Panthers Have More to Learn in Loss to Baltimore

July 29, 2010 - Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States - 29July2010: Carolina Panther top draft pick Jimmy Clausen.

The title is somewhat misleading. However, there are some areas where the young guys have a decent amount of studying to do, and thankfully, there are three more weeks of preseason before wins and losses really count for something. Until then, it’s mostly a time to bare it and grin, even though as the regular season draws closer with each passing week, the urgency to see improvement will become more prevalent from fans.

Thursday night’s loss to Baltimore was not a surprise to me, and at the same time I really didn’t mind the loss. All-in-all, it was a good game. Both teams showed some strengths and weaknesses, and right now every team needs to make adjustments and improve in areas. Realize too, that this is a very young team, where the age averages out to about 25…even though Matt Moore turned 26 the other day.

So for the first time in a while, I was actually excited by this game. Win or lose, it was just great to see football back on TV again, and seeing all the new faces. Aside from the more noted players, I was struggling early on to remember who was wearing what number. The old standards are gone now, and aside from a handful, the new faces are plentiful. You could definitely sense the youth on this team. Reactions were a lot faster than they’ve been in recent years.

So which players stood out tonight? There were a few, to be certain.

We’ll start with second-year fullback Tony Fiammetta, who had a number of passes thrown his way, and I was astounded each time he made a grab and kept going with it.

Another player stepping up to the plate, was Dan Connor at middle linebacker. The guy has definitely picked up the system to start out, and I would say it’s safe to say he will show more improvement as the weeks continue.

Jimmy Clausen had a strong showing, and I do believe made a strong case to be the No. 2 quarterback — even though this is only the first preseason game, and he has yet to play against a first-team defense. I did like what I saw from Clausen.

At defensive end, it seems safe to say “Julius who?”

The defense registered five sacks against the Ravens, three from Tyler Brayton, and two consecutive sacks by rookie defensive end Greg Hardy later in the game. Also looking really good was rookie defensive and and linebacker Eric Norwood.

Overall, the defensive front was pretty strong throughout, and looks right on track to be ready by Week One at the Giants. The offense was bland for the most part. It did see some flashes of strength from tight end Dante Rosario, Dwayne Jarrett, and Brandon LaFell.

Also turning heads and grabbing my attention, was Tyrell Sutton, who until he fumbled the ball on the goal line, was motoring the offensive unit down the field on one drive.

I’m sure the offense could have done without three fouls committed by left tackle Jordan Gross, but that’s par for the course.

Special teams was slow for the most part, showing that it’s still the unit that is this team’s weakest link. There were a couple of good returns, but still more of the fair catch waving as last year. A couple of times 10 to 15 yards could have been gained in lieu of waving the fair catch.

The defense definitely looks to be ahead of it’s offensive counterparts. Which is great, considering the defensive line was the biggest question mark going into the season.

In the end, this is still preseason, and considering that three of the Panthers’ four preseason opponents will be seen again in regular season, it’s better to keep things as bland as possible –  only showing enough to see what they have.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Brandon LaFell Carolina Panthers Dante Rosario Dwayne Jarrett Jordan Gross Matt Moore NFL Tyler Brayton Tyrell Sutton

  • John

    Hey all. Sorry I haven’t been around it’s been very crazy here the last couple of weeks. But I had to carve out some time since we finally played a game.

    First Matt Moore. Considering the game plan was something any of us could have drawn up in a few minutes he looked decent against an outstanding, blitzing defense. Consider if Smith had been on the field everyone else would have been way more open. The penalties(not to mention the drops) really hurt him as it seemed he was starting to find his rhythm. He still needs work but all in all I saw a starter.

    On Fiametta we knew he should be good and I think he showed it last night. Some really nice blocks and some nice catches. Made a very solid case for being the starter there.

    Clausen definitely was way ahead of the other two at least for this game. Made some nice throws, showed some good poise, made his reads and hit the check down. I liked what I saw. One pre-season game against the twos and threes isn’t the final test but I think we have a keeper here and he may well challenge for the starting job next season.

    On Gross 2 of those penalties were crap. Even Gruden and company said so. Still he looked rustier than I expected. He needs to get it going real soon.

