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Sunday, October 24, 2010

49ers Freefall

While Carolina fans are (rightly) unhappy about this year, and derided John Fox for never having two winning seasons together (same argument for our franchise), for perspective we have the San Francisco 49ers.

The last time they were this bad was with OJ Simpson as a player - when they had nothing else. By last time, I'm including "this time" to include the terrible Erickson seasons, and pretty much everything since Mariucci. They've had a run of non-winning seasons since 2003, once the York decisions started getting made and the Debartolo ones were wearing off.

It's an epically bad franchise at this point, but a team that still has one more win than ours.

So, time to change that. San Francisco is the perfect team to ail a winless Carolina franchise, hopefully.

It's hard to say if going back to Matt Moore will help, or if Geoff Schwartz moving inside and the very light Garry Williams getting an improbable start at RT will matter. But if it will, this is the week.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

post-Bears nonsense

Carolina regressed offensively, making it to 0-5 for the year. After a few weeks of looking occasionally respectable, the offense finally regressed to total ineptitude. Defensively, holding the Bears to 24 net yards passing and 5 INT, they did enough to win - despite giving up touchdowns on rushing plays within the first five minutes. Of course, Julius Peppers did his - got a QB pressure, and an improbable batted ball turned INT on his back,

The hard part is seeing Jimmy Clausen regress so hard, and having Matt Moore come back in and immediately throw 2 INT. At the end, Clausen couldn't hit anything, tough for a guy touted as being accurate, and Moore did no better.

There's no way around it, this is terrible offensive football. A team wreaking of identity for eight years lacks it, and the only interesting thing outside of the defense is seeing what the offense may have been trying to do instead of what they actually got.

So what now?

Mercifully, a bye week.

Hopefully, they fix ...

...well, everything? At any rate, for right now, I'll leave the hyperbole on how bad this team has become to the professionals, and questions about whether or not they could beat college teams to hopeless fans.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Julius, the sequel

Julius Peppers was the centerpiece of the resurgence of the Carolina Panthers in 2002. He was what they built around, when quarterbacks were what the league felt they needed (they got theirs at a cheaper rate). He wasn't always their motive power - for such a dominating presence he was streaky, regardless of the debates over his effort.

When it was time to re-sign, Peppers showed that same inconsistency. Not unlike Kris Jenkins, Peppers felt he could do better things elsewhere, and that Charlotte just wasn't a big enough town. Maybe there were problems with coaching, maybe not. Maybe there were motivational issues with the player, maybe not.

But in the end, with the franchise potentially on the line, Carolina did all it could, and in true fashion, Peppers didn't. Even if Peppers only wanted out, and had no intent on staying, don't harm that ideal. Instead, the quietest 6'7 football player ever made decided to switch roles, and hurt our cause, if not his. So with our options limited (to Peppers' legendary 'four teams'), with the CBA termination looming, and with

Maybe Carolina should've traded him, taken something for their effort and taking the power in their relationship with their franchise player. Now, it's easy to say to cash in the chips and move forward, but it's hard to say what would happen in 2009. After the way things laid out with Peppers, it's clear Carolina had faith in keeping him, but that after July 2009 they knew they had no way of doing so.

So they didn't call him. They also didn't trash him in the media, they didn't make demands of him. They allowed him what he wanted and yet he's still the unhappy one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jarrett Finally Shits The Bed

Well, Dwayne, you can't say you didn't have chances.

Within the last 24 hours, Dwayne Jarrett received a DWI and received his walking papers. And, rightfully so, though many believe the cut came too late.

Jarrett, a theoretically top flight 6'4 receiver who had received the title of The Next Muhsin Muhammad four years running and "no, really, I'll not suck this year" media award the past three, never was worth a damn. His entire tenure here was awkward at best, from his awkward drafting in front of Keyshawn Johnson (who would be cut the following day) to the re-hiring of Muhammad, to the first DWI in 2008, to now.

Jarrett couldn't have caught a starting job no matter how many times it was thrown at him. To say he was one of the most frustrating examples of a non-John Fox Guy in the John Fox era is understating, at best. He, at only rare points, showed the promise everyone said he had.

It's all for naught, going from most frustrating player to non-Panther quickly.

In his place? David Clowney, former Virginia Tech and NY Jets wideout (Virginia Tech, 6', 188), a 4.37 40 yard guy in the combine and 2007 5th rounder (yes, same draft as Jarrett). Clowney has 15 career receptions, 14 of which were from last year, all with the Jets. Clowney has return ability, and may help out there as well long term.

And who knows, maybe he won't be a lazy, underachieving, divisive wideout who the Panthers spend years hoping will become something he'll never become. That'd be nice.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Hate Moral Victories

This was, by and large, a moral victory. Did we have a shot at the end? Great. We haven't had that this year, so that's a start. Did we finish? No, we almost methodically marched backward as fast as we had forward, once field goal range was in sight. But, it beats 13 point losses, of which we've met our quota.

The running game was back, though more consistency would've been nice against a 31st ranked run defense. That was highlighted on the determining play, down by 2 and facing a 2nd and 8 at the NO 36, Deangelo Williams saw FG range in the designated hole to the right, and a homerun to the left. He chose the big hit, and was hit big by Usama Young for a loss of four (earlier in the game, he'd made the same choice for a 39 yard TD).

Of course, the wheels fell apart from there, being sacked by Mike Jenkins for another loss of four and a drop by Dwayne Jarrett on 4th and 16 that could've converted but wouldn't have left time on the clock.

It was an improvement - beating yourself for a few minutes instead of 60. Carolina's now 4-0 in beating itself.

But it's still a loss, and losses still sting. Now it's just an idea of building off what was good:

*big plays in the passing game: 55 yard TD from Jonathan Stewart, 39 yard TD from Williams, a late 21 yard reception from David Gettis that set them up for FG range.

*defense against a top passing offense:

Individual defense: James Anderson had 14 tackles, a sack, and 2 recovered fumbles. He also had trouble on some other plays, and gave up yards in the passing game, but from the stat sheet, Anderson's a Pro Bowl level player today.

Sherrod Martin only had 5 tackles, but forced a fumble and had some huge hits. He and Charles Godfrey kept plays in front of them, critical against the Saints.

Charles Johnson had another sack, giving him two.

*They held Drew Brees, a franchise level QB, to 33/48 and 275 yards. 1 TD, no INT. It would've been nice to get the INTs that had been coming, but Carolina showed last week that didn't guarantee any success. Still, Brees was given only the short completions, and wouldn't have had 200 yards if we had tackled well.