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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Carolina played Pittsburgh better than the 21-10 score showed - they ran the ball well, they didn't have many breakdowns. But those breakdowns were costly - the rushing TD that at least six Panthers had a chance at tackling; the punt return for touchdown where numerous Panthers simply fell; the interception return for touchdown by Matt Moore.

Some things came out about the Panthers' intentions this game:

They want to attack the middle of the field with the tight ends. TEs have gone up the field on streaks, posts, and comebacks; they've split TEs wide, and they've even pushed the TEs as receivers from the FB position. This and attacking the sideline like last year are the only things they've pushed the TEs into, but they've continued to push them.

They've worked hard on the slot. Famously stating that Mike Goodson would be able to play some slot, Goodson hasn't been used there yet; one of the stronger battles was Dwayne Jarrett v/s Kenny Moore for the 3rd WR position. Moore ended up coming up with the spot, and has become a favorite target for Jake Delhomme.

The above two ideals, of course, are thoughts that would theoretically design more plays away from the two starting wide receivers and toward molding to fit the defense's weakness. Delhomme hasn't stopped forcing balls to Smith and Muhammad, but

The defense continued to run to the ball. They continue to lack finishing, but they're getting better.

The new DT, Leonard, and Nick Hayden have done a great job penetrating this game. This is obviously something they want to do - they just need the right guys in there. Corvey Irvin, who deemed himself a disruptor after the draft, has yet to do much of it.

They want to rush the passer, and did so well against Pittsburgh.

Things they are still very unclear about:

Will Jonathan Stewart suit up this year?

Who will return kicks and punts? Initially assumed to Ryne Robinson, Mike Goodson became the KR and Captain Munnerlyn became the PR. This game muddied that, with Munnerlyn and Moore

Who's the backup QB? Matt Moore made things happen downfield (unfortunately, one of those a TD that went the other way) and on 3rd down, and both he and Josh McCown drove the ball well. McCown's experience probably puts him ahead. Moore's more talented, but not ready.

Will they attempt to tackle better?
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