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October 26, 2008

Answering your post-game questions

Is it time for the bandwagon/media storm? Or will this team keep flying under the radar?

Posted by: PantherGuyFan | Oct 26, 2008 4:28:14 PM

PGF: The more they win, the more they'll start being covered by the national media. ESPN's Website and Yahoo have had writers at Panthers games for the past few games. I heard Steve Smith on ESPN radio last week. They'll get their due, don't worry. -- David

Did you guys have Mark Jones listed as inactive at one point today? I KNOW I saw him listed. Then later he was replaced with Kenneth Moore.

Posted by: Bill | Oct 26, 2008 4:30:56 PM

Bill: My bad on the Mark Jones/Kenneth Moore thing. It was corrected to Moore being inactive. -- David

Will you please ask John Fox why he didnt call a timeout on Arizona's first TD play. Thomas Davis was one-on-one with Bouldin, someone should have seen that and called a timeout to get into a different coverage. I know Davis has speed and is decent in coverage, but its still a matchup that heavily favored Arizon, I'd just like to know why Fox felt good about that defense they were in

Posted by: matt | Oct 26, 2008 4:33:24 PM

Matt: Didn't get a chance to ask Fox about this. Don't know if it was a blown call or coverage or what. But, you're right, it wasn't a good matchup for the Panthers. -- David

Do you get the feeling that even though Jake Delhomme at qb does make a few mistakes, he with his ability to rise to the occassion under the gun and produce positive results more often then not, is moving into that upper level of respectability among NFL quarterbacks?

Posted by: Kobe | Oct 26, 2008 4:53:23 PM

Kobe: Good luck with your NBA MVP aspirations this season. Yes, Jake will begin to get his due.  He's not making many mistakes these days, if you've noticed, and his QB rating on Sunday was better than Kurt Warner's.

Two Quick Questions:

1. How is Jarrett? He seemed to be in some pain following that 3rd down reception.

2. Is our pass D not as good as the statistic showed before this game, or was it just the matchup with the three quality receivers in Boldin, Fitzgerald and Breaston that allowed over 300 passing yards and multiple TDs?

Posted by: Nate | Oct 26, 2008 5:08:03 PM

Nate: 1. Jarrett was in pain, but he said he was OK after the game. Three really good receivers -- Fitzgerald is a GREAT one, actually -- plus lots of pass attempts from a QB like Warner is going to equal lots of yards. -- David

Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2008 at 07:42 PM | Permalink


Is there any headway into long term contracts for Peppers and Gross?

Posted by: scott | Oct 26, 2008 9:14:01 PM

Does it really take Three Stooges to cover the Panthers?

Posted by: watchdoggin | Oct 26, 2008 9:18:33 PM

Steve Smith looked out of bounds on that one TD play. Everyone in the stands saw the replay and Panthers fans knew that they got away with one (when the refs didn't reverse it). It was amazing that the refs didn't reverse the call. It's amazing how one play can change the outcome of a game.

Posted by: Mark Prokop | Oct 26, 2008 9:28:55 PM

The Panthers/Cardinals game was exciting to watch in person. It was the first time that our kids went to a Panthers football game (and the first time in 11 years that my wife and I attended a game). It seemed to me that the Arizona Cardinals were in control of the game (including time of possession) and Kurt Warner could throw at will. I think Carolina was lucky to win this game even though Carolina made some nice plays. Cardinal players/coaches probably thought that they were going to win this one.

Posted by: Mark Prokop | Oct 26, 2008 9:36:49 PM

They owned us one anyway. I thought that the touchdown was good but they owed us a TD when they got that interception return for a TD called back because Matt Ryan can't take a hit in week 4

Posted by: Revshawn | Oct 26, 2008 10:21:49 PM

They owned us one anyway. I thought that the touchdown was good but they owed us a TD when they got that interception return for a TD called back because Matt Ryan can't take a hit in week 4

Posted by: Revshawn | Oct 26, 2008 10:21:49 PM

I must admit, I may have to change my name. I was happy to see an adjustment and sense of urgency made at halftime. John Fox constantly showed emotion at bad calls which motivated our team to play harder.

