Despite being 0-4 the Panthers exited the Superdome still feeling pretty good about themselves. Whether you agree with their optimism for the remainder of the season or not, these Panthers realize they have 12 more games to play and its too early to throw in the towel. So let's start with 'Ol Foxy:
Strickly Panthers: Defense doesn't rest
"The defense has given us a chance three out of four games, but unfortunately they don’t get to reap the benefits," head coach John Fox said. "But I thought our effort was outstanding, and hopefully we can bottle that moving forward."
Yes, bottle it and bust it out this Sunday...Gross echoes my sentiments about the play that killed our chances late in the game:
Just out of reach
"I thought we had them against the ropes. We just needed to get a few more yards and kick it through and go home, but it didn't happen," left tackle Jordan Gross said. "On the sack, they brought more than we had. We only had five guys, and they brought six. The free guy comes and gets him. "But the worse play was before that, when we ran it and lost yardage. That put us back.
Smitty puts some obvious positive spin on the offense:
Everette Brown wants to bottle it as well:
Carolina Panthers gives champs a scare - Panthers - NewsObserver.com
I mean, we scored more than seven points, so that's an improvement from the other games," said receiver Steve Smith, who left late in the third quarter after spraining his left ankle and did not return. "I think as a team we are making progress.
Panthers 'D' holds up their end of bargain - CharlotteObserver.com
We played, but we didn't reap the benefits of the way we played today," Panthers defensive end Everette Brown said. "It's one of those games, the effort, you want to put it in a jar and say this is what it's going to take week-in and wee-out, and you build off it. Nothing less. "That's the kind of defense we have to play from here on out.
Here's a classic Fox-ism, in trying to actually use an adjective to describe something he fails and instead uses a redundancy:
Panthers Still Playing Hard for Coach John Fox -- NFL FanHouse
I thought he competed hard...I thought he made some decent throws," Fox said. "His performance was better this week than it was a week ago. I thought he has progressively improved.
Kasay moving up the ranks:
Panthers-Saints Postgame Notes
The Specialists: Kicker John Kasay converted both of his extra-point chances. He has been successful on all three of his field-goal attempts and perfect on all five of his extra-point opportunities for a team-leading 14 points this season. Kasay ranks seventh in NFL history with 411 made field goals and eighth with 1,745 points scored. He is the Panthers' all-time leader with 1,404 points scored and 329 field goals.
I found this one curious since it suggests Fox didn't know Smith was injured:
Inside the Panthers: Fox says Steve Smith "day-to-day"
"There was a lot of stuff that was happening. Guys not lined up right. Not getting the call. You got a lot of young people out there. Somebody mentioned Steve Smith being out," Fox said. "To slip back into three-wideout sets is a little different than the mode we were in ideally was to be in a four-minute type of offense, get 3 yards in three downs and have an attempt to kick the winning field goal."
So now we have a target score to hit against the Bears:
Panthers scoring at historic pace - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Unless they can find a way to score 32 points with receiver Steve Smith likely out and Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers pretty much guaranteed to stay focused for an entire game at Bank of America Stadium for perhaps the first time ever, the Panthers are going to set a franchise record for fewest points scored in their first five games.
Finally, the Observer gives the coaching staff a gracious report score:
COACHING: C This is one of those GPA numbers. The game-plan was sound enough, as they had a chance to win late. But the late-game clock management was not good at all, and they're going to have to iron out the kinks there. The rookie QB is going to have to play in loud venues again, and until they look more competent, they're going to lose a lot of games.
Game plan sound enough? Only an opportunistic defense kept the Panthers in the game.