Good morning Panther faithful!
Let's get the obvious out of the way first: It sucks to lose, I don't like to watch losses and I wish we could be celebrating a win this morning. Unfortunately we're not a very good football team yet who are relying on their depth due to injuries, and said depth is mediocre at best. I love having pride in your team as much of the next person, but I think it's time we drop 'We should have won' from our vocabulary, because we shouldn't have... we lost, fair and square. We were outcoached, outplayed and outperformed.
The trade deadline is on Tuesday, but it's important to remember this isn't the NBA. There are no player trades that could be made that would turn this team into a contender, because in order to right this ship it's going to require a good 8-9 new players at key positions to revamp the team, and that can't happen in one trade period. It's hard to swallow in our instant oatmeal society, but this is just something that's going to require some time and TLC.
More after the jump
Cam Newton wont get a category today. Immediately following the game someone suggested Newton was an 'extremely pessimistic', but how can I grade him as such? I'm judging the football game, not the box score, and while staring at NFL.com will make it look like Cam played like garbage, the reality is far different. He played a fairly good game, and only one of his three interceptions (on the screen play) were really attributable as a bad decision. The other two were just excellent plays by the defense, and that will happen sometimes. On the other side of the coin he ran in a touchdown, remained poised on third down, and ran for some key first downs. To me when it's all said and done it's a wash.
I can understand the desire of the fanbase to get an elite WR with the first round pick, but I hope we can agree that if we did so in the 2012 draft we would be taking a luxury we can't afford. This team isn't a WR away from victories, they're an elite DT away. The linebackers are terrible right now too, but with the return of Jon Beason that should alleviate a lot of those issues. If you have a decent RB right now you'll beat the Panthers, that's all it takes.
Jonathan Stewart- Extremely Optimistic While J-Stew didn't get a ton of opportunities on Sunday he really made the most of the chances he got. He finished the game with 72 yards of total offense and a TD, and definitely helped move the chains.
The 1st string offensive line- Extremely Optimistic The OL did a fantastic job keeping a clean pocket for Cam Newton for much of the game.
Jeremy Shockey- Extremely Optimistic Beyond an excellent TE and reliable blanket for Cam he's a great leader. Shockey is really doing a lot on and off the field to promote team unity and having this team believe in themselves. I wish we could take half of his attitude and put it in the defense.
Steve Smith- Somewhat Optimistic Nothing outstanding from Smitty, but a good solid game.
Charles Johnson- Somewhat Optimistic If Big Money was able to do more in the 1st half I'd grade him higher, but for this week his 4 tackle, 1 sack performance gets a 'somewhat'.
Legedu Naanee- Somewhat Optimistic He had his moments, caught two good passes but also had a bad holding call. That being said, it was a decent day for Naanee.
Defensive Tackles- Extremely Pessimistic What else can we say here? McClain, Fua, Fields and Kearse combined for two tackles.... two.... let that sink in.
Linebackers- Extremely Pessimistic Like the DTs they didn't do much on Sunday. While their numbers may turn up in the box score, the reality is they were extremely mediocre.
Byron Bell- Somewhat Pessimistic I don't want to be too harsh on him, but two false start penalties coupled with allowing a bad sack made it a poor day.
Not much else to say really. It was a bad game, poorly executed where the players didn't play to their potential. Ultimately it was unfortunate all around, and I'll wager we wont see too much help on the way. I think we'll be waiting until 2012 to see any huge improvements.