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Sunday, September 19, 2010

V/S Tampa Bay, 9.18.10

So how does Carolina turn it around after an embarassing two score loss against the Giants?


It rarely fails, in recent Carolina history, that after a disaster, they find a way around re-controlling the game. So watch for third down, and occasionally first down, passing. Watch for a pounding running game otherwise, even if it's not working. There's a need to force the defense back into defending the run first, followed by dictating that pace with more running. Without DT Louis Leonard, and watching a defense that tired quickly without offensive success, the concern of continuing to give the defense a long day isn't something they can afford.

On defense? Contain, stop the run, and that's about it. Josh Freeman is a concern to get out of the pocket and was their second-leading rusher last week in the win against Cleveland. They don't have a go-to receiver - everyone had about 4-5 receptions for around 30-40 yards - Kellen Winslow would be, but he's not the player he should be. There are often seams in the Tampa-2 scheme for a TE. Carolina gave him 3 catches last year in their first meet, 4 in the 2nd. Mike Williams got the bulk of the targets, attempting to make him Antonio Bryant before the knee injury, but he's not that heavy a threat.

Carnell Williams can be, but he doesn't seem to have the heavy burst you might anticipate from his past. Carolina should stay hard on the run, especially if Tampa attempts to match our game pace, but it shouldn't be a heavy challenge to contain him.

If Carolina does set the pace, gets a few good returns, and can force Freeman into mistakes like last year's 5-int debacle, this should be easy even without a reliance on any level of passing.

Since the game is upon us, the rest will be brief - Aqib Talib and Steve Smith will be a good matchup. Everette Brown and Greg Hardy get more playing time with Tyler Brayton banged up, the young right side of the line gets a chance at redemption, and David Gettis looks like he'll get time over Brandon LaFell. Dwayne Jarrett likely starts.
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