Panthers lose 9-3 to Jets in 2nd Pre-Season game.

The Panthers welcomed the Jets to Charlotte for the 2nd game of the pre-season, and were hopeful they would have a better performance than they did against the Ravens last week. Unfortunately, we don't always get what we wish for, as the Panthers looked sloppy on offense and special teams for most of the night, and if not for the great play of the defense would have lost this game by a lot more than 6 points.

Let's take a quick look at the game to hold us over until the in-depth analysis can be posted.

More after the jump...

The defense played lights out tonight. Both starters and backups made impressive plays, getting pressure to the quarterback and showing a solid run defense that only allowed the Jets to accumulate 96 yards on 34 attempts (2.8 yards per carry). Another positive from the defense was they did not allow the Jets to score a touchdown, holding them to 3 points even when on a short field after a recovered fumble on a punt return in the first half.

(More on this in a second.)

A couple of guys who stood out to me on defense:

Everette Brown
Eric Moore
Jordan Pugh
Dan Connor
Greg Hardy
Nick Hayden

There were other guys who played well on defense, but these guys, with the exception of Brown and Connor, are playing for a spot on the 53 man roster, and if they play like this in next week's game against the Titans, just may have found a way onto the roster. Eric Moore was impressive in his time on the field, getting consistent pressure on the quarterback with 2 sacks.

I'm not as concerned about our defense as I was before tonight's game. They played well, especially on the line. Even the backups played well, so depth may not be as big of an issue as we thought it would be.

What is a big issue, however, is special teams. To put it nicely, special teams sucked tonight. If not for the bionic leg of Jason Baker (50.9 yard average on 9 punts - no, that's not a typo), there would be nothing positive to say about the special teams unit. The only bright spot from special teams was Captain Munnerlyn had a few nice returns, but they were overshadowed by three muffed punts, Goodson running backwards and sideways on the 3 yard line on a kickoff return, and allowing a 67 yard punt return (even though there was a no-call on a block in the back). The special teams unit was anything but special, and it's something that has to be addressed in the next two weeks or we're in for a long season.

The offense struggled to do anything tonight as well, as the blitz protection was absolutely atrocious. (I think I could have sacked Moore or Clausen if I had come in on a blitz.)

Moore played poorly, partly due to the lack of protection from the line, and partly due to his tendency to play bad in the pre-season. He threw one interception on an overthrown pass down field, but just couldn't put anything together and lead the team down the field on a significant drive.

The best drive of the game came in the 4th quarter with Clausen in at quarterback. He didn't play lights out, but he played a lot better than Moore did. He had the same issue with little to no protection from the offensive line, and he also had to deal with a center who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with the snap. Clausen telegraphed one throw that was picked off (conveniently ending the longest drive and best scoring opportunity of the game), but made some smart plays to avoid sacks and throw the ball away. He had a nice scramble for a 14 yard gain and 1st down in the 4th quarter, and overall he looked okay. I really want to see what he can do with the 1st string, and hopefully we will be able to see that next week against Tennessee.

In non-quarterback offensive news: D-Will looked good as always, and Goodson had a few nice runs late in the game. The receivers were ordinary, except for Kenneth Moore who had a bad outing, catching only 1 of 7 balls thrown his way. Dwayne Jarrett had a good night, catching 3 of 4 passes. Armanti Edwards made a nice catch late in the game and held on to the ball after taking a hard hit, so he showed some promise at the WR position (just don't let him return punts).

During the game thread, I made the following comment:

 

You know it's a lousy night when the punter is the [freaking] mvp of the game.

The sad thing: it's the truth. Jason Baker is the player of the game thanks to his booming punts, because his performance along with the effort by the defense are the only things that kept us from getting blown out by the Jets. Hopefully things will be better next week against the Titans, or we may be in for a long season.

What stood out to you the most tonight? Who was the best? The worst? Let's get the discussion going.

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