Good morning Panther faithful. Time to be optimistic! The weekend is almost here! That is all... just kidding.
Consistently inconsistent is a moniker that suits the Carolina Panthers organization perfectly from top to bottom. I've also referred to this phenomenon as ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'. Essentially it's become impossible to predict what the Carolina Panthers will do from week to week; something works perfectly one week, then we abandon it the next, we dodge a bullet one week, then paint a target on our chest the next... and unfortunately it looks like it's going to keep happening until some people lose their jobs and there's an air of change in Carolina.
Was it all bad though? Let's break it down further after the jump...
I put in the hump day prognostication column that the key matchup in last night's game was going to be Miami's run vs. Carolina's run defense; and in the end, that made all the difference. The Panthers allowed Ricky Williams to eat them alive at key moment and by in large, the defense was pitiful. Between the attempted arm tackles on Ricky Williams, blown coverage in pass protection, a complete lack of pressure on Chad Henne and allowing 46% completion of 3rd downs we never stood a chance. That being said, it's not like the offense played much better, as we had no red zone efficiency... none. I see the defense's failings as failings of the players, and the offense's failings to be leveled on coaching.
According to the good people at Wikipedia an offensive coordinator's responsibilities are thus:
- Managing all offensive players and coaching assistants.
- Does Davidson do this? Yeah, I mean, I guess so.
- Designing specific offensive plays.
- Does Davidson do this? Who knows? One week we look dynamic and the next we're treading water. If he's designing plays I'd investigate him for plagiarism because I see nothing original.
- Developing a general offensive gameplan.
- Does Davidson do this? We only have success when our QB calls the plays. Each week we approach our opponent like we've never seen any tape on them before, the offensive players look lost. We are also completely unable to make halftime adjustments unless we have the lead, and then we take steps backwards.
- Calling the plays for the offense during the game.
- Does Davidson do this? For the most part, yes... and he does so horribly.
The thing that is so infuriating regarding Davidson is that there are things that are working. If the offense looked completely lost each and every game it would almost be easier to swallow and just say that our offense sucks. However:
How can someone justify giving up on the strongest part of the game on a whim?
How can he justify getting an 80 yard drive on the ground then pass three times in the end zone?
How can Jeff Davidson justify passing the ball 42 times and rushing 27 times when the passing game is netting you an average of 5.4 yards per attempt and the running game is netting 6.75 yard per attempt? Further compounded with the loss of an all pro LT which surely weakens the pass protection you can offer your QB.
I said in the hump day article that I have moved from lambasting to lauding the Panthers' coaching staff... well; consider this a lambasting kind of day. Jeff Davidson is one of the worst coordinators I have ever seen, because he's not just inept, he's also blind to what's working and what's failing.
DeAngelo Williams- Extremely Optimistic: When he was on the field DeAngelo played great. Pity he wasn't on the field enough to be a real factor in the outcome.
Steve Smith- Extremely Optimistic: Smitty continues his resurgence and he did what he always does- make Jake look good.
Dante Rosario- Somewhat Optimistic: He's proving to be a major threat in the passing game. I really think we need to try him at WR3 to see if he can hold his own. He's a big target and mostly sure handed.
Gary Barnidge- Somewhat Optimistic: Each week he's improving more and more. Barnidge came up big on the final drive giving us at least the slim opportunity to sniff victory.
Travelle Wharton- Extremely Pessimistic: Wharton looked lost in pass protection and got eaten alive by Joey Porter. I know the move from LG to LT was going to be tough, but a guy who's played the position before should have performed better. It's as simple as that.
Defensive Players in general- Somewhat pessimistic: I debated giving the entire defense a pass this week given that most of the season they've bailed out the offense. However, I just cant this week. They allowed the big plays and killed the game for us when nine people in the box couldn't tackle Ricky Williams in what proved to be the game ending touchdown.
The season is not over yet, it's just not. Yes, I'm aware how difficult our schedule is and I know how important this week's game was to our postseason chances but if the ball bounces our way and Green Bay beat the 49ers, and the Bears beat Philly we're going to be 2 games back from the wildcard. Improbable? Sure it is. Impossible? Absolutely not. It just hurts to think that Jeff Davidson's offense has essentially left at least 3 winnable games on the table due to his inefficiency (Dallas, Buffalo, and New Orleans)
55% Optimistic heading to NY to face the Jets.
Quick Note: I know this week's Optimist is pretty condensed, and doesn't have the depth I would like, but unfortunately I have a funeral to attend in a little over two hours. I wanted to make sure I got something up for the fans, so feel free to note what you think was optimistic and pessimistic from last night's game.