Monday, August 30, 2010

The "Defense/Offense" dichotomy

Certainly, it's just preseason, and all of this will be washed away as if a summer thunderstorm swept through pretty soon.

Nevertheless, as I wrote in today's column, I think the Panthers' offense is in trouble and that their defense is spectacular.

A few numbers from the Panthers' 2010 preseason -- Carolina is 1-2 entering Thursday night's preseason finale at Pittsburgh -- bear this out with some starkness:

The good...

-- The Panthers' defense ranks No.1 in the entire NFL in yards allowed per game (184.7 per game), which is 51 yards better than next-best Minnesota.

-- The Panthers are also No.1 in the NFL in sacks (18, or an average of 6 per exhibition) and in passing defense. They are No.2 in rushing defense and points allowed per game (11, trailing only Baltimore). If Carolina keeps that torrid pace up throughout the regular season, too, defensive coordinator Ron Meeks is going to be a very hot commodity in 2011 for a possible head-coaching job.

The bad...

-- The Panthers are No.32 of 32 in points per game (10). Their two TDs have been scored on a fumble return and a kickoff.

-- The Panthers' offense is on an 0-for-42 preseason streak in scoring touchdowns when starting a possession. I get into this some in my column today as well.

This shouldn't surprise us too much. Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart have missed the whole preseason, after all. And Carolina's offense in the 2009 preseason was also very poor -- Hunter Cantwell had the only touchdown pass. That offensive offense then hurt Carolina considerably in its 0-3 start, which the Panthers never quite recovered from in 2009.

But that defense.... man. As I wrote today, I've never seen a faster-looking D in 16 years of watching the Panthers put teams on the field (and Thomas Davis, one of the team's speediest players, isn't even out there).


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I think the media is placing way to much emphasis on the Panthers not scoring touchdowns in the preseason. Sure, we all would love to see more production, but did anyone actually think that the Panthers would light up the scoreboard in preseason? Even if Smith were playing, there's still a line of wideouts behind him with no experience at this level, which is exactly why the Panthers have passed much more than normal. It should surprise no one that all this practice in the passing game hasn't scored touchdowns. Truth is, it will probably take several regular season games for the passing game to find it's legs. Hopefully, the running game and defense can get a few wins in the meantime. For now, stop being so dramatic.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first comment 1000%!

Give it time, we have a lot of new players and it will take them a couple of games to gel and then our opponents better watch out!

John said...

Seriously? Does anyone really think the in season offense will be 60+% passing? I mean give me a break. What they have been doing has nothing in common with the game plan.

Further let's say the were running their offense they way they would. 3000+ yds and 24 or so touchdowns have been sitting on the bench. Williams has barely touched the ball after all. Seems to me all the tooth gnashing would make more sense after you know the offense actually takes the field and there is a game plan.

Michael Bacon said...

I'm holding out optimism, but in each season when the offense rolled (Beuerlein's best years, Delhomme's beset), we always came out in the preseason and rolled down the field with the first team.

I understand 2/3 of the best playmakers being on the sideline. But this is pathetic.

Jason said...

The guys at Sirius NFL Radio aren't concerned for our offense yet. They know we're going to pound the ball in the regular season.

Anonymous said...

Really need Otah back in there. Blocking has not been up to par.