Panthers vs Saints: Offensive Preview

One thing we were promised after the drafting of Christian McCaffrey and the numerous additions that were made on offense is that the offense would be a quicker, more evolved kind of attack. By this logic, the offense was also supposed to be more fun to watch. Unfortunately, neither of those things have come to fruition thus far.Luckily for the Carolina Panthers , this hasn’t dragged the team to a loss yet. An offense doing just enough to stay afloat, coupled with a ridiculously talented and aggressive defense can buy you some wins in today’s NFL. Playing teams that aren’t quite up to par with the “elite” of the NFL to start the season doesn’t hurt either, and by the look of things the past couple of weeks for our next opponent, that won’t change.Our first NFC South divisional matchup comes at home against the fledgling New Orleans Saints , who have looked far less than stellar defensively. For a team that for so long has struggled to stop opposing offenses, it is truly mind-boggling to see this still be a issue for the franchise. But the Saints’ weakness might just be what the football doctor ordered for our struggling offense.Let’s take a look at a few of the things to look forward to for the offense in week 3.Numbers don’t lie And man, do the numbers look bad for the Saints defense... again. I want you to take a wild guess as to where the Saints rank defensively... thinking about it? Still thinking? Ok, time is up! If you guessed dead as a doornail last, you are correct! Allowing a whopping 512 YPG through two weeks against the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots , the Saints appear to be hell bent on reclaiming the title of worst defense in the NFL. For further delving, they rank dead last against the pass and 25th against the run . In short, if the Panthers can’t gain yards against this Saints defense, then we really are the worst 2-0 team in football.Picking up the Olsen pieces Perhaps the biggest blow this team could suffer outside of an injury to QB Cam Newton is to lose TE Greg Olsen for any amount of extended time. Unfortunately, that is just the case for the Panthers, who must now adjust to offensive life without him for several weeks. In the meantime, it will fall upon Ed Dickson to primarily pick up most of the slack at the TE position. The injury to Olsen will force Newton to now find new security blankets to throw to, and WR Devin Funchess has appeared to take an early lead as a candidate for this coming out of the narrow win over the Buffalo Bills last week. All of us know however, that no one can replace the output and the attention demanded by defenses like Olsen can. I would expect some drop off in productivity for an already struggling offense as a result.Tales from the Offensive Line This was a rough area to say the least last week. Just some quick reaction and why this week will be a little better in this department A) McDermott knows the tendencies of this team, and designed some blitzes we were obviously not prepared for. B) No Ryan Kalil hurt us. I mean, Tyler Larson is good, but the elder Kalil is far better at calling out protections and shifting the line where it needs to go. C) Our tackles got burned bad. Both Daryl Williams and Matt Kalil struggled for most of the day. If Newton weren’t as athletic, the damage sack wise would have been worse. D) Newton is his own worst enemy sometimes though, as he held onto the ball for too long on at least one occasion where a sack occurred. This week we face a team that has generated only three sacks on the season so far. Probably the biggest threat the Saints have in this department is DE Cameron Jordan Again, if we can’t protect Newton against the Saints, we have much bigger issues to worry about.Ground game needs to pick up steam While the Panthers haven’t really “struggled” to run the ball, it hasn’t been with the same kind of power and finesse we are used to seeing from the team thus far. While we are ranked 18th in total rushing in the NFL at around 96 YPG, we are only averaging about 2.9 YPC, which is tied for 29th in the NFL. That won’t cut it. While it is nice to grind out games on the ground, that YPC average needs to go up some. Again, the Saints allow 124 YPG on the ground through two games so far. We need to find some success to get this running game back on track.One thing I’d like to mention as a close and a bonus observation is thisWhere in the hell did Riverboat Ron go? Seriously? We didn’t trust Newton or Stewart to punch the ball in on the one-yard line last week? If he has that choice again this week, I hope he gains the courage to make the call. His conservative nature was a couple of finger-lengths away from costing us yet another game Jeff Richards Jersey.This should be a good game to get some footing not only offensively, but in the division as well. It will also be a fun homecoming for LB Luke Ku - I mean LB AJ Klein, as I am sure he wishes he could be back on a defense that actually knows how to play the game. On paper, this should be an easy win for the offense. They are more talented and have more ways of attacking the Saints defense than they have ways to defend, and that is even without Olsen on the field. The litmus test for this game will be if the Panthers can do what is expected of them to do to a really bad defense Nothing short of dominating them in both phases of the game should really be acceptable.
Posted in DRIFTING on October 05 at 05:26 AM

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