4 big disappointments in Panthers’ loss at the Saints in Week 7

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Troy Pride Jr.
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Troy Pride Jr. /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Eli Apple /

Zone coverage

For Drew Brees to throw for 287 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions without the presence of Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders was unacceptable. The Carolina Panthers were missing cover cornerback Rasul Douglas, but much more was expected of the options at their disposal.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow opted to use zone coverage for the most part, which played right into Brees’ hands. Whenever he got time to go through the reads he was able to find the right target – as he often does – and this played a significant part in New Orleans moving the chains consistently on third down.

You aren’t going to win many football games by allowing the opposition to go 12-14 on third down. It took the Panthers until midway through the third quarter to get a stop in this category and this was, simply, put, infuriating at times.

It’s not like Brees had third-and-short to work with. Carolina did a good job of getting themselves into long-yardage situations before falling short of stopping the Saints’ depleted passing attack.

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This is an area that needs to improve, and quickly. The Falcons boast an exceptional passing attack that now has Julio Jones to call upon. And although they come into the contest on the back of yet another late collapse, this will be a far sterner test than the one Carolina faced during their first matchup.