If you're looking for hope in such dire times for the Panthers, fans can embrace one thing. The Panthers rank 1st in the nation in defending the pass.
Yes, in spite of everything that's happened, that is one statistic you can hold onto if the Panthers hope to stop the Juggernaut that is the during our next game. The Cardinals will be coming at us with a fury of weapons unlike we have ever seen this season. and are two of the most elite players in the NFL, and fellow receivers and are two pretty decent threats right along with them.
After rebounding from a 1-2 start before hitting the bye week, the Cardinals are 4-2 with the division lead and are ready to put some distance between them and the . However, they still don't have a running game. At all. The Panthers are 26th in the league in defending the rush, while the Arizona Cardinals are 32th in rushing yardage. That's a key number you need to circle if you want to cheer for the Panthers on Sunday.
If you look at the game at face value, the Cardinals have a strong advantage. They have an explosive offense when they drop back to pass, and this year their defense threw away all of the crazy scheming in favor of a simpler game-plan, so they suddenly became 1st in the league in rushing defense. While they have not yet become as good as they were on their run to a Super Bowl, they'll have a wonderful stage to show that off against the in Week 8.
On the other hand, the Panthers can stop the pass and has seen the light and has begun to cause constant pressure once more. In spite of the team struggles, Deangelo Williams has still been solid and he's on pace for a 1,000 yard season. If suddenly find his groove against the team that took it away so that the Panthers actually have a QB, they may just rise up and take down the Cardinals.
They'll definately need a little help though. So here spawns the list of what the Panthers DO NOT WANT to happen in the game against the Cardinals, inspired by a popular meme running its course on Cat Scratch Reader, the DO NOT WANT dog.
The Panthers DO NOT WANT to play like they are the or the . Stop giving Jake the chance to throw downfield and get picked off. He's not playing the best right now! Jeff Davidson needs to realize that and get back to what the Panthers know how to do the best, running the football.
The Panthers DO NOT WANT to stop the blitz. Thomas David should return against the Cardinals, and once he does the Panthers get back the best blitzer on their team. The Panthers did great causing pressure with their D-Line against the depleted O-Line of the , but if they start out slow against the Cardinals why not open the playbook a bit and send Davis and Beason in there to kill da't Kurt Warner fella? It couldn't hurt, and Lord knows we can't give Warner forever in the pocket to do his dirty work.
The Panthers DO NOT WANT a dropped punt, kickoff, or otherwise a ball on the ground on special teams. Of the few people that should be fired on the Panthers team, the latter should be Danny Crossman. I can understand a mistake here and there, but when your team is on the field one time every possession and you're making constant mistakes, it should cost you your job. Needless to say, to beat a team on this caliber we don't need any mistakes. Kurt Warner needs to constantly be starting from his own 20, and we need to get some return yards on special teams.
The Panthers DO NOT WANT a bad performance from Jake Delhomme. John Fox took till Wednesday to decide whether or not he would start Jake, if it was a good motivating tool for him we'll see this upcoming performance. There's also that story about where the coaches were messing with his mechanics, which I don't believe. I think it was a clever tool for the coaches to take some heat off of their favorite guy. Anyway, even though Jake will be starting, expect for him to be on a very tight leash for this upcoming game. At the second or so interception if he isn't doing anything decent he will probably be pulled in honor of Matt Moore. The best way for Jake to protect his job is to work the short game, throw beyond the first down marker, and keep drives alive like we've been asking him to do for a while now. We don't need a , we need the Jake we all know and love.
If we can get away from all the things we DO NOT WANT to happen, then all that is left is what the Panthers want and need to happen. Beating the Cardinals is not a faroff dream, we just need to stop doing stupid things. So let's stop doing stupid things and make the other team look stupid for a change!
I'm sure that is something we can all agree on, at least if you're a Carolina fan.