Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

To all of my friends and fellow Lug Nutters, may you all have a blessed and Merry Christmas and have a WONDERFUL day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Carolina Panthers--Week 16

Being a Panthers fan out on the west coast, I don't get to see many of their games, unless they're playing the 49ers or Raiders, and that's a rarity. (They did get one of their two wins against the Niners this year.) The NFL-N offered me as a fan a RARE treat: a nationally televised game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Perhaps it's time to stuff the Panthers back into obscurity after this game.

OH the horrah!! After a pretty decent start in which they moved the ball, the Steelers adjusted and the Panthers didn't. Therein lies the problem. Coaching, or lack thereof. The Panthers DO have talent on both sides of the ball, but they're not well-coached. Too many mental errors, breakdowns in coverages, poor tackling--they can be attributed to poor coaching. The players DO play hard and have no quit in them--that is a testament to John Fox.

Offensively, the Panthers have the WORST offensive coordinator in Jeff Davidson. No imagination, doesn't make adjustments, and doesn't put his players in a position to succeed. Plus no quarterback stability doesn't help. I'm ready for the Panthers to draft Andrew Luck IF he comes out. (Rumor has it IF Jim Harbaugh stays at Stanford, Luck will stay also.) Jimmy Clausen is NOT cutting it. The Panthers could very well be the first team since the 1992 Seattle Seahawks to NOT score multiple touchdowns in ANY game in a season, as they (mercifully) finish their season against Atlanta. One good thing, though: they ALWAYS give Atlanta a hard time. This is embarrassing: finishing up against two Super Bowl-caliber teams and not even showing up.

Defensively, they have an emerging stud in DE Charles Johnson. He has six consecutive games with a QB sack, tying the franchise record set by Kevin Greene WAY back in 1996. (He sacked Big Ben TWICE.) Now they need a BIG run-stuffer, a big oak tree in the middle that stops opposing runners in their tracks. I like how DC Ron Meeks makes adjustments, but sometimes he overthinks himself. The linebacking corps that was in there wasn't bad--Beason is a stud, but he had a couple of guys off the street alongside him. The secondary is PUTRID. THEY CAN'T COVER ANYONE!! Any one of the Lug Nuts could have made a big play on that secondary with Big Ben throwing to us!! GET RID OF THE WHOLE SECONDARY EXCEPT FOR CHRIS GAMBLE (He was out with an injury.)

As far as special teams, they have a good punt returner in Captain Munnerlyn. But they need someone that is a threat to make a house call on kickoff returns. A Devin Hester-type, if you will. Someone that strikes abject fear into the hearts of their opponents. The guys we have don't do that. Steve Smith USED to do that when he returned punts and kickoffs way back in the day. Kicking wise, John Kasay is old, not as accurate as he used to be, and doesn't kickoff any more due to his decreased length on kickoffs. Jason Baker is atrocious as a punter. Granted, the wind was swirling and was consistently between 15-20 MPH. It even knocked down the Steelers' punter's punts.

Overall, the game was unwatchable. What made it unwatchable was how atrocious the Panthers' offense is, aside from Jonathan Stewart. Even Smith dropped a few balls, which is uncharacteristic of him.

My take on the Panthers is this: they need an identity. Mr. Richardson needs to hire someone to handle ALL the football operations and pay him HUGE jack. John Fox won't return; that's pretty much the worst-kept secret in the league. I'm torn about whether or not hiring Bill Cowher is a good move. On the surface it is. But does HE want to subject himself to the grind of coaching again? AND would he want total control of the operations? What about his emotions in dealing with his late wife's passing over the summer? Those are questions that Mr. Richardson and Cowher would have to answer. IF Mr. Richardson is going to hire someone to control the football operations, he NEEDS to trust him and let him do his job.

As the GM, I'd be inclined to hire a coach that stresses discipline and character, and who would want to bring in good character players. Then let him hire his own coaching staff. (But getting rid of Davidson is A MUST.) I'd make recommendations and suggestions, but the final decision would be the head coach's to make. If the new coach requests, I'd draft Andrew Luck (if he comes out) first overall and bring Jake Delhomme back as that veteran QB and mentor to Luck. I'd dangle Clausen as trade bait. A functional movement coach would be hired to reduce the amount of injuries to the players. NO detail would be unattended.

The Panthers DO have talent, they just need an overhaul of the coaching staff, plus an identity.