Dear John Fox.
I have a message for you.
The horrendous play of the Carolina Panthers over the past few weeks have prompted me to write this letter. It is a letter of rage, a letter of great concern for the emotional state of our city regarding our beloved team, the Carolina Panthers.
It is impossible to ignore the pathetic play over the past few Pre-Season games. We have gone 0-4 during the Pre-Season. We have done that two times in our history with you as Head Coach, and we have followed up to go 7-9 during the regular season. We have not gone 0-4 because of the talent we have on the team, not because of injury. We have gone 0-4 because we have been outplayed, outfought, and outfootballed. I have garnered a list of gripes on all three sides phases of the game. For your eyes, here they are.
There are a couple things annoying me with offense, majorly these silly passes to the flat that go for 1-2 yards. If you are going to throw to a receiver, be sure that it is quick enough for the wide receiver to be able to make the first guy miss so that he can run for the first down. And if the play doesn't work, it's a wasted down. Have you ever seen a wideout break free from a play like that for a touchdown? It doesn't happen.
And on missed blocks, where was that dominant O-Line play we've saw in 2008? We return all five starters from last year, and yet they're missing blocks left and right like they've all put on a pair of blindfolds. There is no excuse for it. I don't care if you're Peytan Manning, Drew Brees, or who you are, everyone is going to need a pocket if they're going to be a decent starting QB. We have the capacity to be the best offense in football, especially with a dominant RB in Deangelo William whom may arguably be the best back in the world today. But we're not going to do it if our offensive line literally watches people jog past them.
Where to begin? There is literally too much to list. So I'll talk about the important stuff.
First off, our CB play. I'm tired of seeing our corners play 10 yards off their guy. What is the point? That's what I want to know! What is the bloody point? They aren't going to make any plays, they're not close to their guys. Listen, I can understand the point that you want to prevent the big play. I understand that completely. But how do you expect our defense to get off the field when they're making these 10 yard catches that have become the staple of the NFL? You can prevent the big play all you want, but pretty soon you're backed up in your own endzone and the other team will be able to make the biggest play of all, a touchdown!
Teach our tacklers to use their arms and wrap up! This is the freaking NFL. Let me take you back into a play from yesterday. Steelers have the ball on their 3rd possession. First and goal, 10 yards to the goal line. It's a typical play. Run the ball off the left tackle to try to get a touchdown. He get's to the 5 yard line before he's initially stopped. No one wraps him up. No one. Sure they tap him with their shoulders and all, but no one wraps around him and tackles him. Now we did better once our reserves got out there onto the football field, but you aren't going to win many games if you give up yards like that because no one will tackle.
Our Special Teams did horrible. The instant the Steelers touched the ball for the first time in the game, they ran the ball back on special teams for a touchdown. Some of our players were not even in position to make a play on the ball. The returner simply ran by him. A gap opened so large that if you froze time, you'd be able to drive a car right up the middle of the field. I counted three players on that play at least who stood in their lanes too long and got taken out of the play.
On the offensive side of the ball, some of our returns went fairly well. However, they were overshadowed by the sheer amount of times our returners dropped the football.
Honestly. Do we really have to go over that? A week before the regular season starts and our returners are dropping punts? This is no small deal. Good field position can mean the difference between a win and a loss. What makes us laugh in the pre-season will make us angry in the regular season. The Panthers need to find a capable returner and find one very quick. I'm beginning to believe that it was a mistake to cut Mark Jones.
Ah Mark Jones. I miss the days he was with the Panthers. The days that Ryne Robinson went down to injury and he came in to replace him. He didn't have gamebreaking speed, but if you gave him a inch he would take a mile. Consistant 15-20 yard returns, and he would occassionally blast through and stick us at their 20 yard line or something like that. He would never call a punt, unless he was sure it would topple into the endzone for a touchback. He's available through free agency by the way. The Titans just cut him. Neither Goodson, nor Captain, nor Robinson showed that they were ready for the job last night. It would be of the utmost importance to sign a good guy off of free agency after final cuts or during the draft.
That's all I have to talk about. Call it a sermon. Call it a rant. Call it whatever you want. These Panthers of ours have the capability to trudge deep into the playoffs, just like the team of 2004 did as well. With coaches such as Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, and other legendary coaches waiting for a good opportunity to get back into the NFL, if the Panthers can't pull it off, John Fox, you should be looking for a new job come this December. We have way too much talent on this team to miss the Playoffs again.
So shall it be written....
So shall it be done.
PS: I want to hear everyone gripe! Don't hold back! Join the Dark Side!