Reviewing the Home Opener Against Tampa Bay
Now that phrase can cover a lot of ground on this one. So, you can use if in whatever context you like. Home Opener, Rivals, getting the first win, trying to play some good football, however you want to look at it.
And nevermind the turning point that this puts us at in PantherNation. There is plenty to discuss on that this week. I am just going to stick with the game at the moment.
Offense: What can I say? We out-rushed them and as far as yardage goes, we out-passed them too. Possession times were almost even. But there is still a big problem. We are having a problem with the only stat that really matters. Points Scored. In spite of the little stats, We are having a problem getting into the end-zone. And it certainly doesn’t help when you turn the ball over repeatedly. So what is our problem here?
Well the first big “fix” came on Monday morning with the announcement that Jimmy Clausen will be the starter. Those are two other topics that deserve their own articles so I am not getting into that. (Clausen and the fact that this happened on MONDAY MORNING)
My own thoughts on it are this. Before this announcement was made, I hope Fox made a phone call this morning to one of his people for a meeting in his office. Some face-time so to speak. Lets let Jeff Davidson off the hook this morning and give Dave Magazu a call and ask him how one of the NFL’s best Offensive lines has gotten to the point where they can hardly offer any more protection than a five year old with a watergun. Okay, maybe that was a little harsh, but the way I see it, Davidson or whoever else, are going to have a hard time finding any success if Magazu cannot get his guys on the Offensive line straightened out. Until this is fixed, all other Offensive conversation is pointless.
By the way, can anyone prove that Dwayne Jarrett played Sunday?
And it is starting to look like Mike Goodson will have himself a pretty nice season and hopefully he will continue to become another nice little twist to this Offense. Hope to see more of him.
Defensive: As far as the running game goes, Tampa does not have one. As far as the passing game, there was nothing there to really fear either. But like I wrote in the preview, “If you are going to rush Josh Freeman, you better be on cue.” We rushed him and missed and he made us pay for it dearly. On four rushes alone he accounted for almost half of Tampas rushing yardage. Pretty easy to do when you leave him large lanes to run or weak efforts to tackle him. Lack of Containment ended up sealing our doom on Sunday. This game truly belonged to Freeman.
Other than that I do find it hard to throw the overall Defense under the bus. While Pass Defense did let themselves get hurt a couple of times, overall Tampas numbers were not as gaudy as the ones we have hung on them in recent games so I am not ready to give up on the Defense just yet.
But in the end, Football is a game where all the units feed off of one another. I am not one to buy into the myth of Defense wins Championships because of this. If the Offense cannot produce when the time comes it will always put the Defense in awkward positions. The largest problem we are obviously having is on that Offensive Line. They are just not giving us the chance to gain any momentum at all. Think about it in these terms. Looking at Tampas last two games, is it really possible that Cleveland is protecting their guys better than Carolina can protect their own? For the time being it certainly seems that way.
So here we are at 0-2 and things are not really looking better. There is plenty to watch this week but in the overall picture we sit at the bottom right to start with. Just us this time. We do not have Tampa to commiserate with us this year. Right now their fans are pretty giddy while we seem to be falling behind, and until the OLine gets straightened out, this will not change. All we can do right now is hope that gets fixed and Jimmy Clausen is NFL Ready like they say he is. Until then lets just keep looking for that first win.