The Carolina Panthers entered Week 2 against the Packers as huge underdogs. The Panthers put immense pressure on the Defending Super Bowl Champions and almost walked away with a win.
The Panthers are obviously a better team than their 2010 counterpart and teams are taking notice. They fought until the last minute and, quite possibly, could have walked away with an upset. Numerous mistakes and problems on the field led to the Panthers beating themselves. But, it is time for me to hand out the grades for this weeks performance against the Green Bay Packers. Check back after the break as I great each position for their performance this week.
So Cam Newton again threw for over 400 yards and broke another record, but he accompanied that with three different interceptions. The kid is doing amazing considering the lockout, and he is going to make rookie mistakes, such as throwing the ball at Charles Woodson multiple times. He should have another spectacular outing against the Jaguars this week.
Double Trouble isn’t as effective as they used to be. They have yet to gain momentum and Newton is actually the leading rusher for the Panthers. The star next to the F represents the need for a different grade for Jonathan Stewart’s receiving job this week. He had 8 catches for 100 yards, and provided much needed support for Newton. For that performance they get an A.
Offensive Line: C
Once again the O-Line couldn’t give Newton or the running game significant protection. Newton was sacked 4 times, hit 7 times and the Panthers were tackled for a loss 4 times. The absence of Jeff Otah and Geoff Schwartz is definitely being felt.
Wide Receivers: A
Steve Smith had another outstanding game with Cam Newton at QB. Brandon Lafell is stepping up as the number two guy for Newton to rely on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lafell passes Naanee on the depth chart sometime soon.
Defensive Line: C-
Charles Johnson had the lone sack against the Packers on Sunday. The defensive line is performing terribly and it is showing. The Pakcers ran for 124 yards, and Sione Fua only had one tackle. The D-Line needs to step up if the Panthers want to win.
The linebackers’ day was highlighted by Thomas Davis going down with a re-torn ACL. James Anderson recorded nine total tackles and 7 were solo. Anderson was his usual self and was all over the place. Dan Conner needs to step it up and be a viable member of the defense.
Letting Aaron Rodgers throw for over 300 yards isn’t anything to be ashamed about, but letting Jordie Nelson break away from the entire team for a touchdown that solidified the Packers lead is bad.
Cam Newton gets another gold star for throwing for 432 yards. Yes, he had 3 picks, but for a rookie is playing better than extraordinary.
Jonathan Stewart receives a gold star for having 8 catches for 100 yards.
I’m going to give the last gold star to Charles Johnson for having the Panthers’ lone sack.
Another strike for Naanee for failing to live up to the responsibilities of the number 2 WR.
Strike 2 goes to the defensive line, for obvious reasons.
Strike 3 goes to the red zone offense. The Panthers had 6 chances to score in the Red Zone and only capitalized on 3.