Hit the Button NOW!

Hit me now!
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.

The Punter.

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.

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Tags: 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

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  • John

    Way to early to hit any buttons.

    Yes our special teams unit had some issues. A guy who has never returned punts made some mistakes and he wasn’t the only one. But there is a lot of new here and I think it is to be expected. We brought in guys just for this unit and they need to gel just like the new coach does. But yeah they need lots of work.

    It seems to me the real reason the offense is in disarray is because our offensive line isn’t getting the job done. At all. Now I don’t know if that’s game planning or not but that’s supposed to be our strength and even without a plan they need to pick up obvious blitzes. Still some guys made some good plays. Moore the receiver made some nice grabs and Jarrett showed up again. Heck LaFell even showed a glimpse. So it wasn’t all bad. We should get a chance to see a game with a little more plan this week coming. I really wish they’d get Smitty out there just to see what defenses are going to do this year when he is in the game and how that affects our other receivers.

    I am simply thrilled with the Defenses play. Two very good offensive lines and without much planning they have lots of pressure and sacks against the first units. Barring any injuries this unit is no longer on my worry list.

    I would like to say I expected these vanilla game plans. We play both these teams this year for real. Fox wasn’t going to show any more than he had to and I think that has to be figured into the calculus of these games.

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

      Whatever you do…no matter WHAT…DO NOT press the red button. Lol.

      I always enjoy your level-headed comments, John. Keep ‘em coming!

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  • http://catcrave.com GK

    Mainly I hope the practice gets stepped up a great deal this week. At the very least I would like to see some urgency put into things.
    The potential is there, but I dont want Fox to act complacent and see another 0-3 start and hear “it is what it is” again.

    • John

      I really don’t care that much about the win/loss record as it doesn’t count and isn’t a reliable indicator of success in the regular season.

      Now what I do want to see is some production. I’ll temper my expectations based on who plays but I want to see the O-line look solid, I want to see the running game get going, I want to see us move the chains and I want to see a touchdown by the first string. If I get all that then I will be fairly happy with the offense.

      I want to see the defense continue their very high level of play.

      I want the special teams to improve. A lot.

      If we see improvement that’s the key and this is the game where being a little more critical is called for since they are supposed to game plan this one a bit. Nothing fancy but a little more like a real game.

  • http://catcrave.com GK

    That 0-3 was last seasons regular season start. lol

    I agree with you completely about what I want to see right now, I just want to see some urgency in it.