I gotta tell you, when when I watch a preseason game I have to keep reminding myself that the overall outcome is meaningless. I want to focus on certain aspects of it and try to draw some sort of sense of what the players and units will do when it counts. On one end I want to say, “this defensive line is ready,” but I want to see more before I buy into it.
On the other end, one thing is painfully clear. Special Teams needs to find the panic button and HIT IT! NOW! Honestly and objectively, with no doubt in anyone’s mind, They were absolutely horrible.
Offense should not be too far behind them in the “Panic Line”. It was our good luck that the Jets’ offense also stunk (another reason I want to see more from this Defensive Line before I buy into it.)
But on, let’s get started with a look at the game.
Special Teams: As I watch the game, I follow Darrin Gant on Twitter and do find him informative as well as very entertaining. For me the tweet of the night had to be…
They just did that. Can his replacement get three preseason games? RT @rhynept72 How about FIRING THE SPECIAL TEAMS COACH!!!!!
A bit strong I think, as Jeff Rodgers has just been hired and I guess we need to give him some time to get settled in. But it is really hard when your unit has pretty much set up a dismal opposing offense field goal opportunities. For me it is really simple. Returners need to secure the ball. Catch it, put glue on your hands, whatever it is going to take. When they get the ball, they have to make good decisions with it. Not sure what their practice schedule is this week, but I hope special teams gets a lot of work. They really need it.
Minor issues were also becoming a problem. Armanti Edwards misplaying a Fair Catch that contributed to Jordan Pugh getting hit in the leg with the punt is what leaps to mind. Mental errors like that can do a great deal of harm to the overall effort. You can write this off to “Rookie Errors” for the moment, but this will also need to be addressed.
So to summarize Special Teams, I would say somebody needs to be ready to be a solid returner who can secure the ball and make good decisions with it….you know….the obvious stuff.
On the bright side, Jason Baker was the Pepsi Player of the game for the Panthers.
The Punter……The Punter was the Pepsi Player of the Game.
Defense: You know what? Julius What’s-His-Face is no longer in Carolina. Have you heard about this? Didn’t know if you knew. They do not talk about that very much (yes, that was sarcasm).
It did not seem to matter very much last night. It does seem that the defensive line is getting pressure on the quarterback against a Jets offensive line that was given quite a bit of pregame love last night.
Jon Beason looks like he is settling in quite nicely and having Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall both on the field also added a great deal. Dan Connor seems to be falling into place at MLB rather nicely, so there aren’t too many complaints on defense.
But to be honest, I hope they will sustain this momentum. I want to see more.
Offense: It just seems like they cannot get anything going at all. Not for a lack of trying and things are not looking good. But let’s not forget that they are playing with missing pieces to the overall unit. To my knowledge, these last two opponents have not had to contend with that problem like the Panthers have, and there are a lot of very rough edges for Carolina to work out, so while I am hoping that a lot of work is put into the offense, I am also considering that there are still big pieces left out, so I am not ready to say we are seeing a total picture of how the offense is truly looking.
I do wonder about the receivers and whether or not they are providing good opportunities for Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen. I find it incredible that Kenny Moore can make the spectacular catches he has made and find a way to bobble a punt return. I think it’s also worth noting that Clausen is hitting check-down receivers or throwing it away quite a bit. I am really anxious to see how things go when 89′s presence is felt.
Another problem rearing it’s head are offensive penalties that null good plays. Mental discipline is falling to the wayside here, as well.
To summarize this horrendous game, I fall back on something that Mike Rucker commented on last night. It was along the lines of this. This is a Preseason game. Players are not really up playing on game plans and there is a lot of randomness in the play calling. So it is really hard to get an accurate picture of what you are really seeing.
I understand this.
But it is clear to me that the youth we have needs a great deal of work, especially on special teams. There are just a couple more weeks before it starts counting, so yes, it is time to hit panic alarms and get on top of it. I recall last year at this time, hearing the phrase “It is not time to hit the panic button, yet”.
When you are coming off an 8-8 season, it just seems to me that when you are looking in the face of the problems that are happening now, you better be hitting some kind of button. Let’s not wait until December this time around.
Topics: Armanti Edwards, Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers, David Gettis, DeAngelo Williams, Eric Norwood, Everette Brown, Greg Hardy, Jason Baker, Jeff Davidson, Jeff Rodgers, Jimmy Clausen, John Fox, John Kasay, Jordan Gross, Kenny Moore, Matt Moore, Panic Button, Steve Smith