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Picked Off

Promises, promises!  The Carolina Panthers made lots of promises this season.

First, they displayed the kind of talent necessary to go all the way.  They showed promise.

Next, they earned a bye week as the NFC’s second seed.  There was the promise of a home playoff game.

Finally, there was the promise from the players that they were here to take care of business.  Promise broken.

Jake Delhomme’s thirty-fourth birthday was a nightmare.  He was picked off five times and he also fumbled once deep in his own end of the field.

Can we say that Jake was the only reason the Panthers lost this game?  Hardly.  The defense surrendered six catches to Larry Fitzgerald, the only available playmaker the Arizona Cardinals had at wide receiver, for 151 yards and a touchdown.  The problem?  That was in the first half alone!  Totally unforgivable.

Why go into the stats?  They don’t matter.  Even John Fox will tell us that stats are for losers.  Well, the stats don’t lie, coach, since the stats say that the team was a loser on Saturday night 33-13.

Let’s just go straight to the questions and not the normal random thoughts:

  • Ken Whisenhunt had his team ready to play and John Fox didn’t.  That’s a fact.  The question is this – did the Panthers rely on the same game plan they used back in week eight?  It sure looked like it.  That’s a sure way to lose a playoff game.
  • Was Jake Delhomme rusty due to the week off?
  • Did the Panthers take Arizona lightly?
  • Were the Panthers looking ahead to the NFC Championship game?
  • After all of our talk about the NFC South being the best division in football, the two teams representing the division in the playoffs have been taken out by the Arizona Cardinals in consecutive weeks.  Yes, the Arizona freakin’ Cardinals.  Who would have believed that two weeks ago?
  • Jake Delhomme had five interceptions in seven previous playoff starts.  He had five tonight.  What the $%#@ ?????
  • Steve Smith’s ZERO catches in the first half should raise eyebrows.  Did the Cardinals have five guys covering him?
  • Initial meltdown occurred in the second quarter.  Trailing 14-7, Carolina was driving with the ball at the Arizona 14.  Jake is picked off at the goal line.  The result is a field goal.  Next possession, Carolina starts at their own 22.  After an offsides penalty, Carolina has a first and five.  They manage to go from first and five to fourth and seven.  On third down, Jake’s pass is batted down at the line of scrimmage.  After a punt which was nearly blocked, Arizona takes over at their own 38 and proceeds to drive easily for a touchdown to take a 20-7 lead.  Game over.

There are more questions to ask but frankly there isn’t enough energy to type them all.  This one was a beat down extraordinaire.  Time will definitely be available for all of us to break this one down and to look ahead to the offseason which, frankly, came three weeks too early.

The Panthers’ chances for what promised to be a Super season were picked off.

Topics: Carolina Panthers, Jake Delhomme, John Fox, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith

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  • Scott Heiner

    Need to let Delhomme go and find another QB that shows consistensy in a positive way. Happy Birthday to me, I suck.

  • Richard Fox

    Need to let Delhomme, Fox and Trgovich (sp?) the Defensive Co-ordinator go.  That’s the only way the Panthers will ever go to the Super Bowl!  Hardly any throws to Smith and what a poor excuse for pass defense, especially against Fitzgerald.  I hope Mr. Richardson gets a heart transplant soon and then start transplanting the above mentioned persons to “never-never” land!

  • John White

    You know, I’m not sure I can agree.  Jake is not a QB who will put up big numbers.  He is a system QB that fits in well with what John Fox wants to do.  He had a terrible game against Arizona.  I’ll give you that.  But he was also the guy who led the team to a 12-4 record this season.  No QB can do it all and without the running game working, this team is only half as good as their record would indicate.  I would keep Jake and try to develop talent behind him.

  • John White

    I’m not trying to be the disagreement man here.  Still, I agree and disagree about the coaches.  I would keep Fox and lose Trgovac.  Fox is a solid head coach and there are really no better options out there.  I’m not sold on any of the guys available now…including Cowher who really doesn’t want to coach now anyway.

    A defensive coordinator could be an easier find, though.

  • Danny

    NEED A NEW QB !!FOR REAL !!!!!
    JAKE IS GREAT AND ALL BUT IT JUST NOT HIM !!!!

  • Danny

    i felt its time for this thread

    1.sign peppers
    2.new qb
    3. albert haynesworth
    4.new corner

    new Defensive Cord.

    what else

  • Danny

    OK, so our season is over and apparently it’s going to be a long offseason. We had a great regular season but just completely spoiled it tonight and it will not be a good vibe to build off of going into training camp this summer. Not to mention, we do not have a first round pick.

    Well, not a good way for Delhomme to celebrate his birthday. His career is starting to come to a close and there is almost no doubt in my mind he will not be the starter heading into training camp and I may be a little surprised if he is even in a Panthers uniform next season. The real question is, who is the QB of the future. When we signed Delhomme, he was a no-name QB. What may be a good idea is if we sign a sleeper in FA like we did back in 03’ or draft a sleeper pick in a later round. Did anyone say undrafted rookie QB?

