Panthers Offense Needs Balance


Now that I’ve had a few hours to let the Carolina Panthers organization absorb the reality of their opening-day Florida Flop, Head Coach Ron Rivera and his staff are going to have to make some changes.

To me, the most glaring deficiency was the imbalance in the offensive playcalling. 36 pass plays and 13 running plays.

DeAngelo Williams carried the ball a whopping 6 times for minus-1 yard. Tolbert had two yards on a single carry, but had a nice 20-yard catch.

He wound up with 8 yards receiving for the game with 2 additional receptions…which obviously lost 12 yards.

Those are not just really bad statistics, they’re emblematic of how the day went for the Carolina Panthers’ offense. While Cam had 303 yards on 22/33 for a TD to a wide-freakin’ open Brandon LaFell on a double-clutched pass, he had 2 interceptions. The first one, eh…tipped ball, happens to the best of them. The second one was a forced pass he shouldn’t have attempted. The TD pass aside, all those 280 some-odd yards remaining were all in between the 20’s with 3 points to show for it.

At the risk of earning my own nickname of Captain Obvious, that’s just not an acceptable performance.

September 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) stiff arms Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib (25) in the first quarter Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Some credit for that has to go to the Buccaneers and their defense of course (thanks again, “Captain O”), but the casual fan could even see the playcalling was putting everything on Cam’s shoulders. The Panthers were simply never behind so many points as to need to completely abandon the running game.

13 running plays, half of which were simply the sound of DeAngelo Williams beeping for the -1 yard. One play was a completely foreseeable QB draw that was consequently and completely stuffed on a third and goal in the fourth quarter.

Even *I* saw *that* one coming. C’mon, Chudzinski, you had it right last year…this has gotta be just a blip on the radar…right?

Be the innovator and builder that you are. It’s a perfect set-up for some sort of thievery from the old U of Florida Tim Tebow playbook:

The Jump pass.

Football is actually a mental game. The playcalling could be nicely compared to a chess match between the coaches involved. Everyone knows Cam is a powerful runner, so take the next step. Have a pass off of a fake QB draw. Either the “Jump” pass or some other sort of fake draw could be not only good for the initial 6 points such a wrinkle would get, but also force all the other teams to consider that possibility in their defensive playcalling.

That would, in theory, pay dividends down the road when a real QB draw might actually be called for and more successfully run. Just don’t overdo it, and don’t be predictable.

I’m not calling and screaming for Rob Chudzinski’s head at all. What I am saying is the gameplan on offense was predictable even for someone like me.

Aug 17, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA Carolina Panthers running back Mike Tolbert (35) runs the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

2nd and 12? Draw play to Tolbert or Williams here and there. Don’t overuse the screen…there were 4 guys “blocking” on one screen and the receiver was clubbed for a massive loss.

The TSA woulda done of better job protecting him than the “blockers” did.

Poor playcalling. Poor excecution, to boot.

You’ve got an All-Pro center, you say? You’ve got a 2nd-round monster with an evergoing motor that you drafted specifically for his prowess at run blocking, you say? You’ve got a 260 pound lead back/running back/receiver that you purchased in the offseason, you say?

I don’t know about the coaches, but if it were me, I’d go out on the field when their very next practice starts and fix it with two words. I’d just point and yell: