This week we have the Panthers Blog, The Cat Crave. They were gracious enough to help, even though they are not excited about this game (they obviously missed the Bills game).
1) did you know that it was going to be this bad this season?
To date, the outcome of the season has been a strong dose of reality for me, personally. If you had asked me at the beginning of the season if this team would be looking at a record of 1-8 on the outset of Week 10, I would have probably looked at you incredulously, while shaking my head. Starting off the season 0-1, 0-2, 0-3…and so on, was not the way I had expected to begin the season. I felt the game against the Giants could have gone either way, but I penciled in a loss. Some of the games following that however, I felt were winnable. After the loss at New Orleans, I think was when everything really began to snowball. Granted, there was the win against San Francisco, but had Alex Smith not been injured, I think that game could have gone in San Fran’s favor as well, making the Panthers 0-8 right now. Injuries have depleted both sides of the ball for Carolina, and a lack of veteran experience has made the talent pool very shallow, as well.
2) When it’s this bad, don’t you wish you had a Jake Delhomme out there to take the hits?
Not really. When I look at the offensive line, I don’t really think it matters who is playing at quarterback. The right side of the line just hasn’t been able to provide the protection it offered one and two years ago. The loss of right tackle Jeff Otah hurts, and even more the lack of an experienced, proven veteran to fill in for Otah at the position also stings. If there was a reliable offensive line protecting the backfield, then I do believe we would see a little more success from our current stable of quarterbacks.
3) Who are the defensive studs on this team?
To be honest, I think the team has lost most of its defensive studs to injury.Right now the defense is left with defensive hopes and promises. Hopes are nice. Not everyone keeps their promises. To answer your question though, I feel that the defense is down to about two defensive “studs”: middle linebacker Jon Beason and safety Charles Godfrey. I’m not sure if he still is, but early in the season, he was leading the NFL in tackles. Jon Beason’s move back to the middle last week, should see him more improved at his original position since linebacker Dan Connor suffered a season ending injury two weeks ago.
4) John Fox seems like a halfway decent Coach. Any chance he stays in Carolina after this year? If not, is he good enough to be a head coach somewhere else?
Not a chance does Fox stay in Carolina next season, unless he’s with a team that’s visiting Charlotte. I guess he is good enough to be a head coach elsewhere. For him to be successful elsewhere however, it would be wise of him to be a little more flexible in playcalling, because his current system of run, run, pass, punt is known throughout the league. For those who think of me as a Fox basher, I do have respect for Fox. But the franchise and Fox are going in opposite directions, and it makes no sense to keep him in Carolina beyond this season.
5) What would have to happen in order for the Panthers to beat the Ravens?
Pray for a miracle. Maybe Ray Lewis has a bout of short-term amnesia and is unable to play. Maybe Joe Flacco forgets his cleats at home, or hopefully Ray Rice calls out sick. Unless any or all three of those “for instances” occur, I can’t respond to your question while keeping a straight face, and tell you what the Panthers need to do to beat the Ravens. If they can limit the run and force Flacco into more passing situations — which is still dangerous — then maybe they can come up with a pick or two…perhaps some forced fumbles, and maybe create a little havoc in the Ravens’ offensive backfield. On offense, Carolina would have to establish some semblance of the run — a feat that they have been unable to really accomplish, and any time the ground game sees some success, it’s almost as if Fox gets scared by it and reverts to a passing game. In the end, I don’t think Baltimore has much to be worried about in this game. But then, I suppose I could use the “Any given Sunday” argument as a last ditch effort.