Panther Paw Prints: First Victory of 2009 Edition

They say winning solves all of a teams' problems. For the Panthers that is true for at least a couple days as this edition of Paw Prints is saturated in the sweet taste of victory. The first four come courtesy of Darin Gannt and QB Jake Delhomme:

Panthers rally from dismal start to post first victory in 287 days | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
"That is what it's about," Delhomme said. "It's about coming into the locker room after a game when it's just the coaches, players, trainers and equipment managers. It's been a month since the season started. We've got so many young guys, and you want that atmosphere to breed. That is what you want. That is the big thing. "That is why you do any and everything you can during the week; take care of your body to get ready, because this is what Sunday is about. You want it to feel like this on Sunday afternoon."

Jake isn't without his problems but demonstrating leadership isn't one of them.Along those lines, its not often he hear John Fox self-eviscerate:

Panthers' Peppers earns his pay with solid outing | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
"It was real big," Panthers coach John Fox said of Peppers and Davis' play. "The dumb head coach for the Panthers went for it on fourth down and didn't get it. So, that was important to get field position."

WR Kenny Moore admits to not following his blocks on his first return, then gets it right with his game-changing return:

Moore gives special teams a boost with big return | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
"Right before the play, I was big on just making a play," Moore said. "Just get something started. I just wanted to come out and do something big, because we looked flat. The play before, I had a chance to, but I didn't run my track right, so that time I was real focused on setting it up right and it was there. "The whole emotion of the game changed after that. That was big. We drove it in and scored on that drive, and the defense came out big and everyone was ready to play after that."

Another player who had a 'big' impact that was maybe less noticeable to the average fan was new DT/NG Hollis Thomas:

Darin Gantt's Panthers Blog | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
You know who made a big impact today without getting his name called? Hollis Thomas. This just in, it actually helps having a nose tackle to play nose tackle, rather than a narrow-pantsed Nick Hayden. Having a big body helped with the run defense, and helped clear some things for Damione Lewis and the ends. It's no accident it was their best pressure game of the year, and it's not just because of Julius Peppers.

Remember when we were complaining about the poor tackling by the Panthers? Not to exacerbate someone else misery but its nice to hear the other team making these complaints, in particular when they involve our skinny, old QB

Recap: Panthers Game Highlights Everything Wrong with the Washington Redskins - Hogs Haven
I'm still furious with the tackling. The most obvious is DeAngelo Hall's failure to contain on the final bootleg, then his inability to bring down a skinny, old QB in the open field. Did you notice that one run play where Jon Stewart carried the entire Redskins defense for 10 yards and a first down? Look at Hall on that play. He barely throws a shoulder. Pathetic.

It doesn't hurt that they are railing on DeAngelo Hall either. Though KevinE at Hogs Haven keeps it real about his teams tackling, this Chris Chase with Shutdown Corner gets it wrong when describing the Redskins muffed punt:

It's legal to block a guy into a returner who has called fair catch - Shutdown Corner - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
With the Redskins holding a 17-12 lead early in the fourth quarter, the team was set to return a punt after forcing a three-and-out from the Panthers. Antwaan Randle El(notes) signaled for a fair catch but was run into by teammate Byron Westbrook(notes) who, while preparing to block, was pushed into Randle El by Panthers safety Quinton Teal(notes). The ball dropped into the resulting scrum, hit Westbrook in the foot and was eventually recovered by Carolina.

Sorry Chris but Westbrook was fully engaged and just got tooled by Quinton Teal. Speaking of getting tooled, Redskins RT Stephon Heyer

Redskins Return Home With Carolina Blues -
The Panthers cut the Redskins' lead to 7-2 in the second quarter when Portis was tackled in the end zone for a safety after Peppers pushed Heyer back into the end zone on a sweep play to the right. "Stephon got pushed back a little bit," Zorn said. "Clinton had no chance."

Pushed back a little? He "got trucked" would be a better description. I guess Zorn has got to be more politically correct when describing his own players but I can see why the 'Skins fans are concerned about their depth on the o-line.

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