    Sticking with the offense for a little longer I liked what I saw from Jarrett. I am convinced if they will let him grow on the field some he can play in this league. I liked the use of the tight ends. And of course DeAngelo looked season ready. Sutton looked really good and versatile. A solid RB in the rotation.

    Now to defense. I was pleasantly surprised by the pressure and I think we can all breathe at least a little easier about the line. The Ravens are a very, very good team with loads of talent. Considering all the new faces not bad. Beason did not look like a Pro Bowler last night though and I have to say I hope we are not frittering away a season with him moving to the weakside. Why won’t they put Jamar out there? Does anyone know? Why did we trade for him and not give him a shot?

    Our DBs need work but again remember Gamble didn’t make the trip and that caused some moves to be made. Also there was an obvious push off on that TD. Given that there are still lots of reps needed back there obviously.

    Special teams were at best lackluster. But then again it wasn’t very long before the people playing there were mainly folks we’ll never see in the regular season, so we have to be a little careful making overall judgments there. I will say Kasay didn’t impress but it wasn’t all on him. This unit needs a lot of work everywhere.

    Lastly let me say I am so glad the season is getting started. I was raised in South Florida when the only game in town was football. And I really miss it in the offseason. Can’t wait for them to count.

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  • haven2772

    Panthers 12, Ravens 17. (Good thing it doesn’t count until Week 11)

    You know, this is one of those games where mistakes cost us the game. Matt Moore could of easily lead that second and third possession he had down the field for at least 3 points, probably more. (Like John said, those penalties were bullshit, Gross wasn’t holding, the Officials just wanted to make it a point that they were going to be watching the O-line more this season).

    Matt Moore looked great in my opinion, even though he had some passes that floated out of bounds to the TE. His balls were far more accurate than Clausen. The fumble wasn’t his fault, he got hit on the blindside and I’m disappointed our guys let that happen to him. I thought it was more impressive that he bounced back and didn’t let the drop bother him. Good stuff.

    Jimmy Clausen looked really good, very scrappy and has a quick trigger finger. Of course we saw alot of dump offs to the RB from him, but I don’t mind that. Get what’s a sure thing before you take chances, if it was Williams or Stewart out there getting the ball, I’m happy. The INT wasn’t his fault, Dexter Jackson fell down but he could have put it in a better spot. We’ve got two impressive QB’s it seems, that’s a good outlook for the franchise. (Finally this QB carousel will end.)

    - It’s in my opinion, after last night’s performance that Clausen should be the back-up for Moore. Cantwell really wasn’t impressive at all, he has like no alertness.

    WR’s. I don’t like what I saw out of LaFell in terms of his catching ability, he should of made a bigger impact if he wants to start. His blocking was good though, we have a temporary replacement for Moose at least. Dwayne Jarret had some nice catches but I want him to start shaking people off his routes more often, he could never get open after the 1st Quarter. Edwards we all knew was going to be a project, last night reconfirmed that. I was impressed that he didn’t drop ANY balls on the returns, considering the weather. I think if he sticks to making sure he retains possession, after getting use to returning that he will make an impact. It’ll just take time. Gettis, either didn’t seem like he was playing last night OR he just wasn’t doing that great of a job.

    Defense. This is where I was most impressed with our team last night, NOW we know why that first scrimmage in training camp the offense couldn’t score. The pass rush was beautiful! Brayton and Hardy made the biggest impact and I’m confident to say if we keep seeing this productivity out of our DE’s, we won’t be missing Mr. Peppers. (Btw EQ, I think that Brayton only had two sacks on Flacco?) Forget about the QB competition, looks like Brown, Brayton and Hardy are going to be the ones to watch.

    Our secondary didn’t look that great, but Chris Gamble wasn’t out there. Munnerlyn claims that he was shoved in the endzone with that TD pass, but it looked like to me that he fell. (Get up, shut up and roll with the punches.) C.J. Wilson had that fumble return for a TD, yeah but I wasn’t that impressed with him on his coverage. Dante Stallworth was owning him in the third quarter, but he’s a rookie so I’ll give him a chance.

    Special Teams we really didn’t get to see that much of other than Edwards debut, we didn’t have any kick return possibilities.

