Panthers recap

Just want to get this over with since I have other stuff to do. You can tell that I wasn’t too happy with today’s game and I’m close to writing this season off. It’s silly to panic this early and I should probably be more patient but the Panthers have looked miserable these first two games. Today’s game was especially alarming because it’s against a team that we should beat; the Tampa Bay Bucs.

The thing that bothered me the most about this game wasn’t Moore’s play or the bad playcalling, it was how terrible the defense played in the first half. It doesn’t look that awful on the stat sheet since they buckled down late in the game, but the 1st half was full of countless missed tackles and blown coverages. The defense let Josh Freeman scramble all over the place and the coverage down field was terrible. We kept letting the Bucs convert one 3rd down after another, which led to their early lead. Captain Munnerlyn and Richard Marshall looked like they completely forgot how to tackle, that was the real frustrating thing.

One good thing was that they buckled down in the fourth quarter and held the Bucs to 2 field goals in the red zone, so at least there’s that to build off of. Still, we gave up way too many big plays and Freeman was able to do whatever he wanted with our secondary. The defensive line was able to get into the backfield a few times but we still let Freeman run around too much and he kept finding his way out of pressure.

On the other side of the ball, the offense was bad. Very bad. Well, maybe that’s a bit off an exaggeration because there were some good plays but they couldn’t get things done when it actually mattered. Matt Moore had another poor performance (6-16, 125 yds, TD, INT, fumble, 4 sacks) and was benched in the 4th quarter in favor of Jimmy Clausen who completed 6 passes in one drive. The pick wasn’t entirely his fault since it deflected off Goodson, but still it was a discouraging ending to his day. I would honestly favor starting Clausen at this point. We aren’t going to compete this year, so we might as well test him out for the rest of the year to see what he’s got. My only concern is that he might get killed out there like Moore did. This offensive line has been terrible at pass protection.

Speaking of which, the running game wasn’t too bad today. I was expecting more though since it’s the Bucs. I have to give credit where it’s due and say they had a great goal line stand and they stopped us on 3rd down a lot of times. Williams could only get 54 yards on 17 carries and Stewart gained 43 yards only only 8 carries. Is it too much to ask for the playing time between them to be split? The loss of Jeff Otah is hurting our line a lot and our running game is suffering from it.

Receivers…aside from that dropped pass Steve Smith played well enough and had a great TD catch. Rosario got more involved and had a decent game. I would like to see Mike Goodson involved in the passing game. Short routes to him might become my new favorite play, especially if we start Clausen next week. It was nice to see David Gettis targeted a few times, too even if he couldn’t make the most of it.

I hate to write this season off so early and I know it’s stupid to freak out about an 0-2 record but this team has looked just plain awful in their first two losses. It’s not time to completely give up on this season, I say we use the rest of it to test out some of our young talent on offense. Let Clausen start the rest of the year, get Aramanti Edwards more involved, play Greg Hardy on defense more, etc. Jerry Richardson’s cheapskate ways this offseason have gotten this team in a big hole right now, so we might as well try to make the most of it instead of just sinking. Like I said earlier, the team I’ve been seeing these first two weeks is a 4-12 team. If we’re going to have a 4-12 record then I would like for us to be competitive in doing so instead of just lying down like we did today.

We already know a coaching and GM change is coming soon but the team needs a major facelift, too.

I was going to give grades to the players but I’m just going to sum it up by giving all of them D’s except for Clausen, Stewart, Smith, Goodson, Beason and Connor and call it a day.

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