Walker's Woes Typify Offensive Line's Problems
Kenyatta Walker got off to bad start. A play that took place in the second quarter lingered for the Bucs' right tackle the rest of the game Sunday. ``Sack, fumble. I gave up three points,'' Walker said. ``That's on me. I did that. That's not good.''
Prior to the turnover, Walker's holding penalty negated a 25-yard run by Aaron Stecker that would have set the Bucs up on Carolina's 38-yard line. Instead, the infraction set the Bucs back to their 27-yard line and on the next play, Panthers rookie Julius Peppers got past Walker and sacked Rob Johnson, forcing a fumble. A Carolina field goal followed, tying the game at 3. ``I was really worried they would pull me out because it was bad,'' Walker said. ``One was enough. It hurts me to give up anything.''
Walker wasn't the only one Peppers showed up. Peppers wasn't the only Carolina defensive player who stood out. Peppers and tackle Kris Jenkins each had two of the Panthers' six sacks. ``[Pepper's] got an unbelievable future,'' Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. ``To be real specific, so does this Jenkins, this inside tackle from Maryland. He's a load. And when you put [Mike] Rucker in there and you've got a lot of scheme issues that you have to deal with from [Coach] John Fox and [defensive coordinator] Jack Del Rio, they're a handful on defense.''
Peppers, a rookie out of North Carolina who entered the game tied for the league lead with seven sacks, had a simple plan. ``I just wanted people to know that I was on the field,'' Peppers said. ``I think I accomplished that.''
The Bucs' offensive line felt Peppers' presence often and he provided Walker with more incentive to improve. ``I need to get out of the holes at the beginning of the game,'' Walker said. ``I get the holding call. I get the sack/fumble. Then I go into what I call quicksand. I've got to start off quicker. I can't let things like that affect me throughout the game.''