Carolina has a shot at redemption at home Sunday, coming off a win
against the Jets to cleanse the concerns of their loss at New Orleans.
Beating up on Rex Ryan's defense brings an odd situation facing his
brother in what would inevitably be the nastiest euphemism in sports - a
Ryan Brothers sandwich. Getting a second crack at the complex Rob Ryan
defense is a unique situation, but not less so than to play his brother
right after. Anything that Carolina fixed against the Jets, was learned
by Rob; on the other hand, Rob can't use his same old tricks against
Carolina, instead creating a completely new gameplan that might or might
not work the same.
Ryan employed a different philosophy against a long-ball offense with
the Rams that was setup completely to beat the blitz and to push
safeties further back. More than that, the Rams pounded the ball, and
that clears up a lot of blitzing, too. Carolina's run game has gotten
better in the last week, and that was against a much better run defense
in the #2 ranked Jets.
For Carolina, a lot of pressure came off the corner blitz this past
week - a really nifty blitz that brought both Captain Munnerlyn and then
MLB Luke Kuechly on a delay. But as effective as it was, and well timed
in its calls, I would caution Sean McDermott from using it often. What
I'd prefer is to show the look a time or two, but bring pressure from
somewhere else. I liked Thomas Davis off the edge a few weeks ago, once
coming outside and another time looping inside the way an end would on a
stunt; doing that with Kuechly would work just as well.
Past that, I'd still prefer to throw some 'big nickel' at Robert
Lester. One easy way to limit Jimmy Graham's looks would be to have
someone who can run with him - which is rare but more likely to be a DB
- and have enough size/physicality at DB to bang with a guy who's 250
lbs., which is more a safety. Lester's been a good sub DB, he can chuck
near the line but still turn and run. If Graham shows covered at ten
yards, he's less likely to get the target.
And that's the thing about Brees, and why getting a good press on their
receivers but getting into good position is key. Brees is great at
cycling through his targets, which means he's not going to be stubborn
about a receiver. If a guy shows covered, he's not going to force it.
He's going to move on. Carolina struggled getting contact early, then
got flagged overdoing it; then they stopped pressing for a bit and it
From a matter of over-correction, Carolina could push more attention at
the WRs - specifically Marques Colston, who broke out against Carolina
in a form he hadn't all year, and then followed that with a big
performance against the Rams as well. There's no doubt that Carolina
will receive a little more leniency in the defensive backfiend at home;
it's going to be necessary as they attempt to get more physical with the
big NO receivers.
Might be a wet field - I still think, just throw a 6th lineman out
there and pound it. Hoping for a good game.