The game ball goes to our defense. They battled out there all day with one of the most potent offenses in the league and kept us close. I knew we would need some takeaways to win and we got it.

Good Job Panthers!


Posted by: FIREFOX | Oct 26, 2008 10:28:04 PM

Well, they ran something other than a run up the middle on the first play of the game. It was a little razzle-dazzle with with Smith gaining minus six yards on a reverse. What a bust and what a joke this McD... executive of subliminal messaging ("firefox") is with his concepts and suggestions. Talk about knit-picking that amounts to nothing. Has he dissappeared yet, or is he still offering mindless banter??

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Oct 26, 2008 10:30:50 PM

whoop, there he is...
at least he can admit he's wrong (at least for now).

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Oct 26, 2008 10:32:10 PM

The next two should be wins (as long as the players stay focused). The last six will be pretty tough; starting with the division rival dirty b*st*rd birds.

This year this team should go all of the way as long as Stewart doesn't hit a rookie wall. We can't afford an injury from either one of them (especially Wiliams) either because they are the only legitimate rushing threats this team has. With a running threat in place, Jake is in trouble (and he will be the first to admit it).

Overall, I love the way this team looks right now: overcoming their mistakes and finding a way to win. In one word: wow!!

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Oct 26, 2008 11:13:40 PM

Did someone threaten to fire them all at the end of the first quarter. Its like the whole team got a swift kick in the .....

Posted by: moose with a J | Oct 26, 2008 11:48:08 PM

Regarding the Smitty 'out-of-bounds" call--On the replay at home [at least in high-def], you can clearly see where his shoe disturbs the turf after the catch. He was in bounds, and the ref got it right.

Posted by: steve | Oct 27, 2008 3:07:34 AM


I agree that on my hig def tv at home you can clearly see that his toe hits in bounds and the turf that flies up is all in bounds. However, due to the poor camera angles, you cant see where his heel actually hit. No way for the refs to overturn that call.

Great game for D Williams, maybe this game proved to Procton that he can run effectively without gaping holes. Huge game for him and Smitty.

Posted by: Mason | Oct 27, 2008 8:59:47 AM

The refs got the call correct. The divot Smith left in the turf was in play and there was not enough to overturn the play. How about that play from Godfrey on the fake FG? Give him a year or 2 and he'll turn into a Mike Minter!

Posted by: JM | Oct 27, 2008 9:35:22 AM

Nice term "clock blocked"

Posted by: Clock Blocked | Oct 27, 2008 10:49:32 AM

Can someone answer a question for me? I know that yesterday Arizona won the coin toss and deferred to the Panthers. Have the Panthers ever deferred when we won the toss--either at home or on the road? If not, would there ever be a scenario where they would do so? I would think that ahead or behind or tied, it would be a huge emotional boost to get the ball first in the second half.

Posted by: Panther Girl | Oct 27, 2008 11:38:27 AM

People can say what they want about my opinion of Fox, but you all must agree that we are seeing an expansion of Previous John Fox Coaching Principles. I love the way that he is allowing our offense to mix it up. Trusting Jake's arm to throw the ball downfield and to set up the run, which is previously not John Fox's coaching style.

Finally allowing Dwayne Jarrett to have a roll will pay dividends later in the season. No one on defense respects him as a viable threat, but they learn. I believe our next two games will present an opportunity to get him involved and him and Jake's timing down.

But I will still keep my name though, as I still believe that the threat of losing his job got him remotivated to coach this team well with a sense of urgency. This is our year to win it all. I am not worried about the giants, cowboys, or anyone else analyst rank ahead of our team.

I feel like anything less than a superbowl is a bad season.

Have at it.....