    Hopefully these rookies will work out there kinks during the next three games. Overall, I’m excited at the energy our team is filled with.

  • haven2772

    Oh yeah, I didn’t mention the running backs because well… what’s to say? Williams and Stewart have got that on lock. (I really do hope to see them more involved in the passing game this year.) Tyrell Sutton needs to work on those hands, but he has explosion and can possibly challenge Goodson for 3rd string this season.

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blitzradio Eric Quackenbush

      Running backs is definitely a lock. No worries there, barring…well…ya know.

      As for the No. 3 running back position, right now Sutton has a leg up on Goodson, just because of Goodson’s injury. I did like what I saw from Sutton, and as for Josh Vaughan, I didn’t really have a chance to get a good look at him, as I was occupied with a broadcast, so I’ll have to look for him against the Jets.

  • J. Gore

    I’m surprised that nobody has even mentioned Josh Vaughn. Now that’s who impressed me on offense. Possible backup FB behind Fiametta. He does seem to have some size. By the way where was Rayshawn Jackson? Fiametta impressed me too. One of his key blocks had me lookin to make sure he wasn’t wearing superman’s #45 on his chest. lol Can I get a Fiiiiiiiiiaaaaa!!! In case you guys missed it he met Ray Lewis a yard or two past the line stood him up and forced him to backpedel out of his run blitz. And that’s not the only time he bested the all-pro. The running attack looks as good as ever and now with the exception of Goodson seems well on its way back to being 100%. D-LO had a couple nice runs against that huge D-line and word from camp is that J-STEW is back in the lineup. Fox seemed to be overjoyed. Thunder & Lightning is BACK BABY!!
    Matt Moore looked a little shaky on his first two drives to me. Seemed to be letting the ball sail high on most of his passes. One in particular to a wide open Jeff King, who seemed to be getting open alot more than we’ve seen in the past. (I wonder if maybe he’s shed a few pounds and added a quicker step into his route running?) But on the third drive #3 really seemed to settle down and began looking like a starting QB in mid season form. The penalties by Gross and Wharton cost both QB’s a good finish to what started out as successful drives. Dwayne Jarrett, keep up the hard work. Alot of us are still pulling for you. Also heard #80 was the star in this mornings practice. Darrin Grantt said he made at least six “SPECTACULAR” catches this morning as both he and Kenny Moore returned to work in this mornings light pad workout. Wallace Wright & Dexter Jackson are beginning to disappoint me, but they also made a couple decent short plays. The rookie WR’s looked like rookies playin on a wet field. They will improve, and LaFell i have no doubt would have had his first professional TD if not for the perfectly placed hand of the defender. Charly Martin is back in camp but won’t be catching any balls any time soon. He’s out there runnings around with a Doug Evans glove on. (Bowling ball sized cast.) But at least he’s honning his routes and workin out.
    Armanti”If the suit fits”Edwards struggled a little bit catching the ball but seemed to have no trouble getting open. I though he played great on punt returns with the exception of the stutter steps that bogged him down at the fifty. I think he could have gotten alot more on that return if he’d have just made one cut and go move. I wanna see more of Gettis on Kickoff returns and as a gunner on special teams. Doesn’t seem like Marcus Hudson and Wallace Wright improved anything. Can we trade them both to Detroit for Daunte Wesley and a fresh new Gatoraid Bucket?? I think not having Jordan Senn and the other LB Warren on the field may have hurt our special teams play more than we know.
