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Notes: Dwan Edwards quickly transitions


Dwan Edwards has only been a Carolina Panther for a few days, but the newly acquired defensive tackle has wasted no time carving out a prominent role.

"He gets into the crease and just pushes," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. "Him coming in gives us a little bit more of that veteran leadership that we were looking for."

Rivera said Edwards' experience (entering his ninth NFL season) and his position made the quick transition possible.

"A lot of times it's just a matter of getting down the terminology," Rivera said. "I don't want to put any of the D-line guys down, but defensive line is probably the easiest position to learn and get yourself ready to go in a (short) amount of time."

BUCS' NEW LOOK: The Panthers' Week 1 opponent has undergone quite a bit of change since last season.

First and foremost, division-rival Tampa Bay has a new head coach in Greg Schiano, who previously served as head coach at Rutgers University.

"Coach Schiano has been great," Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman said in a conference call. "We've got some new faces, new offense. It's been a very busy offseason learning, working.  I'm really excited about starting the season."

As Freeman alluded to, the Carolina defense will be up against several new additions that will play prominent roles in the Bucs' offense.

"The addition of (wide receiver) Vincent (Jackson), (running back) Doug (Martin) obviously, huge, huge impact," Freeman said. "Guys like (tight end) Dallas Clark have come in and made a
lot of plays, done a lot of things."

INJURY UPDATE: Running back Jonathan Stewart (ankle) and offensive lineman Jeff Byers (knee) did not practice Thursday.

Rivera said the team is formulating a plan in the event Stewart is unavailable Sunday.

"That is one situation that we've game planned," Rivera said. "It's just a matter of what he can tolerate. We'll see how that is tomorrow morning."

Wide receiver Steve Smith said his foot is feeling "fine" and that swelling due to an infection has gone down.

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