Posted by: FIREFOX | Oct 27, 2008 11:54:05 AM

I actually was rather pleased with our Defensive coordinator that game, and even our secondary for that matter. Trgovac called alot of blitzes, and any other QB but Warner the game would have been over. Warner is just that good, and was able to continuously throw 5 yard slants and outs just before getting hit. They only threw it deep twice all game, and couldn't run the ball except for Boldin's end around.

I am dissapointed however in our D-line and primarily Julius Peppers. Now first, let me say that the refs were ridiculously blind in this game, because Pep was being held hardcore all game. But still, with the Cardinals game-plan of short passes and no running game, the best defensive plan of action is just rushing your 4 lineman to get pressure and leave the rest back in tight coverage. But our front 4 couldn't get any pressure on Warner by themselves and Peppers didn't do anything despite being blocked with one guy all day. Charles Johnson looked better than he did. Every time we didn't call a blitz, Warner had all day to throw the ball, and that's where those 2 deep passes came from.

Just goes to show that we didn't upgrade with Brayton, and we can't get pressure on the QB without a blitz. It also shows that Peppers isn't worth the fat contract he's going to want, because he doesn't show up every game, and more importantly, he doesn't have any moves to beat one on one blocking. If you want to be elite Pep, learn to beat your guy. You can't use holding as an excuse.

Deangelo is becoming a breakout star this year, just like I predicted. Here's another prediction. We're going to win our next three games. Write it down. After the much needed bye week, we have the Lions, the Raiders, and the Falcons. Two of the worst teams in football right now, and the Falcons at home with a rookie QB whom we absolutely torched last game. That puts us at 9-2 with a tough schedule the rest of the way. However, at 9-2 not only will we be in prime position to win the division and/or get into the playoffs, we'll also be in prime position for home field advantage in the playoffs. Now wouldn't that be something. GO PANTHERS!

Posted by: Christian | Oct 27, 2008 12:19:45 PM

I have a quick question. What happened to all the people who were on these blogs 3 months ago asking for the Panthers to trade Gamble because he can't tackle?

I mean, he is only on pace to get 96 tackles by the end of the season, as a CB! And throw in his INT and 12 PDs, including the big knockdown in the endzone yesterday, and I would dare say he is about as good a corner as there is in the league. Granted, it would be nice if he held on to more of those knockdowns for INTs, but they will come. From his first few seasons, we know he CAN catch, it is just a matter of when. Either way, considering how hard it is to find great shutdown CBs in this league, I really want to know why everyone was hating so hard on him over the offseason.

Posted by: Steve | Oct 27, 2008 12:35:21 PM

Keep in mind, Gamble is in a contract year, too. Him, Peppers, and Gross. Given Gamble's productivity, it'll be interesting to see if the Panthers re-sign him. We've got Richard Marshall in the wings waiting for a spot with the starters. So Gamble could become expendable. But if he stays, I have a feeling Lucas eventually goes instead. Youth wins out in the end.

Meanwhile, if Carolina holds onto Gamble after this season, it's unlikely they'll be able to keep both Peppers AND Gross. Given that, it looks like there's two really interesting dynamics in play with those situations.

One, Gross could become expendable if Otah learns the position while adjusting to the NFL as a RT. The Panthers could let Gross go and move Otah to LT. Then slot Bridges or whomever at RT. It's not necessarily the best option. But it could work out. And who knows if the Panthers can sign another free agent or pick up a 2nd round OT in the draft next year.

Secondly, on the Peppers front, the contract negotiations are still ongoing with his agent...which means they're not in agreement yet. So Carolina has to really measure Peppers' productivity over these past couple of years and gauge that against his potential salary cap hit.

No matter what, Julius is going to cost a LOT to re-sign. If we keep him, how much does it affect our ability to keep Gross (or even Gamble)? If we let him go, who do we replace him with? Are there quality DEs about to hit the free agent market? Can we afford to get into a bidding war for one? We rarely seem to come out very good on the risk/reward associated with desperately-needed, highly-compensated free agents. And if we count on finding a good DE with a draft pick, who knows if he'll pay dividends right away? We brought in Charles Johnson and Stanley McClover along those same lines, but neither really asserted themselves as first-year starting material.

