This edition of Paw Prints is focused on those links that reveal some finer points from the Panthers first preseason game of the season against the Ravens. Let's start with one of up and coming stars, FB Tony Fiammetta. Tony F might have been a little motivated playing in from on his home turf for the first time:
Playing at M&T is a treat for Fiammetta - The Frederick News-Post Online
"It's cool to come back to Maryland and play 40 minutes away from home," Fiammetta said. "The last time I was here, I was watching a game. Watching a lacrosse game, I think it was. I never thought I'd be playing in this stadium."
He had some crunching blocks in the 1st quarter. You did them proud I'm sure Tony...Lost in translation was the fact Dan Conner was wearing the mic for the defense, creating a potential for mis-communication between he and Beason. But it went pretty good:
A loss to build on - CharlotteObserver.com
"You know what, we've practiced it so much now it feels like second nature," Beason said. "(Connor) did a good job making calls. I didn't have the mike, so I had to get the plays signaled since I was only playing one quarter. That was new, it's been so long since I had to learn all the signals."
I think the current line-up at LB is the way to go, Beason is a quick study and Anderson's size suits the SAM...more after the jump...
Now to the more sully news, from the Ravens media outlets here is their take on the game:
Baltimore Ravens News, Blogs and Fan Sites With Baltimore Ravens Message Boards, Fan Forums, Baltimore Ravens Blogs, Articles & Analysis on the Ravens - Columns - Articles - RAVENS REPORT CARD: Ravens 17, Panthers 12
Defensively, the pressure put on the inexperienced Carolina quarterbacks from the Ravens front seven was promising, especially after head coach John Harbaugh identified interior pressure as the team’s number-one priority coming into training camp. If anything, this defensive strategy was made more critical by the fact that the team’s top three cornerbacks were out for the game. There’s no doubt that it helped a patchwork secondary shine throughout the contest, easing fans’ greatest fears a bit – at least for this week.
Now from our camp:
Observation deck: Carolina-Baltimore - NFC South Blog - ESPN
4. The pass rush is very much a work in progress. When it mattered with the first and second teams, the Panthers had stretches when they didn’t generate any pressure on Joe Flacco and Marc Bulger. But they also had a few flash plays where they did. The good news is veteran Tyler Brayton had two sacks on Flacco. The bad news is Brayton suffered some sort of ankle injury on his second sack. We don’t know the extent of that injury yet. The most encouraging news is rookies Greg Hardy and Eric Norwood showed some real flashes. If I’m John Fox, I let Brayton sit for most (or all) of the rest of the preseason. The Panthers know what they can get out of Brayton. They need to find out more about what they can get from Hardy, Norwood, Charles Johnson and Everette Brown.
Here's to hoping Brayton get's to 100% soon. Can't wait to see if Hardy starts against the Jets....Concerned about the offensive line?
Not time to panic over Panthers' line - CharlotteObserver.com
"I think I was just maybe too excited and had some energy going and maybe didn't have the greatest technique. So as an offensive lineman, you've got to be able to play calm and cool. It wasn't anything major, it was just a rough string of events. It's really not a big deal in my opinion. I mean, if it was happening all the time, but I don't really get called for holding too often. That's not really part of my game I hang my hat on, so I think I'll be all right."
Let's hope Jordan's play doesn't remain gross (pun intended)....If you were wondering what Pro Bowl player was abusing Gross it was...Antwan Barnes?
Antwan Barnes gives Jordan Gross fits | National Football Post
Substituting for Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, Barnes whipped Gross at least three times. He drew two holding penalties against Gross to nullify a pair of completions that would have gone for first downs. "My whole goal was just to get to the quarterback," Barnes said. "Unfortunately, I got held in the process. I would love to get a sack in the process, but a hold is good, too. I didn’t plan for him to hold me, I just wanted to beat him. I’d rather get the sack than the hold."
That was ugly...So Faoxy was saying the expected things in response to the offensive line's play:
Camp notes: Fox, Thursday's issues correctable | thursday, camp, correctable - Sports - Gaston Gazette
"We didn't pass protect as well as we needed to," Fox said. "When we game plan, we look at four games. You know exactly what the opponent is going to do. You see all their blitzes; you see all their pressures; and you see their personnel. "One frustrating part about preseason is you don't get the opportunity to game plan, so a lot of it is new and you have to understand basic concepts and some of the finer points of things without actually repping them. Sometimes that's kind of expected. That was an area we need to get better."
Of course the Bleacher Report has it's usual 'the sky is falling' mantra:
Panthers-Ravens Recap: Analyzing Carolina's Performance | Bleacher Report
Defense - The Ravens first-team offense dominated the Panthers' top defense and marched down the field twice for a quick 10 points. The linebackers couldn't stop the screen plays and the secondary struggled mightily without Chris Gamble. Captain Munnerlyn gave up a long TD pass to Mark Clayton, but it was probably Charles Godfrey's fault for not getting over there sooner.
Slightly unrelated, here's a quick rescription of the NFC South's history of worst to first, that was broken up by Carolina in 2008:
NFC South's history of worst to first - NFC South Blog - ESPN
In every season since the division began play in 2002, the last place team has jumped to first place the following year with only one exception: 2008. Since divisional realignment, that has happened 12 times all around the league and precisely half of them have come from the NFC South. Also, each NFC South team has done it at least once.
Also, we've got a new fan poll in the right side bar. John Fox Confidence Poll