We all know what happened out there, so I'm going to gloss over a few things that I felt strongly about. Most of the positives beget a mirrored negative.
- Starting backs Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart made plays.
- Jake Delhomme made plays. His deep ball was there, his throws to the sideline and the out routes were made with tons of zip, and he has his control. Concerns of his Philadelphia game being problematic were unfounded concerns.
- The defense made plays. They created opportunities for us to win throughout the game.
- Chris Gamble and Ken Lucas were back and in great form. Richard Marshall, Ricardo Colclough, and CJ Wilson all made solid plays behind them.
- Colclough and Jason Carter had good days returning kicks.
- Dwayne Jarrett made some more tough catches. Steve Smith is a madman. While the team is as theoretically deep at WR as ever, Muhammad will be just recovered by the San Diego game, and who knows if DJ Hackett will ever man-up and play with a little pain. We'll need Jarrett plenty against San Diego.
- Delhomme still makes occasionally bad decisions. The double covered Smith INT was just not a good decision.
- The backups haven't excelled at RB, which defaults to us keeping Nick Goings, and not a lot else. The team will keep that trio and FB Brad Hoover, but the others haven't been as promising as against Indy.
- The rout was impressive, but remember that the Panthers didn't control the time of posession, never put together long drives, and made up that greater portion of the score on playmaking. Playmaking is obviously preferential but not as reliable; you want to see sustained drives, whereas the team either broke out or stalled.
- Clinton Portis didn't play much, and he was able to run on us. The defense looked dominating, but could be worn down if they kept the run game going on us.
- The OL may have run blocked very well, but pass blocking could've been better. Their DL got plenty of pressure on us, with three sacks and 2 hits in three quarters. Some of it was free blitzing, which means we didn't pick someone up, and some of it was just being beaten.
- Landon Johnson isn't impressive at all. He looks like good depth but is being outclassed by Na'il Diggs, meaning we picked up a guy for $3 mil a year that'll be chasing down kicks. Of course, the Dan Connor pick even exascerbates this more.
- Even up 40 points, the team didn't see fit to put Rhys Lloyd on more than kickoffs. John Kasay scored 17 points against Washington, and 18 total in the other two games. Not one of those balls could've been attempted by Lloyd? If we're going to keep two kickers, and one of them's as old as Kasay, it's worth seeing if Lloyd can at least attempt one in a live game.
The team looked crisp, overall. Some solid playmaking by the other parts of the DL is as welcome as seeing Peppers return to solid play. The guys who deserve to be here have separated themselves from the ones who simply want to be involved, and this week those groups will be separated.