I think I got this loss mostly figured out.
I think I got this loss mostly figured out.
I'm not going to go nuts and say everyone should be fired. To be honest there isn't that many people to blame. The blame on this loss belongs to a very small group of people, and I shall start with the obvious.
1) Jake Delhomme.
Cmon, you knew that was coming. In a season of record breakers, how fitting is it that Jake Delhomme sets another record in order to end the season? Five interceptions and a fumble for six turnovers overall. Irregardless of the horrible play calling on offense and defense, with good smart throws we could have made adjustments in the 2nd half and won the game. I don't care how bad the coaches have prepared you, I don't care how bad the offensive line was doing, you should know by now to throw a ball out of bounds when you don't have anyone open.
I think it's about time we start finding a replacement for Jake Delhomme. I know he is the emotional leader of this defense. Wears his heart on his shoulder and all of that. But that wasn't a leader I saw last night, I saw was a disaster. Use this moment as an opportunity to take him out and put in someone just as good. At the same time, we shouldn't get rid of Jake unless we can find someone better or just as good in order to take his place. Remember 2007? Yeah, we don't want another season like that.
My position towards him from now on is to continue to start him, but be extremely wary of another QB to replace him. Matt Moore has a cannon of an arm and if he improves his accuracy enough, I say give him a start and see what happens. We can always float back to Jake Delhomme if the going gets rough. We also have a handful of talented QB's being released to free agency or available by trades. Why not look for some of them?
Odds are we'll have another season of Jake Delhomme, but let's be honest this was the worst game of his career. You need to prepare for the future.
2) Offensive/Defensive Coordinators
More the latter than the former. The Card's offense for most of the first half consisted of getting the ball into Larry's hands. He had over 150 yards in the first half. What the hell? Did we suddenly forget that he was going to play today?
It wasn't just the defense either. The defense is extremely talented, and for the 2nd half they stepped up and stopped him and the offense from doing much of anything. They were able to string along a couple of long drives in the 4th quarter, but otherwise the stopped Larry and gave our offense chance after chance to come back and win the game. With Jake at the helm and the coordinators forced to pass the ball, there just wasn't any chance of us coming back.
We also gave up the run way too soon and for seemingly no reason at all. Why did we come into the game throwing the ball so often? Why....why....why? This is going to be the question I ask all off-season, mumbling it in my sleep as I toss and turn. You had everything going for you! A talented offensive line and two excellent running backs. Run the ball up the middle with DeAngelo Williams. When he gets tired or we get into a goal line situation, hand the ball off to Jonathan Stewart. When they start stacking 8 in the box, start getting the ball to Steve Smith.
I'll admit, the Panthers had a great first possession, a quick pass to Dwayne Jarrett to weaken the run defense, and then two long 40/10 yard runs by Williams and Stewart to put the capital T on a Touchdown drive. They should have stuck to this formula the whole game.
Yet all of the sudden, for whatever reason, the offensive coordinator diverted to Jake Delhomme the rest of the game. Williams had 12 carries for 63 yards, over 5 yards per gain. There is no reason that we shouldn't have been running the ball more. No reason at all. See this kind of think just makes my head explode. I don't know what to say. I have nothing to say.
That's really it. I don't blame anyone else. The defensive game plan was horrible in the first half, and the offensive gameplan didn't adjust to how Jake decided to play today. That's it. By the time the damage was done in the first half, our 2nd half adjustments couldn't make a bit of difference. We were trapped. We were forced by that point on to throw the football, and Jake showed us how excellent he could do in making our team choke when it mattered most.
Next article coming up is the Panthers Plan for the Off-Season. You'll get to see the must sign to another contract and the ones that should be kicked to the curb. See you then.