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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Few Moves To Turn it Around



Coming out of the bye week, Dallas loss, and Hurney firing, here’s a few things I feel like Carolina must do to turn things around:

*Get Cam Comfortable – it’s an expanded offense, and a more heavy one with all the option runs.  While they make logical sense, Carolina’s offense runs through Newton more than most quarterbacks, whose 40-55% of run calls are simply handoffs.

So, it’s time to shake things up, re-use some plays that simply work on his natural strengths without putting the world on his shoulders.   The screen game needs to come back better – and dumpoffs need to be emphasized in more situations.  Rollouts should be used 5 or so times a game to create a better playaction. Not opposed to a sprintout option either, with the right protections, and it opens up the old college sprint draw.

*Secondary Targets – backs shouldn’t be the only one to get those extra looks.  Greg Olsen has been money when called upon, and yet there are portions of entire games where he’s not getting targets.  Brandon LaFell appears to only show up in games where he’s not facing a good corner, so there needs to be more involvement to get him open on drags and crosses to supplement the comebacks and posts that can work well on some days.

*Run it – time to go back to a little more traditional run offense at times.  Line up under center, pound the ball.   For years, the Panthers could run it for 4-5 yards/carry with nothing else to have the defense focus on – so suddenly with all these weapons on offense, running isn’t enough of a concern?   Running from center also opens up more playaction, which combined with the rollouts, provides more misdirection.

Defensively:
*Time to resolve the Beason/Kuechly thing, I guess. I still feel that Beason isn’t going to do any better in space, and that Kuechly’s in a tight spot – his best work is in space, which should be fine at WLB, but then there’s Thomas Davis (who pulled a full load with Beason gone).  Kuechly needs to take the spot next to Davis in nickel, and Beason needs to be off the field more, for now.

*rotate DBs – I know that DBs are the one spot where you always keep your starters in, but the end result is that Josh Norman and Haruki Nakamura can still use some rotation.  Nakamura was serviceable against Seattle, but Martin played, and did well – there’s room for both.  Norman bounced back a bit as well, but I liked the rotation of he and Captain Munnerlyn earlier in the season.  Having each rest isn’t a terrible idea, and re-introducing that taste of competition for Munnerlyn and Martin could boost overall play.

*More 3-4 – I know it’s not the quick fix way of doing things, but the end result is that I like what this front provides.  With Frank Alexander providing some pressure lately, it allows both Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson to work inside, where both have some power.  It adds a lot of size, and provides for some versatility to move around Beason/Kuechly and sub in any other LB as needed.   I’m also not opposed to being even larger with Thomas Keiser outside, or moving Johnson back out to OLB for a few snaps and putting Dwan Edwards inside him at end.




Special Teams:
*Time to reintroduce Joe Adams to the punt return team.  Let’s hold off on anything else, but Adams needs to be out there doing something.
*Have to let Justin Medlock get a few more FGs in.  I don’t know that any kicker has been used less, even if unintentionally.

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