Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Smith, Wesley and Peppers

A few thoughts on the 2-3 Panthers, who suddenly have a chance to get to .500 at home vs. Buffalo Sunday (kickoff is 4:05 p.m., remember):

1. As I wrote in my column today, Steve Smith does have a valid point when he says he's no longer an asset to this team. He is, but he has been a poorly-used weapon so far this season. And even though Buffalo has the NFL's No.32-ranked run defense -- dead last -- I still expect things to change some Sunday. Carolina may run 48 times and throw only 17 again as they did vs. Tampa, but you can bet 7-8 of those throws are headed toward No.89.
Does Smith have to be coddled a little on this one? Yes. You make a mistake if you treat all your players exactly the same in the NFL. You have to keep Smith involved because if he were to check out, teams would simply stack 9 players in the box and Carolina would get nowhere. Yes, he's a prima donna at times, but he's worth the effort.

2. I thought the NFL's one-game suspension of Dante Wesley was completely justified for his heinous hit on a vulnerable Tampa Bay punt returner. (Here's the video from NFL.com if you missed it). Wesley said he's not a dirty player in Charles Chandler's story today, and that's true, but he sure looked like one on this play. The NFL had to do this, and Wesley is fortunate it wasn't worse. As is, he'll lose a paycheck totaling $36,470.

3. Coach John Fox sounded very relieved Monday when he said Julius Peppers has been absolutely "tremendous" the past two games. I'm sure it's just coincidence, but Peppers has been a house afire ever since I wrote this rather scathing play-by-play analysis of his first 3 games this season. That was also the week Jon Beason kind of called Peppers out on a radio show, which undoubtedly had more impact.
In any event, Peppers has had 4 sacks over the past two games and also seems far more engaged in the game. Beason, though, seemed most impressed that Peppers chased down Tampa Bay wide receiver Sammie Stroughter in the open field Sunday for a fine tackle, and I'd have to agree. When Peppers is playing like this, the Panthers' defense actually can look dangerous instead of dawdling.


Anonymous said...

I've yet to see any sportswriter mention that Peppers is often rushing from the left side (against the RT) in the last couple of games, and is playing opposite Everette Brown a lot. In fact, that's the side he rushed from on at least one sack and for the forced safety. That's a significant change.

Anonymous said...

I also think that Pep's performance is a direct result of signing Hollis Thomas and putting him in the middle of that line. He's eating up blocks and allowing Pep to make plays.

Anonymous said...

Thomas's presence would help the linebackers (and it definitely has done so) more than it would a DE. Peppers has been beating double-teams.

Jennifer said...

1) Agreed....Smitty can be hotheaded, very vocal, but I dont care what anyone says hes still one of the best receivers in the game!!

2) I really dont think the hit was intentional by Dante, I mean after what 7 or 8 years and this is his first fine...hopefully his last! But punishment was appropriate.

3) Saved the best for last......Woot, Woot Go Pep!!!! Enough said...I so wanted to get the dig in last Sunday, when he made the final tackle of the game, but I refrained so all the Pep haters wouldnt converge...so thanks Beason <:-)...and for printing it Mr. Scott..

Enjoy your day fella's!

Anonymous said...

1) This can not be addressed with Joke at QB. An open receiver more than 20 yards away might as well be triple teamed with that noodle arm of Joke's.

2) If Peppers had gotten this fine it would be 10X the loss of pay. Maybe Julius can help a brother out.

3) No worries. He can and will take a few games off. Probably as soon as we face a decent team.

MrBernz said...

Anonymous said "if Peppers had gotten this fine it would have been 10X that amount", where did you learn math, it would be more than 20X. Stop your lame hating & try to be a fan for once. This article had nothing to do with Delhomme but your lame hatred had to bring him into it. I dont care for Jake either but you should pick & choose when you want to cry about him, this is not the article for it. Peppers has played great the last 2 games, hopefully he continues. Smith is always a great player, when he isnt getting the ball he is taking up coverage that would normally be elsewhere. I hope Smith retires a Panther & gets a statue there at the stadium. Wesley was only doing his job, i guess the fine & suspension is ok, but had he hit the guy 1 second later it would have been 1 of the best plays of the game and people would have been congradulating him. It's never good to see a player get hurt but thats football.

Curtis said...

I've been critical of Pep at times this year (and others) but I'll be damned if he hasn't been a serious force these past couple of games...we all know he has the talent and I hope this drive he's shown lately keeps up. I wonder how much of this also is due to players finally catching up to Meeks new scheme.

Agreed with MrBernz...I mean, come on, how many lame "Joke Delhomme" comments can people try and put out there. Stick to the topic people...this article was on Smitty & Pep & Wesley.

And, unless that punt returner for the Bucs stole something from Wesley or slept with his momma, I don't see anyway that was an intentional hit. Poorly timed, bad play for sure. But certainly not intentional...this ain't Romanowski we're talking about here.

Anonymous said...

as for Pep's one game amount, it is actually about 30 times what wesley makes. if that doesn't make pep's salary seem ridiculous, i don't know what does.

Anonymous said...

First this a blog about the Panthers so a comment on any player is legit here.

Second let's not anoint Julius with any high praise just yet. The last two games were against Washington and Tampa Bay whose combined record is 2-10 with an cumulative point total of 168 in those 12 games.

Third in case you just don't want to see reality the Panthers won because they finally ran the ball. This should open up a passing the game. But the were not going to take another chance putting the game on Jake's right arm.

I have been a Jake supporter for years but, I think everyone should concede his time has come and gone. The payers obviously have lost confidence in himand now the coaches have done so as well Now is the time they MUST make a change and try something new.

Coach Fox don't fool yourself with the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" strategy, IT'S STILL BROKE--FIX IT!!

James said...

Let's see how Pep does when the schedule (and opposing O-lines) gets stronger.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer is hot

Anonymous said...

Jake the Mistake can direct 7-8 of those passes to Smitty like you suggest Scott but the problem is none of them will be catchable. Steve's importance to this team nor his talent can ever be questioned but for some reason Jakes deficiencies continue to be glossed over in favor of terms like grit, heart, and leadership.

Talent, awareness, and accuracy are the things Jake (or any good QB for that matter) needs but never will.

Lets not forget, our starting QB was a backup for the 'Aints when they were at their WORST!!!