So, it's going to be complicated...and a very interesting off-season for the Panthers. I don't think there's any way we're able to keep all three of those guys. So pick your poison and hope for a cure in free agency, the draft, or whatever backups we have on hand.

My three-cents,

Posted by: NSpicer | Oct 27, 2008 1:55:37 PM

Christian, Tyler Brayton has been a GREAT addition. Johnson has done much of his good work with Brayton providing a pass rushing push up the middle as a DT.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 27, 2008 4:12:10 PM

Christian, The FOX analysts made a point of showing some of the blatant holding against Pep, they also showed a couple times where the Cards were rotating a TE to double up Peps side. Also if Beason couldn't get to Warner before the pass was away, coming clean and untouched then how do suppose any DL was going to get off a block and sack Warner?
Warner spent much of the day picking himself up off the ground, after making the quick pass and getting pounded. A bump and run coverage likely would have stopped alot of the yards Arizona racked up. However our corners can't seem to play bump and run. Remember the NFC championship game against Philly? Our corners absolutely raped the recievers at the line... why dont we do that anymore???

Posted by: heelzrule | Oct 27, 2008 5:25:24 PM

hr, firstly, FOX showed Peppers on his backside several times when being blocked ONE-ON-ONE by journeyman Mike Gandy.

Also, press coverage is much harder these days with all the emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding. Frankly, I'm pretty impressed (if the announcers were accurate) that we're the only team in the league without a pass interference.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 27, 2008 9:40:22 PM

I believe Peppers had a mixed game. He got handled a few times one-on-one. He was also held a few times. He got double-teamed a few times as well. There was even one play early in the game where many of us in the stands were pointing out that the Cardinals' LT dove at Peppers knee while he was engaged with the FB. The bottom line is Peppers also made some great tackles in this game. No sacks. Inconsistent pressure on the QB...but then, everyone was getting inconsistent pressure on Warner. The guy was in the zone with his quick release and pinpoint accuracy. And, oh yeah...this just in...he had some pretty good route-running receivers to throw it to...

The real problem on Sunday was our pass coverage. The defense didn't seem to have any scheme to handle 4- and 5-wide packages that used no TEs and all WRs. Peppers dropped back to cover Fitzgerald or Boldin on at least one play. And no matter how fast Julius is for a DE, that's a matchup problem.

Our LBs and safeties were also having trouble picking up crossing patterns when in zone coverage. And Heelz hit the nail on the head with the bump-and-run issue. If our DBs had played up on the line and played good bump-and-run technique, it would have at least slowed down Warner's receivers and put our guys in the passing lanes a lot more for some INT opportunities.

Of course, if we got too aggressive in that area, the penalty flags might have flown. But it seemed pretty clear that the officiating crew was letting a lot of stuff go in that game (on both sides of the ball), so our coaches should have picked up on that and called some more aggressive bump-and-run coverage instead of hoping for the blitz to work.

These observations I'm bringing up aren't meant to tear down the Panthers. We're 6-2 and that's a good thing. Even so, there are clear areas in which this team needs to improve...from the coaching all the way down to the technique and schemes our guys are using. As Fox likes to say, this is still a work in progress. And the Panthers still have a lot of work to do if they're going to reach their goal of winning a championship.

Just my two-cents,

Posted by: NSpicer | Oct 28, 2008 8:02:53 AM

i think brayton has done a good job.hes tough vs the run and he can push the pocket.
i feel we really need to sign gamble.of the 3 f.a s i think we should let gross go first. hes a good right tackle,who is going to demand elite left tackle money.bridges has proven he can play and omaye is a good backup.if we let peppers go too we could probably get an elite left tackle and a pro bowl calibre def end.

Posted by: ray | Oct 28, 2008 12:22:27 PM

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