Well I have had two full days now to digest what we saw from the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Falcons. Once again the Panthers wound up on the wrong end of the stick, but this time it wasn’t as close as the other four loses the Panthers had, as they lost 31-17.
Here are a few observations I noticed:
— First of the Panthers played mutiple defenses against the Falcons. They lined up in their base 4-3 scheme but also played some 3-4 defense, with defensive ends Charles Johnson and Antwan Applewhite standing up and playing the rush outside linebacker position. Rivera addressed the defensive schemes Monday afternoon in his weekly press conference, saying that the Panthers will continue to mix on the 3-4 scheme. As bad as the defense has been this year, I welcome the change up. Honestly the defense can’t get much worse.
— Jonathan Stewart runs hard. I know this is kind of a duh statement but I think this is the first time in Stewarts career with the Panthers that he is 100 % healthy running the ball. I love watching him run. He literally looks for contact and runs people over. I know I have said this before but I really think the Panthers need to run the ball more. Newton is young and the league is starting to figure him out a bit more. I am sure Stewart and DeAngelo Williams wouldn’t complain about the added workload.
— Bryon Bell looked more like an undrafted rookie Sunday then the guy who shut down Clay Matthews in week two. Bell filling in a again for the injured Jeff Otah looked a lot more like the undrafted rookie that he was on Sunday. He had multiple false starts and holding penlites on him and was consistently beat by John Abraham. Say what you will about Otah’s toughness or whatever, but the Panthers are much better with him than without him.
— Finally, I hate Kealoha Pilares returning kickoffs. He looks slow and scared and honestly hasn’t done anything that I don’t feel like I could do. In four returns he average just 22 yards per return, which isn’t what you need from your return man especially when he is taking the ball out from the endzone. Mike Goodson has performed much better at the job and should get it back. I don’t know what Goodson did to piss off the coaching staff enough to make him inactive for the last two games but he needs to get back to returning kicks for the Panthers.