The Carolina Panther defense made a loud and clear statement last night: they are READY for the season opener. In a display of aggressiveness and emotion, hard hits and stuffed plays, the Panthers defense displayed the fun side of watching NFL pro football. The Steelers first team offense did very little last night even after the starters left the field. Yes, the Panthers lost the game thanks to six turnovers from the offense and special teams. But the Steelers offense could only put up field goals when given the ball deep in Panther territory. Deciding who made the most impressive play of the game was easy in my opinion:
Kris Jenkins is the shizzle!
On a 3rd down passing play he destroyed Steeler All-Pro guard Alan Fanaca and laid a hit on QB for a sack. He just bull-rushed him over and threw him aside. It should be the last single blocker assignment he sees on a passing play this season. Let me be the first to call myself out for being wrong in a post just yesterday. Jenkins IS a key to the passing defense because he will garner double-teams all season leaving the DE’s and LB’s an easier path. No OC in the league will want to risk Jenkins laying hits on their QB and no guard in the league can handle Jenkins one-on-one for any length of time. Thank the football gods nobody offered a #1 pick for him! I’ll bet the Steelers would give up their #1 pick next year for him right now!
Dalton Bell played about as expected. He made some bad throws, he looked jittery at times and he made some good throws. I think overall he helped himself but he will still see the Turk tomorrow if not sooner. Kerry Colbert helped himself as well and Dwayne Jarrett showed why he was so successful at USC. My bet is Colbert starts opposite Smith in the season opener. I see no point in further evaluation of the offense because we never saw the complete first team playing
Special teams didn’t fare too well though. Another missed field goal, some poor kick coverage but Ryne did show some more flash.
Overall I thought this game was a positive step forward for the Panthers going into the season opener. Forget the score. The defense stole the show and gave the Panther faithful a much needed reason to be excited. Count me in!