I was lucky enough to see the Dallas game Monday night, so I feel the pain of all of you. I think James posted the seven steps of depression or something like that, and I'm on step 7, hope. Everyone is acting like the sky is falling, the season is over, lets sell this season to the devil for the hope of something better next year. Let me advocate a bit of therapy for all of you, after every Panthers game, take a step back and review the GOOD stuff. Am I saying ignore the bad, heck no. The bad will exist, just ignoring it won't make it go away. But seeing only the bad isn't good either for you, or for the team. So, on that note, lets take a look at every aspect, every player, every member of the organization. Step 1, the janitor..........
I kid, I kid, I don't have time to go that in depth. Instead I'll look at the key guys who are getting the blame. First off is the person that everyone sees, and who takes the blame for the most part. Jake Delhomme. I'll skip the analogy and get to the crux of my argument, Jake is not the problem!!!! First game, yeah, he played bad, put Brady or Manning or Warner in there instead of him, they'd play bad too. No one can succeed with the rush in his face, it doesn't happen. Second game, he was on fire, if we win he is the MVP of that game. Third game that we all saw, he made a couple mistakes, but nothing jumped out at me. The INT was underthrown, but with a guy like Moose who isn't fast, and who Jake had underthrown previously, typically the best tactic for a deep route is to sell it deep, then come back on the route while the defense is behind you. That time, it wasn't properly executed, and it resulted in a pick. The next pick was a miscommunication between Smith and Jake, the blame goes both ways, but you could see, right after Jake threw it, he knew it was going to be bad. The fumble was just in garbage time, the rush could just pin their ears back and go, that's always a recipe for disaster.
Final impression: Jake is our best bet to win, Feeley and Moore I don't think could come in and know the nuances of this offense right off the bat, everyone will shut up after we are 3-3 going into the Arizona game. 4-3 it will be the optimists turn to rule. ; )
Scapegoat #2: The coaches, specifically Fox. Here is where the blame is probably the most deserved. We have not lost because of our lack of talent, we lost because of shoddy gameplanning, a lack of basic football fundamentals, and lack of creativity. The first is correctable, we have already seen signs of that, the second we have a bye week to work on, and the third isn't so valid once you look at the first half vs the Cowboys. We blitzed! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it. The only thing that saved me from jumping and screaming my lungs out in joy was the fact that it was 3 in the morning, and my mom gets grumpy if she is woken up. Fox will stay, and he will adjust, he saw what worked and what didn't against Dallas, he'll correct his mistakes and prove why he is one of the longest tenured active coaches in the NFL.
Final bright spots: We blitzed. That alone makes me feel optimistic.
Linebackers: They are fast and talented, and they helped allow only 13 points to a scary Dallas offense. Beason looks to be getting comfortable, and that tackle on the goalline was perfect.
TE's: They are finally getting involved in the passing game, something we all were clamoring for before the season began. Rosario still needs work on blocking, but he's a pass catcher, King's the blocker, I think we're all set at the TE position.
Smith, Williams, Gross: Our all-stars are still all-stars, Gross did a tremendous job against Demarcus Ware, Smith is still explosive, and Williams needs the ball more.
Marshall: I know what you guys are thinking, they grow crack in South Africa, right? ; ) But I was somewhat impressed by Marshall. He missed some tackles definitely, but he did a good job on Williams, especially on that endzone fade. I think there's hope for our secondary, especially when Harris comes back.
My forecast going into Washington: We slam the ball down their throats, play-action pass on them all day to the TE's and Smith, and on defense harass Campbell until he's begging for Sanchez to come in. ; )