Hawker wrote:I don't know much about Carolina's D. Someone, enlighten me? Suffice it to say this one comes down to our defense keeping Newton in check, and our offense being able to drastically improve its play from what we witnessed against the Rams save for the opening drive?
Panthers fan here... checking in to maybe talk a little smack, but I don't see the need for it yet.
The Panthers D has been off and on (mostly off). Against the Giants, the D-line looked like the object was to stay as far away from Eli as possible. However, against the Falconvicts, they sacked Matt Ryan 7 times. Also in that game, Michael Turner turned a simple screen pass into a long TD. Our secondary played great against the Saints. However, I don't think they realized it was game day the other 3 weeks. We simply aren't good against the run. We have a lot of speed on defense, but the tackling just isn't there.
Even our former All-Pro middle linebacker Jon Beason is having trouble knocking off the rust after missing practically all of last season. We have a potential All-Pro outside linebacker in Thomas Davis, but he's returning from his third ACL surgery (the first player to attempt such a return). Davis is splitting snaps with rookie Luke Kuechly. Kuechly seems like the real deal, but he makes rookie mistakes and is splitting snaps. Our other outside linebacker, James Anderson stepped up to a new level last season. He's a solid player, but not spectacular.
What the Hawks will exploit is our secondary... rookie CB Josh Norman has been raped all season long. CB Chris Gamble can usually shut down the other side of the field. Our safeties Charles Godfrey and Haruki Nakamura are just plain embarrassing. Godfrey can put a good hit on someone, but can't cover. Nakamura.... well, he can find the field.
Going back to our defensive line, DE Charles Johnson will get pressure. DE Greg Hardy has the potential be in the backfield almost every snap, but for whatever reason, isn't. We have a nice rotation of DEs behind those two, including Antwan Applewhite and the steal of this year's draft, Frank Alexander. Thomas Keiser will work in some rotations and add a little pressure. At DT, we have Ron and Dwan Edwards. Both are better against the pass than against the run. We have Andre Neblett returning from suspension and Sione "rollerskates" Fua for depth.
When the Panthers are on offense, we will run.... read options, triple options, etc. Pete Carroll's tourrettes may act up watching this collegiate offense. Newton has looked unsure at times in the pocket. I don't know if its a mental problem or if the plays are just taking too long to develop. He isn't extending the plays anything like he did as a rookie. Slants and quick outs seem to be absent from our playbook. We run and throw downfield; there's not much else. TE Greg Olsen will get his 6-8 catches. Steve Smith will get at least one 30+yarder. Brandon LaFell will make a few grabs on third and long. But on 3rd and less than 2, we'll be punting or kicking a FG every time. That's the stuff that makes Panthers fans rip our hair out - we average around 6 ypc rushing as a team, but can't convert 3rd/4th and short.