    Double Trouble fell into a bit of trouble, which by the way is not exactly their fault. The play calling was horrible and the O-Line simply could not protect. There is no question that DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are the future of this franchise, we just need to build more talent around them. Hoover is a fan favorite and as long as he can block for double trouble, he can stay on our roster.

    Steve Smith did not cash in a reception until the 3rd quarter. Once again, I blame Delhomme’s decision making as well as the Davidson-McCoy playcalling. Then again, every player has bad games. Moose can certainly block and you have to give him credit at age 35, I am just not convinced that he is the answer. We need to get the ball more to Dwayne Jarrett not to mention DJ Hackett and Ryne Robinson are also on that roster of ours. Jeff King and Dante Rosario are good enough tight ends who can get the job done, and early prediction: Gary Barnidge could have an impact year next season and could be a possible receiving threat.

    The O-Line has held up well prior to tonight. Jordan Gross made the Pro Bowl, Wharton and Kalil had great years. Keydrick Vincent played well before his injury. Jeff Otah was our pricy 1st round pick who fits our scheme well. Not to mention we have DEPTH at the O-Line. We just need to get Vincent back and our O-Line will be alright.

    Defensive Line. Peppers had a rebounding season, making the Pro Bowl. Tyler Brayton was a nice FA pickup. Charlie Johnson had his moments to shine. I believe it was a mistake letting Stanley McGlover go. At DT, Kemo is NT and he does not fit our scheme even if he is 345 and a run-stopper. Damione Lewis is a decent DT but the position still needs upgrading. Should be one of our main focuses heading into the NFL Draft.

    The linebackers are solid. TD had a great year and Beast made the Pro Bowl! Diggs is decent I’m just not the biggest fan of him. We should try to sign Tim Shaw and we also have Dan Connor coming back. I think we are covered on LB’s.

    Uh oh secondary. Gamble shined at times, and Harris can hit, but other than that, we need help………..HELP!!!!!! I would not be surprised if Ken Lucas left, and Richard Marshall should be on thin ice as well. charles Godfrey is a project. But with our second round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, we should select Domonique Johnson – CB – Jackson State. Enough said.

    Kasey is a great kicker, Llyod has a big foot, and Jason Baker is a good punter when we are actually protecting him. We get Ryne Robinson back on special teams next year and I am not sure on the status of Mark Jones. I guess we shall see.

    In summary, we have some talent to build around on offense, we just need a field general and an offensive coordinator to compliment. On defense, one way or another, we need to make changes at DT and in the secondary. I am still confident that Fox’s status is safe. Domonique Johnson I believe could be the future at CB. Unfortunately, the fate of this franchise is not up to me or anyone else here, so I guess we will see what happens. Any suggestions???

  • bill assell

    Danny you need to to apply for a job with the Panthers you have impressed me with your suggestions and I agree we need a acurate leader of this team not a gunslinger.Jake has had his day it is time to look elsware. Our defenisive coridinator should go and Ken Lucas should retire.

  • John White

    Danny, I might just have to break down your comment in a new post.  WOW!  Good analysis.  I can’t say we agree on everything but that was a complete job.

  • Ian

    Sometimes it’s just not your day. No matter how good you are, you still have to go out and play the game. Just a tough day for Delhomme and the Cats. They’ll be back next year.

  • rey2009/Danny

    HAHAH thanx so can you put what i wrote on your podcast

  • Bboggs36

    I hate to say it but Jake just didnt get the job done. Id be all for keeping him but this isnt the first time this season. Personally I think as a gift to himself Jake placed a bet on the cardinals. Think about it! Something like 20 of Arizona’s points were off turn overs ( all gifts from Jake!). 2 of his picks were in the red-zone. 

     About our coaches future/performance in that game. Honestly they were not calling the game we were playing. Your QB throws 5 picks and why? Because they refused to run the ball. Its funny how when you think about it John Fox is undefeated when he plays john fox football. If he would have played the whole game how he played the first drive that would have been an easy win.

      To be Honest I think a lot of people in this organization should be fired but theres not much out there to bring in. But Jake has got to be benched or at least not given the ball in the red zone.

  • dwill354real

    Ok the first drive was excellent wee played football like we were supposed to. the next series we ran it again it didnt work as we went three amd out. After that we basically just gave up absolutely quit running the football. we shoulda not tried to throw it deep every single play delhomme sucks always has. he is too emotional. when things aren’t going right he has a temper tantrum and gets frustrated and starts making mistakes. and u cant throw it deep to smith every single time u touch the football u know. what was he thinking? williams is the man. he has done it al season long. carolina d didnt show up, neither did delhomme.