5 keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers vs. Saints in Week 2

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Joe Brady
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Joe Brady /
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Carolina Panthers
(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Jameis Winston /

Carolina Panthers must make Winston do too much.

Jameis Winston sure looked like a changed man after eye surgery and with better coaching on Sunday. Going from a 30-30 guy just a few years ago to less than 150 passing yards on only 20 attempts is a massive change.

Quarterbacks, especially high-risk ones, don’t just remodel their entire game like that unless they really want it.

I will be the first to admit that I’ve always had doubts about Winston’s ability as an NFL quarterback, especially after his early career struggles with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the signal-caller showed something in Week 1 that shifted this opinion slightly.

Winston only attempted three passes of more than 20 yards and completed one of them, a long bomb on a blown coverage. This is entirely opposite from the big yardage, and big turnover, games the Carolina Panthers are used to seeing.

In fact, Winston has 14 career interceptions against the Panthers, the most out of all the teams he has played against. However, this was a byproduct of his desire to drive the ball down the field, sometimes into tight coverages that shouldn’t have been thrown into.

But in Week 1, the first overall pick of the 2015 draft looked calm and confident as he went through his reads and found the open man, mostly on check-downs. Never throwing the ball where a play could be made by the defense, making the smart decision even if it wasn’t a home-run hit.

However, Winston had a mostly clean pocket and subpar coverage that gave him time to make those decisions. For the Panthers to come away with a win, they have to make him uncomfortable and speed up the game.

Once the game speeds up for a quarterback they begin to make mistakes, try to do too much. Just like in baseball when a pitcher tries too hard, things start going poorly, balls get overthrown, and those mistakes begin to pile up until a defender is in the right place at the right time.

If Winston has to win this game with his arm then the Panthers already have the advantage. The last thing you want from a quarterback that you don’t exactly trust to protect the ball is for them to do it all on their own.

Forcing Winston back into his gunslinging, turnover happy, ways is the surest factor to come out of Week 2 undefeated.