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Friday, September 14, 2007

V/S St. Louis, Season Opener Thoughts

Just a few hghlights/thoughts of last week's Rams game:
  • The Panthers did end up moving Julius Peppers around, and moving Thomas Davis to the outside, at points in the Rams game. The team didn't have much success moving Peppers, but the defense nonetheless held. It gives opponents one more thing to prepare for, but to this point Peppers has been more successful just beating on his lineman for 60 snaps a game. Davis playing on the outside isn't his best alignment, but does position him to play man on the TE or let us move Peppers without having to bring in extra linemen; playing man on the tight end is considered a strength for Davis, who looks improved in coverage this year, and playing him on the outside more than just on blitzes keeps the alignment from being a coverage tell.
  • Defense, overall, tightened up after a first drive that looked like it was going to be thrown around the field by Rams' standout Steven Jackson, even with substitution. The pass defense showed to be solid, but wasn't tested in the middle. The linebackers, specifically, looked like they were playing a lot of man coverage, telling since that's not usually the case. Only one sack, with two linemen out for the Rams, which was concerning to a point - you want to see more rush.
  • Jake Delhomme is getting kudos for his efficiency and for nailing three touchdowns. The offense overall improved efficiency on 3rd down to 41%, added some big plays, and were very solid when able to keep out of 3rd and long.
  • Backs Deshaun Foster and Deangelo Williams excelled, each breaking some over ten yard runs, and combining for 150 yards, but each lost a fumble and neither made impact in the passing game. Brad Hoover made the most of two tough runs, gaining two first downs
  • Jeff King ushered in The Year of The Tightend, with 5 receptions. Only one was a first down, but three others made for short, makeable first downs (converted).
  • Special teams only had one major lapse, the long return by Hall, but overall performed well.
Overall, a solid game that looked better on paper than on film, but an opening win against a theoretically very good Rams offense, on the road, with no injuries is always a good thing.
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