    The defense really impressed me and snuffed out one of my biggest worries going into this season. The only thing that disappointed me was seeing Godfrey get beat on about a 20yd route and him not being in position to help Captain out on the TD catch by Clayton. Captain Munnerlyn, Richard Marshall, and Sherrod Martin looked pretty good. They do need some work though. C.J. Wilson was another disappointment despite his fumble recovery. I thought this was weird though. It seemed like Captain was lining up in Gamble’s spot covering the #1 guy most of the time. Iwould have thought Marshall would have been in that role. (Maybe tryin to shake Marshall a little with his future with us still up in the air.) Hmmmmmm….. Captain played well though considering his size lining up against Boldin and Clayton. I halfway expected him to get beat up on. But he played solid. I think I saw him just riding in Boldin’s back pocket on one play. lol As far as the touchdown pass? There was some contact but I think he pulled more of an acting job and was depending on the ref to make the call instead of relying on his physical abilities to make the play.
    The LB corp wasn’t as bad looking to me as others may have thought. They did continuosly get beat up by the screen and the PA pass, but that just shows how young they are. It’ll improve as they begin to trust their instincts more. Although I would still like to see some adjustments to the lineup in at least 1 of our 3 remaining games. James Anderson should have been checked to see what size studs were on his cleats. The wet conditions seemed to affect him and Godfrey more than anyone else. I want to see Willams on the left side with Beason in the middle and Anderson, Connor, and Norwood sharing the reps on the right side. For at least one game Coach.
    Eric I have to call you out on this one bro. I loved your article, but we actually had six sacks. 2 by Tyler”Square Jaw”Brayton (Hope to see him back soon. Sounds like he’s really developing into an outspoken leader.) 2 by rookie sensation Greg “I’ve got the ice for your Peppers” Hardy, 1 by a potential starting OLB Eric “Woodshed” Norwood, and 1 by DE Eric”You’ve never seen me on TV before”Moore. LOL, man I just had to much fun with that.
    Clausen is who Gruden thought he was and we’ve got him on the hook!! What can I say the guy looked great. The lone interception was clearly not his fault and looked to be on a rail to the WR’s #’s. Jackson would have definitely had the better position over the DB. The snaps from Center Steve Justice were a problem all night. I believe I’d have left his ass in Maryland. When Bernadeau took over with the snaps it seemed to clear up. (Not so sure who made the bad snap on the botched FG or missed extra point trys.) But back to Jimmy. He had more poise than half the starting QB’s on the field today. Even if it wasn’t against starters. The guy continuosly made play after play. From his checkdowns to his loose but accurate spirals. (The ball was wet.) He really impressed me. Even when the play looked all but busted he seemed to be able to make somethin happen. Surrounded by DE’s and almost becoming a pickle sandwich he completes a shuttle pass to Vaughn for a big gain. A make shift screen to Vaughn while Vaughn was surrounded by at least six linemen seemed to show off his accuracy better than every play except the flapping duck that ended up right in the hands of a double maybe triple teamed Dante Rossario. Just one game but damn it looked like the things I’ve seen Favre and Young do in years past. I hope he gets at least one half with the starters this preseason. I’m not saying he’s our starter I’m just saying he’s our solid #2 guy.
    No I do not mind seeing us loose this game. It answered alot of questions for me. I just hope it didn’t open any of the media’s eyes just yet. I won’t them to keep overlooking us as they always tend to do. That way when December arrives we can all set back and smile after we lean over to give them a hand climbing aboard. It’s time to get on the Bandwagon Panther Nation. It’s gonna be one helluva ride. GO PANTHERS!!

