that really matters for him.

  • I’m not usually one who thinks it’s a good idea for a quarterback to run much. But I think Josh Freeman’s the exception. He doesn’t look to run. But, when it’s there, he takes it. When you’re as big and strong as Freeman, and have a willingness to slide like he does, the chances of getting hurt aren’t all that great.

  • Speaking of Freeman and Winslow, if you didn’t see the pass they hooked up on just about midway through the second quarter, go find it on a highlight somewhere. Freeman broke out of two potential sacks then threw an absolute rope to Winslow, who was pretty well covered, about 50 yards down the sideline.

  • I’ll be back in a few minutes with some first-half observations on the Panthers.