The biggest concerns:
- Find Steve Smith. After last week, Smith yelled at the staff, the QB, and a guy who as 5th WR doesn't even dress most times (Dwayne Jarrett). The guy couldn't be more amped up, and it was clear that he was frustrated. Use it. Find ways to get him the damn ball already. Meanwhile, reports about Carr simply not looking at him from locals at the game is hurting. This offense has to start running through Smith at some point, and TN's stout run defense means making something happen or losing this game.
- Don't fret the front four. The Panthers' rush will want to be on their game, but playing desperation ball will not get the team anywhere. Young, obviously, runs well and can make things happen in space. This is also where the team struggles, and they haven't played a running QB in a while. Rucker and Peppers need to play contain.
- It might seem counterintuitive, but it's not - blitz. Young struggled with the blitz last year, finishing 38th with 50% completion against the blitz; his yards/completion were low (dumpoffs), but the problem? Young was 2nd in the league in rushing yards off blitzes with 187. Contain behind blitz is still a solid ideal, and the biggest downfall of the idea is putting players in man over top of a running QB who'll see room to move.
- Challenge Young in the pocket. Young was top five in the league last year in interceptions off bad decisions, and it's easier to force him into bad decisions when he's not improvising.
- Coincidentally, David Carr is good against the blitz, or was last year. Better than Jake Delhomme (who struggled in 2006 after being very good in 2005). Hopefully, the Titans will try to tee off and let us have some easy completions.
- Is it going to be another Feed-the-King game? Jeff King led the team with 10 receptions last week, and it looks like we might have to dump to the TE to move the ball again.
- TN leads the league in rushing defense, and are 3rd in yards per attempt rushing (3.4). The best place to run them? There really isn't one. The Titans are 3.55 yards in the middle, and worse off tackle and off end. Albert Haynesworth is going to be the key to block. Tony Brown, a Panther until after preseason 2006, is the other starter, with something to prove this week. Kyle VandenBosch is a solid end as well, not giving up much against the run. David Thornton, a beast against the run, is a necessity to block out, and Keith Bullock on the other side has range and speed to close on the ball up front or in pursuit.
- Even though Testaverde didn't shine toward the end of his time last week, I'm concerned if the team can be behind Carr. It's not necessarily his fault, and this team is an emotional rollercoaster willing to jump track for less than necessary. Energy to start this game will be huge after finishing off so poor last week. Hopefully, there will be something good scripted for Carr, and he'll get the chance to have some things scripted to get comfortable.