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blitzradio Eric Quackenbush

      No problem, man. I’m human I too make mistakes, lol. I need preseason too, ya know. ;)

      I was looking for Rashawn Jackson, and I was disappointed when he didn’t get any playing time — maybe he did, but nothing was sent his way. Again, I need preseason to familiarize myself with the new faces and the number to name recognition. It was an interesting night for me too, with so many new players on hand.

      As for the linebacker alignment, I’d like to see at least one more game with the same alignment. After that, if it still looks like it’s slow going, then for the last two games put Beason in the middle, and rotate Williams and Connor at weakside. I think Anderson is a good fit at either weak or strongside position.

      I like the nicknames too, good stuff. Overall, what you said, man.

  • John

    My bad on Vaugh. He really did make some plays. I know he was brought in due to all the injuries but I think you have to see if he can continue to do it and if so find him a spot.

  • haven2772

    It’s going to be tough for Vaughan to get a spot on the roster in my opinion.

    • John

      I’m sure you’re right.

      • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blitzradio Eric Quackenbush

        We’ll see. We still need to see what Rashawn Jackson can contribute. Jackson could be the odd-man out, since he was undrafted. It could definitely go either way there.

  • mcap

    Unfortunately I missed the game, so I am catching up by reading your comments. It sounds like the doubts we had about the D-line were just that,doubts. What was the deal with Gross? An off game or what? I didn’t see much about our backers,how did the Beast do playing Will?

    It’s good to know that our QB situation is finally solidified, we have one in Moore that will shine this year and another one in Clausen that will fight for #1 next year.

    If there is one group that really gives you doubts about how well they will do,besides special teams,who would that be?

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blitzradio Eric Quackenbush

      Unfortunately, I was only able to half-watch the second half, since I was doing a late show in BTR, but the defensive line really impressed me. One thing to keep in mind too, Baltimore wasn’t throwing everything it had at the Panthers either, so by Week 11 or thereabout, I think the d-line will be ready to roll against the Ravens for real. In the meantime, I was still impressed by our defensive unit as a whole, even though the lack of Chris Gamble stuck out like a sore thumb. But even Captain needs his reps…Right now though, I don’t see Munnerlyn being anything more than a nickel back. Very undersized. It’s one thing to be a receiver and you’re running forward and looking behind you to catch a pass. It’s even more difficult to defend it and try to make a leaping grab while backpedaling. I like the guy’s motor and tenacity, but he’s still got a lot of “growing” to do, this only being his second year.

      Beason was a little slow playing weakside, but I still think it’s too early to throw in the towel on that experiment. Both Beason and Connor excelled at their respective positions in college, and with another week of prep, they’ll look better against the Jets.

      Gross was shaking off some rust. I know the general consensus, is that the o-line looked bad in the first quarter, but if you look at the Ravens defense, one of it’s signature plays is overloading the offensive line by sending a linebacker between the guard and tackle. A good offensive coordinator will come up with a plan of attack to defend against that in regular season. As for Gross, the guy’s coming back from a broken leg (not that that excuses his penalties (deserved/fair or not), and the League has made the rules tougher on the offensive line. If anything, those penalties on Gross may have been a good reminder for him to not be as edgy during regular season. Also, it gives away Carolina’s play on the next down, because his false starts are committed mainly on passing downs. I’d like to see Gross be a little more meticulous while awaiting the snap. If it means he has to lay back a little bit, then so be it. It’s worth not racking up boneheaded penalties.

      Next year is a question mark. I’d like to think a new CBA will get worked out, even if it comes down to a race between the clock and midnight. If a new CBA is put into place, then I think Carolina re-signs Richard Marshall, DeAngelo Williams, Ryan Kalil, and Matt Moore. Provided Moore does a good job this season, what’s it going to hurt Jimmy Clausen by sitting on the bench and learning the offense even more?

      The one group that I’m still concerned about is at safety. I didn’t like much of what I saw from Charles Godfrey or Sherrod Martin, but they’re smart athletes and will improve throughout training camp. Special teams irritated me the most however, especially the number of fair catches waved. I would like to see the return game become more aggressive and take more risks than it did last year. Time to light it up!

  • J. Gore

    I say we put Goodson on the PUP list and give his ankle plenty of time to recover. And if Vaughn continues to play well give him the backup FB role if he can block. Rayshawn Jackson was supposed to be the #1 FB in the draft but I don’t think anyone selected a FB. I’d still like to see him play before we just cut him. That’s gotta be the toughest hurdle with a team as young as ours. Getting everyone a decent amount of playing time, evaluating the youth and not letting anyone slip through the cracks unnoticed.
    As far as who am Iworried about the most I’d probably have to say the LB’s. Originally it was the front four but now I’m leaning more towards the backers. I want to see the same lineup at least once more too Eric. But I can’t say it loud enough. Don’t fix what ain’t broke. Beason is the Mike and that’s where I feel he should line up on Sunday. With TD out there will be plenty of work for the others LB’s to do in a rotation scheme. Just my opinion.
    Wallace Wright and Marcus Hudson have played their career’s on special teams for two reasons. One being they excelled at it with their previous teams or Two because it’s the only way they could make the roster. I’m beginning to think it may be the latter. I say give the young receivers a chance and the young DB’s too. Not sure if Aaron Francisco belongs in the same category as Wright and Hudson but he deserves a shot to play after the way special teams played Thursday night.